Fall has always been the busiest time of year for me and Greenline Creative. I attribute this bump in activity due to the fact that summer vacations are over and businesses begin to focus on the goal of finishing out the year strong. It can also be attributed to clients and businesses wanting to get as many tax deductions completed as they can before the end of the year. It’s a busy time, but a great time for cash-flow. However, what do we do about the other remaining months in the year?
During the early days of freelancing, Julie and I used to get really scared when things slowed down for us. Cash flow would literally just become a drip, but the bills would keep coming. If you’ve experienced this, you know what I mean. It’s a very stressful time for any business. However, over the years I’ve learned to deal with this slow time and have chalked it up to a few small things that you can control. One of the struggles that we faced that I think contributed to this slow time was the inability to get sign-off on projects. This was often because during our slow time we were focused too much on winning large projects, and getting the sign-off needed on those projects was a challenge because the stakeholders were in and out on vacation. The other issue we always dealt with was a dry pipeline because we were so focused on completing projects during the fall and early spring that we weren't entirely focused on new biz development. The slow time was ultimately a cycle we dealt with for many years until I made a few small changes in the way I viewed the slow times.
For some reason I felt like new clients were the only way I was going to fix the slow time. Once I realized that the problem I was trying to solve wasn't the lack of new clients, but more so the lack of cash-flow, I immediately put a plan into action that focused on generating and maximizing cash-flow. This didn’t completely eliminate the slow times, but what it did was help me accept, plan and push through them with confidence that our business isn’t drying up.
Having a slow time with your business doesn't mean you’re failing. It’s not personal. Most businesses have slow times. Don’t panic. Panic will cause you to make drastic decisions that could have long lasting effects on your business. Always remember that the problem you are trying to solve isn’t finding new clients, but increasing and managing cash-flow. A cash-flow problem can generally be solved pretty quickly by reaching out to your current client list or generating some passive income strategies. This isn’t a fix all solution and these passive income strategies won’t solve the slow times entirely, but they will minimize the impact which will provide you with ability to evaluate your business and recharge. Sometimes this has an even bigger benefit to your bottom line than you and your team staying heads down working on tons of new projects.
Before next week, I’d like you to do one thing. Create a Mailchimp account (or alternative) and start building yourself a “General Newsletter” list for your business. Use this list to capture emails from existing and new clients through your website. This list is a great way to keep your clients in the know of when you have new announcements and most importantly if you’re taking on any new projects. Anytime I send an email out to my Greenline Creative email list, I pick up three to four new projects and a few handful of requests for coffee and Skype calls within the day. It’s a useful tool to have in your back pocket when things get slow.
I hope you found this lesson valuable. What have you done to battle the slow times in your business?