How to escape the feast-or-famine business mentality

If you routinely experience down turns in your business and you’d like to end the pernicious cycle, consider the following:

  • Breaking out of the cycle simply requires a shift in mindset. You can chose to believe that this is the nature of the work you do, or you can take responsibility for it and believe that you can work to mitigate the likelihood. Optimism, not pessimism. This is the blessing and the curse, it’s entirely in your control to change how you think, but it also means you have to be patient to allow your mind to rewire itself.
  • Make a substantial profit on the work you do. If it takes 100% capacity–people working 40+ hour weeks doing client work–to barely break even, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If however, you can break even at 10% capacity there will never be a famine.
  • Stop taking on any work that comes through the door. Take on the right work, profitable work.
  • Keep reserves around to weather the storm. If you could wind up without work for two months, have the means to keep the ship afloat. It’s during a famine that managers make the decisions that ensure the next famine.
  • Stop managing in arrears and start influencing your future. How much money you made last month is a trivial calculation. If it wasn’t enough, it’s too late to do anything about it. However, you can look at upcoming work in the next quarter and realize there’s not enough and do something about that.