Setting Yourself Up for Success: Understanding the Business Cycle of Your New Business

It’s February. One of the toughest months of the year for a new business owner. You thought January was bad, but one week into February nobody seems to be buying any of your goods or services.

The temptation to “throw money at it” by buying advertising or more stock, is overwhelming, particularly if you made a little money during the frenzy of December when people are on buying sprees. Put away your credit card, Matilda.  Let’s think this through!

There’s also the temptation to launch a huge media campaign that includes the desperate cry, “Please buy my …” or “Please hire me to ….”

Before you panic, consider whether this is a business cycle issue.

When you developed your business plan one of the areas you took the time to define was your target market. (If you didn’t, this is a good time to do that.) Who are the individuals or businesses who need your product or service?  What’s going on with them in February?  Are they interested in buying your product or service now? Look at the periodicals where your type of product or service is advertised.  What are the preponderance of ads touting? (Is it Valentine’s Day if you’re targeting consumers and Tax related services if you’re targeting businesses?)

You also completed a competitive analysis when you developed your business plan and set up methods of keeping up with what more seasoned business owners selling your product or offering your service were doing, either by checking their websites or signing up to be on their mailing lists. (If not, please do it now.) This lets you see what they’re doing publicly. Apply that to your business. How long would it take you to prepare to be doing the same activities?

There probably isn’t time to cash in on Valentine’s Day or the business tax deadlines (there may be!) but think through what the next cycle will be, and the next, and the next. Walk through a year and plan your campaigns and determine what you need to do to prepare for them and when.

If it’s not a business cycle issue or if you absolutely need to make some sales to get through the month think through a way to package your product or service in a way that compels your target market to act right now.

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Above all, don’t panic.  Think it through.  You can do this.

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