Embracing the Seasons of your Business to find your Flow
Earlier this year I was speaking to a business owner who was feeling anxious that she had not made any sales in the first part of the year. I reassured her that just because she might have a month where she does less business doesn’t mean that something is inherently broken in her business. It can just be the seasons of her business.
When I pointed that out her response was “Ah, you are so right, this is always a quiet month for me and I always feel this way at this time of year!”. This helped give her a new perspective. Instead of feeling she was “failing” she could move forward with renewed positivity.
If you’re in the same boat and have noticed your business is slower at some points throughout the year, this blog is for you. Instead of feeling disempowered by the natural peaks and troughs of many businesses, you can use the seasons of your business to your advantage.
I’ve identified three types of “season” that might affect how you choose to design your business.
The main takeaway I want you to have from reading this blog is to know that it’s possible to design your business to work with these natural rhythms instead of against them.
The 3 Seasons Of Business
1. The seasonal nature of your market
If your business is centred around weddings or wedding planning, you’re going to be a lot busier in the summer when everyone is getting married. In my case, I serve small business owners, so August and December are typically quieter months in my business and I don’t expect to be doing the same level of business as I do in the other months. So I use that to my advantage by taking my longest holidays during those months.
2. The season of your own business
These are the “seasons” that you design into your own business. This might be that with an awareness of where you have busier and quieter months, you design your activity around that. For example, if you notice a pattern that January is typically quiet for you, instead of berating yourself that you are not doing more business, why not consciously design your business around that? Ways you can do that is to:
– Do extra activity during your “peak” months to make sure you have the revenue to see you through your quiet months.
– Use your quieter months to actively grow your reach and your audience, so that when the busier months hit you have more people in your orbits and more people likely to reach out and work with you.
– Consciously plan out your activity so you are using your quieter months for key projects that can be hard to fit in at other times. This could be the perfect time for that website rebrand, to set up your freebie and autoresponders, or finally design that online course!
In my own case, my business seasons operate around a “launch” model. This means that for 8 whole months in any year I don’t even expect to be making any significant revenue — it’s not even in my plan! Instead, the bulk of my revenue comes in during May, September and November when I open up the Get More Clients Saying Yes! course and my Business from the Heart Membership for enrolment.
3. Your own personal seasons
This is the season I’m most passionate about. This is about you personally, and how you feel in response to the actual seasons of the year during spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Your energy levels, mood and motivation. The beautiful thing about having your own business is you can design your business around the actual seasons — and around the school year too.
Winter: Time To Take It Easy, Or Go For Gold?
While each person is different, the majority of the people I know find they become a lot more sluggish in the winter and don’t feel like doing as much. They find they go into a sort of hibernation and planning mode. These people prefer to design their business to be in “lite” mode in the winter so that they don’t have to push so hard, and plan for their more energised activity in the summer.
I’m actually the opposite!! For me, when spring and summer come I find it really hard to stay indoors and work. I get really restless and just want to be outside and in the energy of the sun and the long days. So I’ve designed my business to have an easier, lighter, more open schedule from June to September. Then in winter because the days are long and dark and there is less going on to tempt me outdoors I’m really happy to use that time to work. This is when I get my head down and crack on and I do my most intense periods of work through the winter months.
(A game-changer for me with this was when I bought myself a SAD Desk Lamp by Lumie about 9 years ago — it means I no longer experience sluggish energy and low mood in winter so I can work at the same pace all year round).
Then in the summer months from June to August, I’m still working but I go at a much slower pace — it’s a lot less “go-go-go” and I take another long break in July or August. I follow a slower rhythm and I like to take my laptop to the park or sit outside cafes and work, and just be outdoors as much as I can.
This is such an important thing to talk about because everybody can design their business to work for them, rather than not understand there are natural rhythms of your market, of your business, of the seasons, and for you personally. Instead of over-reacting to the “slower” months by feeling you are failing or not progressing at all — maybe it’s just not your “season”
Establishing a flow
This is where the importance of designing the right business model for you comes in. You don’t have to just “react” to what comes along. You can consciously choose your business model, and design your business to reflect and support these natural ebbs and flows.
My business model is a “launch model” — but yours could be a 121 model. Neither is “better” or more “right” than the other, it all depends what works and feels good for you.
My business year starts in September. I have an online program called ‘Get More Clients Saying Yes‘ — it’s my authentic sales course and I launch that in September — which can still be a bit frustrating in truth because September still has really nice weather so I can get a bit restless at spending a lot of time indoors!
After launching the course in September, I deliver it during October and November and then I do another big launch of my Business from the Heart membership near the end of November. So right up until Christmas I’m enrolling and settling in new members.
I then like to take a nice long break at Christmas to recoup my energy after a very full-on autumn and to set myself up for the year to come. And if I’m running a more high-ticket Mastermind or Mentoring group I come back to that in January getting it set up, doing the 121 strategy sessions and kicking off that programme for the year.
From there on, it’s audience building, and “behind the scenes” type projects — and I don’t expect to be bringing in any significant revenue until May. But I don’t panic at the 4-5 “fallow” months. Instead, they are built into the design of my business and actually I love the sense of relief at not needing to keep my foot on the “sales pedal” all year round.
Summer: Lean in or out?
What about you? Do you have months where it’s always quiet and it would be less stressful for you to simply design your business around it? Do your clients go away in the summer? Do you like to take off and have a break when the weather is great, or do you perhaps run a business where it’s peak season over the summer months and you take your downtime over the winter?
Have you designed your business model to support these natural ebbs and flows in your business and your personal energy?
The Bottom Line
Ultimately you can design a business that you truly love, that is in flow for you.
We each have unique circumstances we are working with — children at school, elderly parents, health conditions, so of course there is no ‘one size fits all’ equation for when we MUST “crack on”. If you’re at the beginning stages of your business, chances are you’re still learning about the natural rhythms of your business and it could take a couple of years for you to pick up on industry seasons, your productivity seasons, and finding your flow in the way you want. And that’s OK too. If you understand that, it helps you embrace the journey rather than fighting against it.
If creating a business you LOVE is something you’re interested in, you can help yourself to my Create a Business You Love free PDF guide. It will help you understand the key elements you need to be thinking about to create a business you truly love to run — including marketing that feels in flow, business models, and how to attract clients with a lot less effort than you might be putting in right now.
Click here for the Create a Business you can Fall in Love – and Stay in Love with Guide.