Riding the Roller Coaster


This is not a post about Disneyland but the roller coaster caused by the way business comes in waves. Every industry has their busy time of year which can be somewhat predictable. For construction I know that generally things start to build up in spring and build through the summer generally peaking in August and September. No one wants to talk to me between Thanksgiving and New Year and in January after having the in-laws over people decide they need more room in their home. With our hair salons it was much more sporadic with people rushing in around going back to school, holidays, and weddings. It was filled with times of fully booked days in August and September to having lots of time to clean in January. The steeper peaks and valleys come with the economy and changes in the market places where instead of managing months it is years. These are the ones that are harder to plan for and difficult to predict.

How do we ride this roller coaster without falling out? Professionally it is a delicate balance managing staffing, cash flow, providing good service, and just plain surviving. What I have found is take advantage of the slow times to be better prepared for the good times. It is the time to get systems in place and work on efficiency. When things get busy those systems will pay dividends. Do your best to keep your team working and their benefits in place while slow and reward them when times are good. Customer service is a hard one when things get busy. You have to work twice as hard as when you were slow but it is just as important because if you don’t provide good service you may not have any customers at all during the next slow down. This also comes back to the team you have around you. As you hire and bring on team members make sure they will represent your company well. You are better off to say no to work then to put someone out there that will not produce to your standards.

Personally this can be quite a ride as well. If you know that you are going to be insanely busy next month take some time now for yourself. Hang out with your kids and get some relaxation in. Sock that money away when you are on the way up so that financial stress is not effecting home life on the way down. It can be difficult to turn it off when you do have down time but find ways to do so. Let your kids distract you and get your brain in a different place. If you can, let that energy build so that when you need to climb towards the next peak you are ready. The roller coaster can be scary, thrilling, nauseating, and fun. Enjoy the ride!

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