Just like a rainy April sets the stage for flowers to bloom in May, you can use times of adversity to make your business stronger for the future. Most people don’t like the rainy season, or if they do they’ve already moved to the Pacific Northwest, but these tough times can test your business in a good way that leads to necessary improvements.
Here are some ways you can make the best of the less pleasant times to build a better business.
Raindrops keep falling on my head
Every business has that challenging customer, partner or supplier where every transaction is a complex transaction. What seems simple ends up involving multiple emails back and forth taking time and attention away from all the other things you want to do.
How do you turn this annoyance into a positive?
- Identify where the gaps are in your ordering process that open up room for confusion.
- What can you do to make the process simpler and answer common questions up front?
This won’t only help make the tougher customer easier to handle, but will also make it easier for first time buyers to try out your business.
You’re going to get wet, and pretty soon you won’t be able to get any wetter. So, let’s get going.
This is what my old crew coach told the team as we eased our boat into the water at 6am during what must have been a rare New Hampshire spring monsoon. As miserable as we all were, we quickly got the point – we were there to practice and we were going to do it, no matter the conditions. The complaints of us soggy rowers that morning are just like those of a small business owner that’s in a mess – nobody’s listening.
Things fall apart, schedules get mixed up, shipments arrive late. You’re going to have some tough times, but complaining about them won’t make your customers any happier. You have a business to run after all and when things happen you have to deal with them. Once you’ve been through a couple challenges, the next ones won’t seem so scary.
I don’t think the bad stuff is going to start coming down for awhile
When I’m not promoting the benefits of specialized insurance for Hiscox, or playing sports with my little boys Walker and Otis, I help out my wife with marketing and operations for her company Junior’s Fresh, a healthy, local meal service for babies and toddlers in New York City. Junior’s Fresh caters a lot of kids birthday parties. It’s great to see all the happy kids blissfully munching our food every weekend.
But, if any of you parents have dealt with not one or two, but twenty or more hungry and cranky kids you know that’s just the worst. For some of the parties we run with our playspace partner, we kept getting urgent requests on the day of the party for food to be delivered up to 30 minutes earlier than the planned time. This would lead to a mad last minute scramble in the kitchen, stressed parents and party planners and a bunch of kids quickly running out of steam – no fun for anyone.
After a couple fire drills, we took a step back to understand why this kept happening. We found that although we had a clear schedule in our minds for when each dish would be delivered, this didn’t always match up with the parents expectations from the party planner. Now we make sure the party planners always clearly communicate the exact time the kids will eat to everyone involved, and then we deliver it 15 minutes before that. Less stress, less tantrums and fewer tears for everyone involved.
They say into each life some rain must fall – but if you keep getting wet for no reason you’re not learning from adversity. Learn from those rainy days and you can make your business run better, and have less rainy days in the future.
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