How to Get Out of a Slump

We’ve all experienced a business slump – it could be a seasonal thing, or a real business producer left your employ, or the market changed. Whatever the reason, you’re in a slump. Sales are down, people are scared, jobs are at risk, and cashflow is choking you. When that happens, people often allow their emotions to cloud their perspective. They make mental pictures of outcomes they fear. Molehills become mountains in their minds. They start to overreact, blame, complain, and point fingers. They forget that things don’t stay the same and that difficulties are what make business so much fun. Imagine playing a game of squash with a weak opponent – how satisfying is that win?

When people experience business slumps they often do some stupid things, like offending the wrong people, biting the hand that feeds them, pressurizing customers for sales, hiding from creditors, and getting negative. Desperate people do desperate things and there are always consequences. Instead of panicking and overreacting in a state of fear and aggression, there is a better way to turn things around. Imagine a fellow on a yacht. The wind changes. Does he start crying to his mommy and hide in the hold? Does he start complaining that the wind is unreliable? Does he blame the fellow who sold him the yacht or fight with his crew? No! He calmly adjusts his sails and enjoys the journey.

Smart entrepreneurs and salespeople understand that vicissitudes are a normal part of business. They realize that cool heads will prevail, and that there is a solution to every problem. They ask for guidance from levelheaded associates and mentors. They objectively evaluate their situation and options, without losing sight of their objectives and goals. They realize that they are merely facing a detour, not a disaster. The traffic light is yellow or red – the road hasn’t been closed for all eternity. It’s a temporary setback and this is an opportunity to learn and grow. When one door closes, ten more open up. It’s hard to be creative and objective when you allow fear to grip your throat.

I have experienced many business slumps. The reason why I overcame them is that I use a simple formula that I learned a long time ago. Here it is:

1. First, attitude: Don’t get emotional. It’s only business. It’s a game. Don’t be attached and get your ego out of your way. It’s not personal. It’s normal. It’s nobody’s fault. I am personally responsible for sorting it out. Blaming others or getting angry and resentful won’t help me. I am calm, detached, relaxed, supremely confident, and committed to my objectives. I am flexible and determined. I never quit. This is simply a bump on the road to success.

2. Second, insight: Whom can I spend time with to get perspective and advice on this issue? Who is strong, smart, successful, and experienced? Whom can I approach in this regard? What about my Mastermind group?

3. What actions and processes do I need to change, stop, innovate, initiate, and find? When reacting to a perceived threat, we choose between fight and flight. Losers run away, smoke, drink, and hide. Winners get motivated and take productive action. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The weak retreat and go looking for another “Opportunity”. What do I have to DO? What ACTION can I take? Do what is uncomfortable and you will solve the problems much faster. When you're busy, you don't have time to worry. But make sure you're busy doing things that move your business forward.

4. Innovation: This is the opportunity to become creative – to transmute fear into creativity. That is why Joint Ventures are the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of business, the correct combination to the safe. With Joint Ventures, most business problems can be overcome quickly with no cost or risk. Together, we can utilize and liberate existing resources fast to turn that ship around.

5. Finally, this is where relationships are so important in business. If you took the time to build solid relationships and value in the good times, you can call on those same people in hard times. Joint Ventures are built on firm relationship foundations.

I have always found that difficult circumstances reveal the real person. The mask drops off - the facades evaporate and you find out whom you're really dealing with. I welcome difficulties. They make me strong and reveal important facts to me. They push me to the next level of success. They force new innovation and creativity.

Don’t quit, my friend. Hang in there and don’t jump ship. The next ship is going to bring you the same problem. When you overcome the problem that now faces you, it will never be a threat to you again.

Together, we do amazing things.

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