Here in New Jersey, East Coast, USA, we’re in the middle of another sweltering summer heatwave. The heat is shimmering off of the sidewalks. The ocean breeze is thick and heavy in the air… and not particularly breezy. I’m envious of our friends on the other side of the world who are savoring winter, wearing cozy sweaters, and sipping on hot tea. Thanks to the seasons, I know that in six months when we hit the dregs of winter, I’ll be wishing for the warm and likely blogging about how I miss the sand between my toes and the glare of the sun.
Seasons are actually pretty interesting. The fact that some parts of the world go through such drastic changes in climate and ecosystems continue to function in keeping with those changes fascinates me. The planet has unique and creative ways of keeping up with the changes each area experiences, and the wildlife and plant life are tuned in to adapt to it (or migrate, if you’re a bird… or add/subtract layers of clothing if you’re a human). When I reflect on the seasons, I always hone in on how they demonstrate shifts: in focus, in expectation, in experience.
Seasons bring with them some level of predictability. We somewhat know what to expect with each change. We’ve been here before. We’ve done that. What I challenge you to consider is that there is also seasonality in business and our work life cycle.
1. Different Seasons Show Up at Different Times of Year
We’re talking more than just Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, although these definitely have an impact. Some industries get a boost in business as summer hits. Others see things grind to a halt as target markets start spending more time vacationing than purchasing. But these don’t have to map to the actual ecological climates. How well do you know your business? Your industry? What major events, calendar dates, or milestones do your prospects and clients circle around each year? Make sure you know when the seasonality and trends in your business typically occur. Then plan for them. Seasonality has a bit of predictability built into it. If you know that interest in your products can swell a month before a major convention that ALWAYS happens in the early spring, and that interest drops off when people are saturated with conference propaganda a month later, accommodate this. Work your pipeline, your programs, your offers to adapt accordingly.
2. Different Times of Year Bring Different Levels of Volume
Changes bring different dynamics, and seasonality in business means that volume is going to ebb and flow based on factors specific to your industry. Learn those changes and plan for them. Especially if you have quotas to meet or goals to achieve, you can bake into your workflow methods to avoid missing numbers because you went into the slow season without enough steam. What can you do to boost your metrics during times when there are plenty of responsive prospects? How can you better engage with clients when they’re more likely to be at their desks or interested in what you have to say? Scrambling to increase your output to meet a goal in the middle of a quiet time will only cause you to burn out faster with disappointing results and a lot of stress.
3. Different Volume Brings the Need for Different Processes
Ok, so you know your busy season. And you know that it’s hard enough to juggle the busy parts, let alone thinking about loading up on even more leads/interactions/sales/projects when it is busy to cover yourself when things quiet down. How on earth do you accommodate this? You already know when this will happen. And with systems like Salesforce and a myriad of other data processing apps, you can probably put some numbers (i.e. how many leads, how many hours, how many tasks) actually quantify busy. Then, start to look at where you can optimize your processes. Increased volume doesn’t have to mean a similar increase in time spent. There have to be ways that you can make yourself more efficient and more productive (including LinkPoint Connect: task management, calendar management, email recording for better reporting, anyone?). Find where you are losing time. Then find solutions that will help cut that time down, so you can add on more tasks that fit that category. The result? You’ll have more success during times of the feast to cover for you when you go into a predictable famine.