MAN…we used to get SO STRESSED OUT!
In the early years in business, it was a constant cycle.
We’d get to the end of a record breaking peak season.
There’d be high fives all round. We’d knocked it out of the park AGAIN…but everyone was cooked.
We all needed a break and to get our needles back above empty.
So we’d make sure everyone got that chance and we’d all recharge a little, ready to go again…
Things are slowing down.
Forward bookings are looking a bit ‘light on.’
April’s looking a little ‘quiet’…….
We’ve taken on more staff through the summer and bought another touring vehicle… but…are they going to pay for themselves through the winter? Right now we’re down 7% on last year’s forward bookings for June, July, August.
Ok, so now July’s looking pretty good but…we’ve still got some serious work to get August’s numbers up’ …..and on…and on…and on.
There would be restless nights, anxiety, doubts, the responsibility on our shoulders would feel overwhelming. It was always the same.
And then….everything would work out fine.
We would cruise through those slower months of the year with plenty of bookings to keep things humming along – and we would start planning for the next peak season a few months away, which seemed to be getting longer year after year.
It would all work out. It always did and Suze and I would finally exhale.
But…. then we would get really annoyed with ourselves that we had wasted so much time and energy worrying about the ‘what if’s, being stressed out and anxious about something that would turn out fine.
I mentioned this one day over a beer to a mate of mine – a guy who’s tasted a lot of business success over the last decade.
‘Mate. I’ll tell you what my old man told me 10 years ago when I was starting out and I pretty much live by it. He said, “No matter what’s going on, always enjoy the down times”’.
I decided then and there that I would.
There were many times over those next few years when things got tough that we remembered these words, took a breath and repeated.
Words so simple and so obvious, but surprisingly hard to put into practise when you’re running a business. For us, those words changed everything. They made us take a step back and think “What the hell are we doing? Why are we doing this? Why exactly did we choose this path?
For freedom? For time to spend doing the things that we love? Why aren’t we enjoying it and doing those things when we have the time?
It sowed the seeds of the idea that building a life that we dreamed of, not just a business that we dreamed of, was our goal.
It’s hard in a young, growing business to try not to spend the quiet periods (every small business has them) worried about not being busy – but you’ll end up doing your own head in if you can’t learn how to take the chance .
For us it definitely got a lot easier to do this as we matured and we started to get a few years of numbers behind us that we could refer back to. To see patterns and trends which gave us the confidence to back ourselves and know that we were on track.
So there you have it – embrace the chance to take that foot off the gas a little when things slow down in a seasonal business – I’m sure you’ll deserve the break.