Many of my clients are eco-entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and other business owners who have consciously made the decision to lead from their heart. Although they are a diverse group, I have observed two characteristics that are common to those who are the most successful when it comes to taking their company to the next level and growing profitability:
- They have a keen sense of the rhythms of their business.
- Just as one has to “lean in” to the wind when walking straight into it in order to avoid falling, they “lean in” to their business cycles instead of trying to fight, fix or overcome them.
The nature of business
Your business seasons may or may not correspond to the seasons printed on the official Gregorian calendar hanging on your wall, but you can still use the concept of spring, summer, fall, and winter to discover the unique rhythms of your organization.
And, of course, there are also seasons within seasons. For example: In nature, there is hurricane season. In business, accountants have tax season. These seasons within seasons can be overt or nuanced; however, the key for capitalizing on them is knowing what they are and when they occur.
Here is a snapshot of how one of my clients experiences the seasons of his business:
- His busiest period spans from late August right up until Thanksgiving. This is his most profitable time of year. It’s his spring season – even though it doesn’t correspond with spring on the calendar. And he also has a "season within this season," and that's his tradeshow season. Two of his largest, most profitable industry events take place in October. In fact, sales from these two shows alone account for the majority of his annual revenue.
- However, this “all out” time, his spring season, starts to level off from early December until around mid-March. Business is still good, but now he has time to breathe. This is his company’s summer season.
- Beginning in mid-March up until late June, his autumn kicks in and he usually begins to experience a drop in business.
- Then from late June through August, his customers seem to hibernate. This is his winter season – even though life’s a beach, according to the calendar.
And the cycle continues... .
Making the most of seasonal cycles
Using nature as a metaphor, I offer (below) an approach for identifying your company’s unique, repetitive patterns as they relate to spring, summer, fall, and winter -- along with action items for each season.
Also, because combining brands with scent is my area of expertise, I suggest some essential oils appropriate for each season. The scents are for you, to help you focus on and capture the spirit of each business cycle. View the scent as you do background music. Although it's subtle, you know it's there. The essential oils can be discreetly diffused into the surrounding air.
This is when your business is going strong. Most of your revenue is earned during this period. It’s a little chaotic and crazy, but in a positive way.
Suggested action: Your focus should be on making the most of this season of growth, so let go of any distractions – whether it’s a wayward client or an employee who’s not pulling his or her weight. Weed your garden to make room for good things.
Suggested scent: Essential oil of bergamot (uplifting; the scent of bergamot is a natural tonic for your nerves. And who couldn’t use that when you’re hyper-busy?)
Business is still good. You’re busy, but the frenzy of spring has passed, affording you moments to stop and smell the flowers.
Suggested action: This is an opportune time to introduce new products and services -- to help mitigate that "dry spell" that will come during winter.
Suggested scent: Essential oil of grapefruit (energizing)
As your business moves into its autumn season, you can definitely feel things slowing down.
Suggested action: Audit your brand, and refine your marketing materials, accordingly. Lay the groundwork for next spring.
Autumn scent: Essential oil of orange (uplifting, stress relieving)
Where’s the business? You have to remind yourself this dry spell is nothing new; it’s simply your winter.
Suggested action: Early in this season, finalize your marketing strategy. Begin implementing your plan mid-to-late winter.
Use your winter season to promote and network. This season affords you the time to talk about your business.
Winter scent: Balsam fir (uplifting to your spirit; like taking a walk in the woods)
At the end of the day
There is much wisdom to gain from the rhythms of the natural world. Spend some time identifying the repetitive cycles of your business. Develop your own calendar and action items for each of your organization's cycles – and then commit to “leaning in” to your seasons.
Here's wishing you a peaceful, productive and profitable -- spring, summer, fall, and winter.