Navigating the Ups and Downs of Small-Business Ownership

Highs and lows are a natural part of being a business owner. Here are some tips to get through the inevitable low points.

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Very few small-business owners enjoy the comforts of total consistency. Usually, business comes in cycles. You’ll have periods where you’re extremely busy and it’s a strain just to keep up with your workload. Then, you’ll have seasons where business tapers off a bit — in some cases, more than you’re comfortable with.

It may seem as though things are never “just right.” That said, there are things you can do to maneuver through these ups and downs, and to make the most of things no matter what part of the cycle you’re in.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

You may have a season of plenty or a season of want, but it’s important to not allow these cycles to take your eye off the prize. It’s always important to have a long-term plan with specific objectives and milestones along the way. This plan can be a sort of road map through business cycles and keep you on track, even during seasons of extremity.

Don’t Just React

The problem many business owners have with natural ebb and flow is that they take a reactive — rather than proactive — approach. Often there are warning signs that change is coming. When you start to see warning signs, that’s when it’s good to take decisive action.

And what does decisive action look like? For one thing, search for new ways to grow your business. Before a point of crisis comes, explore ways to get new clients in the pipeline. Dedicate some time to also follow up with previous customers to try to get some repeat business. Steady business development activity can help defray the effect of those highs and lows.

Be Active in Your Field

Along the same lines, make sure you maintain connections within your industry or niche. Go to networking events. Reach out to other professionals in your field. Make yourself a visible part of that industry. In doing so, you’ll have more opportunities to lean on the guidance of peers once those fallow seasons come — or to enlist help if you have a particularly busy season.

Be Mindful of Cash Flow

During busy periods, you’ll hopefully have some good money rolling in. The temptation will be to use that money to grow the business. To an extent, that may be a good idea. Just make sure you don’t overextend yourself. Remember that slow seasons will likely come, and when they do, you’ll need to maintain some cash on hand.

A Final Word

Not many businesses escape the cyclical nature of things, so the question is: "How will you handle it when the cycle changes?" With these strategies, you should be prepared to weather all manner of highs and lows in the life of your business.

About the author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California, and Dublin, Ireland. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at


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