Feast or Famine

Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small businesspeople often have to make a choice between feast and famine.

Famine

It’s not uncommon for a small business to end up with so much work that they can’t possibly take on another client. They don’t have any capacity for new work, and taking on new clients means that they may not perform as well for their existing clients, work more hours, or hire additional help.

Once they have enough work, they stop their sales and marketing work. They quit prospecting. They stop spending their time and money on marketing, and they hunker down and serve their clients. They’re very happy with their income, and they’re happy with their work.

But then, inevitably, they lose a client or two. Given a long enough time line, you will lose every client you now serve. The problem is that you don’t know when that will occur and why, and you will lose many clients through no fault of your own.

So begins the famine. But it takes time to build a funnel, and this is where small businesses get themselves in a position where survival becomes difficult.

Feast

Sometimes a small business can have too many clients. So begins the feast. There is an abundance of work, so much so that there is no easy way to take care of all the business.

The last thing in the world a small business with too much business can imagine doing is building a funnel. But there are lots of ways to mitigate the potential problems of having more business than you can take on. You can hire contractors to do some work. You can push the start dates for projects. You can outsource some of the work. You can grow your business and hire real employees.

But the last thing you can do is give up on the sales and marketing activities that bring in new opportunities. You are always one or two clients away from an existential threat to your business.

You have to make a choice between feast or famine. If you believe that dealing with too much work is a problem, try dealing with the problem of not having enough business to be able to keep the lights on.

Filed under: The Small Business Playbook

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