Weathering Transitions

The air has cooled wildly here in north Delaware. Trees now come in two colors: deep emerald and tired emerald. The deep emeralds are the optimists & I’m cheering for them.

The Kid went back to school this week.

My phone began to ring again, after a late-summer lull which I had planned to worry about (though I never got around to that).

All summer I’ve been thinking about transitions, meaning to write this very post. Many businesses experience a slow season in summer or winter, but lately we’ve all transitioned from winner-take-all boom times to if-it-ain’t-broke-it-will-be-soon bust.

Now some of us are transitioning again, to planning stages and cautious growth. My favorite part of this business is hearing about new clients’ plans for growth.

Maybe it’s the sun warming my back poolside, as I write. Maybe, as Bob Seger says, it’s autumn closing in. Whatever the cause, I’m feeling a bit of an ache for the many businesses that haven’t weathered the latest transitions too well. I’m reminiscing about the deep-discount sales that were going to fix everything, the last-ditch efforts to bombard social media, the branching out in “fresh” directions that doomed already diluted brand messages.

I don’t have all the answers and who knows? maybe I’ll contradict myself tomorrow. But today I’m wondering whether lowering (revenue) expectations, rather than trying to hold on to a boom that had gone by with a new scheme every week, could have helped some companies concentrate on exceeding customer expectations.

You’ve made it through the worst of the recession now. Oh, I know, you feel the chill and you wonder, but I’m telling you. You’ve lived through this.

If you’ve got a seasonal lull coming this winter—or if you’ll see another next summer—what do you think? Is there value in throwing-fifteen-things-out-and-seeing-what-sticks? Or can pulling back, concentrating on the core of your business, sometimes be the key to weathering transitions?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson