How to Reinvigorate Your Business After a Bad Quarter
Updated: Mar 19
Quarterly results truly allow for chances to gauge the direction that your business is headed and make resolutions about how you are performing—they’re not ill omens. Truthfully the outcomes of a single quarter do not make or break a business. Regardless, if you’re faced with distress over a mediocre quarter, try to think of it as an opportunity to examine your business a little more closely and figure out where things could be refined.
Instead of simply remarking, “we weren’t able to make more money this quarter compared to the last,” it would be more beneficial to lock in quarterly objectives and goals before each quarter starts. Is new business paramount over regular clients? Where do you want your increased revenue to come from? Could marks of customer satisfaction, like good reviews, benefit you long-term? Set objectives that evaluate factors beyond simple revenue so you can have positive results to keep your team staying positive, as well as give your business more ways to “win” every quarter than just meeting profit forecasts.
Very few business owners enjoy the process of sitting down and reviewing their monthly cash flow. While it can be energizing and exhilarating to see profits and sales go up, it’s extremely critical to also closely observe the money going out. Where are your expenses coming from, and are they being managed efficiently? For instance, if you need to meet many large commitments all in one quarter, it could clog your cash flow for that quarter. Look for ways to equalize and streamline your outgoing expenses so that you can predict, as much as possible, how much cash you’ll have on hand each quarter.
After writing a business plan and getting the business fully functional, it’s easy to put it in a drawer and forget about it. But that plan becomes especially helpful in times of unpredictability, including after a quarter that didn’t meet expectations. It’s a good time to take your plan out of hiding, review it, see the larger goals that you’d set, and assess how far you’ve come — as well as how far you have left to go. Did you make your first $500,000 in revenue earlier than predicted? If so, this is a cause for celebration. Focusing on what’s going right can give you and your team the confidence and morale you need to recover from a rough quarter.
It’s ordinary for business owners to react to a bad quarter by enforcing a radical change, like removing a product or shifting suppliers. But these factors rarely cause a poor-performing quarter. Long-term thinking is greater for your organization, so quarterly values necessitate adjusting plans, not necessarily an extreme revamp of your whole business. A radical knee-jerk reaction may even produce larger issues down the line. For example, if you change suppliers after a difficult quarter and then discover the new supplier’s materials are not up to par, it could be months before you can fix the complication, meaning more time and resources lost. Alternatively, focus on some quick wins that you and your team can produce to reverse morale and inspire momentum. Can you throw a sale or weekend-long special that will bring in new customers? Create a Twitter campaign to generate new leads? It’s ordinarily better to go small before you go big.
Your employees are not usually the root of your poor quarter, but they can be greatly influenced by it. Instead of keeping the bad news to yourself, opt for honesty about the disheartening quarter and then take measures to incorporate them when improving things. Giving employees a sense of purpose, particularly when it has personal incentives like performance bonuses, is one of the best ways to ensure that your team gets back to a buzzing, high-performing, and positive-thinking state. Create a contest to see who can bring in the most new business next quarter or who can serve the most customers. Make it a contest — why not give the contest some structure and let your people win?
Nobody expects to feel good after a bad quarter. Even so, you have a chance to either grow and learn from it or let it defeat you. Following the guidance in this article will help you see your redemption start sooner and blossom larger.