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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Feast or famine

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

Famine. It’s not uncommon for small businesses 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 a new client might mean they wouldn’t perform as well for their existing clients or would have 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 hunker down to serve existing clients. In this phase, they’re very happy with their income and their work.

But then, inevitably, they lose a client or two. Given a long enough timeline, entrepreneurs will lose every client they now serve, often through no fault of their own. So begins the famine. But it takes time to build a funnel, and this is where small businesses get themselves into trouble.

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

The last thing in the world a small business with too much work 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. You can grow your business and hire real employees.

But the last thing you should 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 the choice between feast or famine. If you believe that dealing with too much work is a problem, imagine the problem of not having work to keep the lights on.

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