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How can you avoid the cycle of “feast and famine” in business?

Business books can be transformational – but only if you do something with the information you read.

That is why I wanted to share something with you. It’s from The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

In the book, he talks about the fact that most people do just enough to keep them in that place between failure and survival. It applies to all areas of business and also to life generally, but I think it’s something that is useful to think about when we look at our sales and marketing.

Every business owner has probably experienced the feeling of moving between feast and famine. When it’s very busy in our businesses, we don’t do all the marketing, sales and follow-up work that we should and our businesses suffer. Then, a few months later, we’re likely to experience a dip.

What Olson talks about is the need to take action consistently, every week. He believes that we don’t stop marketing simply because we’re too busy, but because we are comfortable. There is enough cash coming into the business so we ease off.

Most people do this in all areas of their lives. They get to a good level of income or a healthy weight and then they stop doing the things that got them there.

They stop following up with every lead, or they start ordering dessert again when they’re out for dinner.

And then when these decisions have an impact – the business is struggling or the scales are tipping in the wrong direction, they realise they need to do something about it.

Then they get on back on track for a bit, and the cycle starts again.

It’s not just a few people that behave in this way. Olson estimates it’s around 19 out of every 20 people.

And yet if we could only keep doing the things that get us up to the survival level, we’d eventually soar past survival and hit success.

All this requires is “Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time.”

Not just in business, but in every area of our lives.

He calls it The Slight Edge because by taking simple daily and weekly actions, we’ll have an advantage over all of the people who aren’t doing these things.

What are one or two simple actions you could start doing consistently that would make a difference to your business?

For me, recently, my commitment to sit down every morning for 5 or 6 days a week, for 8 months to spend an hour and a half on writing my book, Will it Stand Up? A Professional Engineer’s View of the Creation of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium is now having a very positive impact on my business.

All businesses have ups and downs, but what action can you take now to avoid the next dip? As Jeff Olson puts it, take the simple actions that you need to take and keep taking them.

And if you need help with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.

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