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Seeing the Big Picture When Business Gets Slow

Good advice can come from unexpected sources.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When my travel schedule allows it, there is nothing I look forward to more than returning to my mother’s hometown of Asbury Park, NJ, for the tradition of summer hoops. The town unfortunately lacks funds to illuminate the court at night, so one evening a few weeks ago as my team went four intense games deep, dusk settled and the game came to a momentary pause. My teammates and I were transformed into mere moving shadows. Pessimistic chatter erupted. Several players on the opposing team said it was difficult to see the hoop.

Shannon Fagan | Getty Images

My teammate, Jarnell wisely quipped, “You can’t always see the basket, but you can always imagine it.” On my journey home, I pondered Jarnell’s sagacious declaration. I thought to myself, "Now that spring has ended, our in-store monogramming event revenue has come to a screeching halt. It feels like our business is in this dark tunnel.''

Related: 5 Tips to Keep Your Staff Busy During the Slow Season

On these sweltering summer days, it seems impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel: our New York Fashion Week activation in September that officially marks the beginning of the fall-winter monogramming events season.

Our hiatus in hot stamping spans three months but feels indefinite. Beyond the healthy revenue derived from monogramming, there is an element of exhilaration, from private events on panoramic Dallas hotel rooftops and airport hangers in Cabo San Lucas to warehouse parties in Chicago and even the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. We are the DJ, generating a sphere of excitement revolving around on-demand personalization, to the soundtrack of my grandfather’s 1928 machine.

By contrast, showing up to an office every day just isn’t that sexy. In fact, downtime of the work cycle is draining. My day-to-day operations over the summer consist of capturing open accounts receivables, creating travel itineraries, confirming my commercial line of credit with the bank and compiling recap reports to demonstrate ROI of events to clients. Being confined within four walls and to a thirteen-inch laptop screen is not my idea of an enriching environment.

Related: 4 Ways Small Businesses Can Survive the Slower Months

Acknowledgment that there is light at the end of the tunnel versus being able to tangibly remind myself of that on an daily basis are two very different things, thanks in part to our negativity bias. There are few things in life more frustrating to a business owner than feeling the walls of this bleak tunnel caving in, one in which positive memories from previous months’ monogramming events are deliquesced into darkness, much like my teammates and me on the basketball court.

Now, however, when I feel the tunnel caving in, I harken Jarnell’s words. Despite a dearth of light within the confines of this seasonal business induced tunnel, if I persist in imagining ‘the basket’, I know I will arrive to a better place: happiness.

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