Get All Access for $5/mo

Seeing the Big Picture When Business Gets Slow Good advice can come from unexpected sources.

By William Bauer Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Shannon Fagan | Getty Images

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.

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.

William Bauer

Managing Director of ROYCE New York

William Bauer is the managing director of ROYCE, a handcrafted American accessories brand based in New York City. His small-business marketing and entrepreneurial acumen have been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, BBC, CNN Money, and other prominent publications.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

How to Be a Billionaire By 25, According to a College Dropout Turned CEO Worth $1.6 Billion

Austin Russell became the world's youngest self-made billionaire in 2020 at age 25.

Starting a Business

How to Find the Right Programmers: A Brief Guideline for Startup Founders

For startup founders under a plethora of challenges like timing, investors and changing market demand, it is extremely hard to hire programmers who can deliver.

Growing a Business

The Top 5 AI Tools That Can Revolutionize Your Workflow and Boost Productivity

Discover the top 5 AI tools for marketing and content creation that every marketer needs to know.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Science & Technology

No More ChatGPT? Here's Why Small Language Models Are Stealing the AI Spotlight

Entrepreneurs can leverage this growing tech to create innovative, efficient and targeted AI solutions.