What Season Is Your Business In?

Seasons are nature’s rhythms that serve to perpetuate the species. Businesses also have seasons, rhythms that serve to perpetuate your business. The two main business seasons are Expansion and Revision. Here’s why you need to embrace both. 

I’m a Spring and Summer growth kind of guy. I love to see the growth and enjoy the fruit of my work. Fall and Winter give plants a break and allow them to go internal to restore themselves in preparation for the next period of growth.

Seasons In Your Business

Businesses experience two main seasons: Expansion and Revision. These seasons can be short or long, and they can come several times a year. You need to pay attention to both seasons if you’re going to build your business.

Expansion is the season to launch new products and services and locations. The focus is on new and more.

Revision is the season to restore and rebuild tired, stretched systems and products and services that no longer perform at their peak.

In my work, there is little more rewarding for me than launching a new book or course. I love it! I’m energized and our customers are energized. I pretty much try to ignore seasons of Revision as long as I can. Combing through old manuals, schedules, and PowerPoints to update them just doesn’t excite me. This is the entrepreneur’s dilemma.

The trouble is, everything “new” starts falling apart as soon as you launch it. There are unintended consequences that only show up as the new program interacts with the old ones. Because your attention has been on the new thing, all the old things haven’t received their usual maintenance. They begin to squeak – sometimes embarrassingly loud. Too much squeaking and you’ll ruin your reputation as a reliable provider.

Other leaders have the opposite trouble. They prefer to remain perpetually in a season of Revision. They constantly tinker on their main business product and service and are resistant to move into Expansion. After all, they’ve been successful so far. Anything new risks the old.

Embracing Both Seasons of Expansion and Revision

Businesses that grow embrace both seasons of Expansion and seasons of Revision. Here’s how:

  1. Schedule the seasons. Rather wait until a season is forced on you, schedule it. Schedule your season of Revision to get everything in tip top shape before a season of Expansion. Set a time limit on seasons if you have trouble moving out of it.
  2. Seasons tap into team strengths. Starting the new and keeping the old going are age-old business conflicts. Entrepreneurs have strengths around Expansion, while managers and optimizers and implementors are often stronger with Revision. Seasons help to give both these important roles their due, while allowing team strengths to emerge.
  3. Seasons give you discipline. Even the term “season,” communicates short-term, this-to-will-pass. When you’re uncomfortable with a season, knowing that it will pass and you’ll be in the next season soon motivates you to push through discomfort.
  4. Use Revision to expand. Revision includes your marketing, materials, systems, processes, and staffing. Revising your marketing emails and website should result in more customers. Revising your materials should result in more satisfied customers.
  5. Use Expansion to revise. Not all Expansion is introducing new things. Sometimes Expansion is reworking the old into something new. As a result, you launch a new product or service, but you also revise (and perhaps, do away with) one or more old things.

Seasons are natural rhythms of life. Businesses have them too. Embrace both seasons of Expansion and seasons of Revision if you want to build your business.

HT to Donald Miller for introducing me to these seasons.

Question: Which season do you find more comfortable? Why? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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    2 thoughts on “What Season Is Your Business In?

    1. I like the idea of seasons. It combines get-it-done with relief-in-sight for the things I’m not naturally inclined to do. 😉

      In the spirit of collaborative revision: on #3 above did you mean to say “discipline” rather than “disciple”? Either could work, but using “disciple” tripped me up and made me reread a couple of times. If that’s the effect you wanted. . . . .you got it! Good job!! 😉