When it comes to going through business cycles, there’s always some good news that goes along with every phase, even the ones that seem the bleakest when you’re in them. Consider the caterpillar: If someone was to tell it, “Hey, buddy, time to stop crawling around eating leaves! You have to climb inside this tiny little sack for the next few months,” that’s going to sound like pretty bad news to the caterpillar. The good news, though, is that this time inside the chrysalis is the caterpillar’s opportunity to transform itself into something new. There’s no jumping straight from being a caterpillar to being a butterfly. It has to go through that in-between time.

It’s pretty much the same for businesses; the transition period that comes during the deceleration of a downturn is your opportunity to transform yourself into something new; something better, smarter, and faster for the next phase of your life as a company.

How can you best utilize your deceleration point?

  • Reevaluate the technology that’s been held together with baling wire and duct tape for months while you made it through your hypergrowth Tornado. The old technology and architecture was never built to scale to what you are now.
  • Chances are you staffed up during the Tornado, to keep up with demand. Now, in this consolidation phase, consider which staff needs to be cut, to get your productivity back.
  • It’s also a great time to look at your processes, which are probably as out of kilter as your IT. How are you going to fix them so that they’ll be scalable the next time you hit a Tornado?

During your Tornado, everyone was busy running just to stay in the same place, and you almost certainly bought a lot of technology to help you keep up – so you probably now have a multitude of platforms that do the same thing. At this point, you’re going to have to throw away a lot of the technology you bought during the Tornado. Console yourself with the thought that streamlining your people, processes, and IT now will help you hold on until the next Tornado of growth sweeps you up – and what you’ve learned will help you avoid the mistakes you made in the last go-‘round.

Is your company ready to survive the tornados and avalanches of the business cycle? Take my IT survival quiz and find out.