Marcus says: Don't Panic

Paul Boag

And… obviously, never be without your towel. Douglas Adams has a lot to answer for. Mostly, in my view, for being the funniest (best even) English writer since Wodehouse. Why do all the best ones die young?

You may wonder what on earth this has to with web design. Apart from the fact that DNA was a tech junkie, and the title of this piece, absolutely nothing at all!

What I want to talk about are those times when the phone’s not ringing, your inbox is empty and you just lost out on three pitches in a row. No matter how much you tell yourself not to worry, it starts to creep up on you. I find this becomes particularly acute when the project managers start saying that so-and-so needs a new project on Monday otherwise they’ll be twiddling their thumbs.

Luckily, at Headscape, these occasions have been fairly few and far between but they have happened. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Cushions are very comfortable

Try to ensure that you have at least one month’s break even cash in the bank. This guarantees that salaries can be paid, bills can be paid etc even if you make absolutely zero in a particular month.

Don’t forget cash flow

Even though it’s very easy to add up ‘cash in the bank’ and ‘money invoiced this month’ and reach a very doom laden total, don’t forget to add in ‘money owed’. Unless your clients are notoriously bad payers then it is likely that the cash in the back total will grow considerably within one month.

Take it on the chin

If you are the business owner or one of the directors, then you must be prepared to take a cut in your salary/benefits if the company needs it. In other words, you can’t expect things both ways. If things are good then it’s likely you’ll reap the biggest reward, consequently, you should take the biggest hit if things aren’t great.

Make the most of it!

This is probably the most important message of the lot. All of those things that you don’t have time for are now possible. For example, a bit of R&D on that product idea that no-one ever has time for or you can actually call all of your existing clients (like you keep saying you’re going to) to discuss their site needs and the chances are, you’ll win business by doing so.

But overall, my message is don’t panic. Don’t start cold calling the phonebook or slashing your prices wildly just to win anything. Stick to your guns and use any down time wisely.