The Dip

by Dallas Mount


Seth Godin, author of The Dip, describes the period of time after a change has been made when the results are worse before they begin to improve.

Participants of the Ranching for Profit School often envision going home to make a few changes to their business which will automatically have outstanding results and everything will end happily ever after. Unfortunately it rarely works that way. Often, when substantial changes are made, we go through a dip before going back up the other side. Clay Conry recently led an RFP Online webinar where RFP alumni ranches shared examples of ‘the dip’ and how they navigated it in their businesses. Their examples included:

  • Temporary reduction in livestock performance following change in grazing practices.
  • Poor conception rates following change in calving season and level of inputs.
  • Unanticipated knowledge gaps when changing enterprise mix.
  • Challenges in hiring and leading a team when scaling a business up.
  • Implementing a new strategic direction only to realize it isn’t congruent with the skills and passions of key team members.

I appreciated these alumni sharing their stories of struggle. Too often we only see the testimonials with the birds singing, the spouses kissing and the shiny new pickup in the background. When really that isn’t the whole story.  

This RFP Online conversation led me to re-listen to the book, it’s only 1.5 hours long.  In the book, Godin makes the point that the old saying that winners never quit is terrible advice in many aspects of life.  Quitting often is the best decision, but most choose to quit early or to never start in the first place.  

The worst place to quit is right in the middle of ‘the dip’ before you start up the other side and things improve.  An example he used that resonated with me is learning to snowboard. When learning to snowboard you spend the first day or two catching edges and getting walloped onto the ski slope. Many people quit after day one. This is a terrible decision. The smarter decision would have been to never start snowboarding in the first place, or to push through the hard days so you can enjoy the reward of carving down the slopes when you get through the misery.  

What’s something in your business you experienced a ‘dip’ in?  What is something in retrospect you never should have started?

One Response to “The Dip”

March 09, 2022 at 7:48 am, Bruce Hennessey said:

Thanks for this thought! We are in a “Dip” right now. We recently made a decision to move to direct retail sales from a business model that has been mostly wholesale. Our “Dip” is manifested by making sure we have the expertise and talent we need to make the shift (and paying for those amazing people), while experiencing historically low near-term sales numbers. We believe we will see positive results, but there is always a lag between the investment and the benefit. The cash flow crunch is excruciating! I will be tapping into Seth’s book and have already leveraged our EL board to help us through this.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *