What Is a Hiccup?

Hiccup is a slang term for a short-term disruption within a longer-term plan, goal, or trend. A hiccup can be used to describe the near-term business outlook of a particular company, a stock price downturn, or a blip in the stock market as a whole.

Generally, a hiccup is not indicative of a larger trend but is considered an aberration.

Key Takeaways

  • A hiccup refers to a temporary disruption that should not be considered symptomatic of something more permanently negative.
  • A hiccup for a business can be caused by over- or under-estimating the costs or demand for a product or service, or missteps made in marketing efforts.
  • While a hiccup is defined as an aberration, investors and analysts often will not know if a downturn is merely a hiccup or a more serious reversal until some time has passed.

Understanding Hiccups

In business, the term "hiccup" often applies to the financial downturn of a business. The word sometimes also applies to a downturn in business or organization performance due to other factors, such as bad technology (technology hiccup). There are many causes of hiccups, such as greed and poor marketing, but by implementing the right strategies, business leaders can prepare themselves to handle these downturns better when they come.

One of the biggest challenges for investors is determining what is merely a hiccup and what is a harbinger of things to come. If a company misses sales estimates one quarter, this may be an isolated event, or it may be the first of several misses highlighting a core problem in the business model.

Some Causes of Hiccups

Greed, poor technology, poor understanding of the market, low or no social media presence, and over-hiring are some factors that can cause hiccups for a business. Hiccups can occur when a business startup overspends on expensive office items and other luxuries rather than focusing on products and marketing. This can cause a startup to blow the budget early in the game.

Because so many businesses feed off technology, having reliable internet and phone systems are key to moving a business along. Quality internet enables conference calls and other technological feats that can help financial growth. Social media presence is also key, and the business that fails to expose itself on social media may not attract the attention given to competitors.

Understanding the market is an important part of a company's success. Failure in this regard can make a business irrelevant and so cause a financial downturn. Hiring too many employees can drain a company's finances.

Ways to Handle and Prevent Hiccups

Business leaders can help avoid/heal hiccups by keeping growth in mind. This mindset can extend even to the hiccups themselves insofar as they provide lessons that business leaders can then build on for future success. Business leaders also need to prepare for many different future scenarios.

Drawing on the past and studying the market in the present can help these individuals identify at least a few possible paths a company's finances can take. The right mindset is also key. A business person who is prepared and even excited to make the best of future challenges may have a better chance of succeeding.