Is it possible to turn dull or slow times of business into flowing times that are just as productive as high times? In business as in life there are highs and lows. Lessons can be learned from both and the contrast is necessary to aid in the realistic assessment of your business. In times of low sales or income producing activities you may be tempted to do nothing or to take a break. If times are really tough you may even go into panic mode. Now is NOT the time to panic. Stress closes you off to the opportunity that a down time represents.
Down time isn’t a bad thing. Savvy business owners like you know they can use the time to take a deeper look. (Business) Life moves pretty fast. In the blur it’s easy to lose focus. The holidays and other slow periods are an opportunity to step outside the routine process to gain new perspective. From new perspective comes new success.
To gain new successes and prosper from down times, business owners can utilize the following concepts to make this season’s down time the most productive yet: Reconnect; Re-Inspire/Reeducate; Streamline daily operations; and do some Business Housekeeping.
Reconnect (To core beliefs, clients and mission)
-Send an email or personal note to past clients and especially to prized clients. Thank them for their business, request new testimonials, offer additional services, or a up sell. Offer holiday gift cards for your services and ask for referrals.
-Collect on unpaid accounts.
-Attend a networking event. Preparing to make new business contacts affords the perfect opportunity to reflect on and re-evaluate the 10 second story of your business.
-Check out your competition and what’s new in your niche.
Re-Inspire / Reeducate Yourself
-Read a book
-Review your “Why” (Does it make you cry?)
-Do something creative not related to your business. Get your brain out of it’s groove and grow your creative powers.
-Innovate. Develop new products tailored to your customers ever changing needs.
-Get out of your comfort zone. Shake things up.
-Revisit personal goals.
-Expand your role and find ways to be of more value and service.
Streamline your daily operations:
-Clean out your inbox. Unsubscribe from lists that are no longer useful or that you don’t read even though you think some day you might.
-Clean your office, the circular file is your friend!
-Organize the files on your computer desktop screen.
-Write out your current project/client workflow. Assess inconsistencies. Then write out your ideal workflow.
-Review your daily activities, trending behaviors, policies and operating strategies.
-Evaluate what is serving you, where you are following your passion and what you might be able to delegate or hire someone to help you with.
-Update or write a business plan
-Revisit business goals
-Evaluate cash flow, inventory, price point, cost management, vendors/manufacturing/business partners and lead time.
-Look at your business from a customer’s perspective; are you easy to do business with? Would you want to do business with you? Convey to your clients what they can consistently expect.
-Do a website/social media/ marketing materials overhaul. New colors/fonts. Check links to make sure they are working. Assess Google Analytics for popular posts and pages with high exit rates. Update your cover photo. Evaluate your marketing budget. Host a giveaway.
-Get new business cards
-Identify areas of possible savings: internet services, cell phone plans, insurance.
-Review your marketing plan
-Evaluate employees or your own interaction with customers and how you create the customer experience
-Get ready for tax season
-Make a financial plan to save up for the newest item (laptop, software etc…)
As you can see down times are opportunities to capitalize on just as high times are. Savvy business owners know they can use the time to update their mindset, skills, technology, marketing, and anything else that can drive their business forward for the rest of the year. Use these tips immediately to turn slow times into sources of innovation and profit.
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