Sometimes after a booming period of time like the holidays or after an event or program your business might run, there is a slow period.
This is a period when clients might not call as they have been or come in as they normally do. But, this doesn't mean that the additional down time will keep you out - there are many things to do when experiencing a slow period during normal business hours.
So if you are experiencing some down time or predict that you will later on, here are 8 ways you can stay productive:
1. Make a free resource that you can share
All businesses have their domain of expertise. Especially for those businesses that have a very focused service offering, your expertise could be of real interest and benefit to your clients.
For instance, if you are a yoga studio with a website and email listserv, having a downloadable guide of “4 stretches you should do every morning” would be an awesome resource for people visiting your website. You could incentivize them to sign up for your listserv by offering this free download.
Or, maybe you are a psychology practice that has tons of guides on how to get clear on your values. Making a pdf or white paper of these guides and placing it on your website for download could both grow your potential number of therapy patients while helping people get clear on their own values.
Whatever your business is, consider what is in your mind that could be of great value to people visiting your website who you might want to keep in contact with. Develop a downloadable on the subject and figure out the best way to deliver it to those who could benefit from it.
2. Make easily shareable & postable graphics for social media feeds
Everyone has nuggets of wisdom that they could share. We see these small cards like the one to the right all the time with inspirational phrases on them, and oftentimes we re-post or share them ourselves.
Websites like Canva have made it easy to make beautiful graphics to post on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr or any social feeds where graphics make sense. Either find famous quotes that relate to the subject of your business or come up with your own.
You can make several of these really quickly in one sitting. Start a folder on your computer and fill them with these perfectly shareable cards. Then, schedule them out to be delivered on your social feeds.
A word to the wise: these sorts of graphics work better on platforms that are all about sharing pictures whereas platforms like Twitter work a lot better for short, witty text-based quips.
3. Take a course that will give you a skill-boost or read a book on a subject matter you need more understanding on
While most people will give verbal credence to the idea that continuing education is important, few of us carve out time to really follow through on it. When business is slow, however, you can really seize the opportunity to add something new to your repertoire or bolster an existing skill!
Websites like Lynda, Skillshare, and Coursera have made it easy to find subjects that you’re interested in and learn from the comfort of your own home. I’ll typically go through at least one course a month on one of these websites. I love sitting down in my pajamas a few mornings per month with my coffee in one hand and my brain turned on to learning something new.
Now when you have a few week’s worth of slow time you can really consider what it is you need to brush up on. Check out the websites linked above to see if there are any courses that would be hugely beneficial to you either personally or professionally.
4. Take a break yourself
If your business is slow (and you know it’s going to be that way) this may be the perfect time for you to step away and relax yourself.
Think about it: why wait until the busy time of year to step away and have a vacation? Go ahead and maximize on the time where your income may be minimized and head to the mountains, beach, or chill at home without any emphasis on work.
One rationale is: “If business is slow and income is low then now is definitely not the time to take a break!” This, however, could just be you fighting what the world is trying to offer you. You know how the phrase goes: when the world hands you lemons...make lemonade.
We can all fall victim to believing that we’re supposed to stay busy all the time, but when opportunities come up where it makes sense for you to relax for a bit, then by all means do it! You may find that it will really rejuvenate you for when business picks back up again.
5. Do brainstorming on several blog posts & create a repository to pull from
The hardest thing for me in writing blog post is topic creation. Once I have the topic I can pretty quickly sit down and type out 1500 words on the subject. Having not only the topics but also some quick brainstorming on those topics ready to pull from would make my weekly blog posts get done so much faster.
If you have the same problem, then be diligent during slow times to help yourself out for when times get busy.
How I typically handle doing this is sitting down with a notepad and pen and jotting topics and brainstorming for an hour or so. Then I’ll turn to my computer and start a Google Doc for each brainstormed topic. Finally, I type up the notes that I jotted down for each topic and inevitably as I’m typing them I end up writing more than what I initially dotted.
By the end of that I have a good working doc for however many topics I got brainstormed during my hour of jotting. If I feel like I have it in me, I’ll rinse & repeat the process until I feel like my repository is full enough.
6. Rearrange the services you offer or add a new service that clients could book with you
If you’re online scheduler has looked the same for a while, it may be time to give it an update. You can re-arrange the services you offer using our sort weight functionality, or you could go through and edit the descriptions for each.
Another option is to think about whether there’s another service that you could offer. With new services come new marketing opportunities for not only the service but your business as well.
I’m not suggesting you overload your online scheduling screens with services. Just like going to the Cheesecake Factory gives most people heart palpitations with the number of choices, so too will your scheduler if you put too many services. Be choosey, but also see if there’s a way to be more creative with what you offer.
7. Get to know your customers with personas
Knowing your clients personally is something that happens over time as they come in to see you for appointments. However, it is possible to get to know your leads a bit better before you have time to get to know them through an individual appointment. Go through a persona creation exercise to get to know your audience a bit better.
The Persona Lifecycle is a great text book on how to do this. While it is heavily geared toward creating personas for software companies, it can definitely be applied to any small business with a web presence.
As you create content to deliver on the web, you need to know how to speak to the people you want to reach. By creating personas you have a deeper understanding of what would motivate a person to consume the content you create.
No matter how brilliant the white paper you’ve written is, no one is going to download it if you don’t pitch it to them in a way that is meaningful to their lives. Creating a handful of personas for your user base will help you with word choices as you make posts on social feeds or add content to your website.
8. Figure out what you’ve been putting off
Everyone has been delaying getting at least one thing done. Most of the time, I don’t like to think about the things I’ve been putting off because it overwhelms me and I don’t have time to take care of it right then.
Yet, when you’ve got time on your hands, it’s really a great opportunity to get those papers piled 2 feet high on your desk sorted & organized, to finally mail that package to your friend, and to drop those clothes in your closet off at Goodwill.
Consider whatever it is you need to do that you’ve shoved to the recesses of your mind. Is now an appropriate time to address them?
So there are my 8 suggestions for what you can do with your time when clients aren’t beating down the door. Which of these will you try to implement this summer if you experience a slump?
What suggestions do you have for those of us looking for something to stay productive during down times in business? Help us out and let us know in the comments below!