Running a business means there will be good and bad months. Learn 7 ways to keep busy and stay productive during slower periods.
Depending on the type of services or products your business offers, you may have very slow months, such as winter months for landscapers. But the offseason doesn’t mean you can’t be productive and continue driving the business forward.
Here are seven tips and strategies to follow when you find your business in a lull.
1. Keep up your productive habits
Even if things are slow, continue the habits you built up during busy periods. Wake up at the same time and do your same routine each day. Plan a to-do list as if you have a lot on your plate.
There were probably many tasks that went neglected during the busy season, so catch up on things like reports and goals. Get your taxes ready to go, or organize your invoices and receipts.
While sometimes you deserve a break, it’s important not to let go of too much or it can be hard to keep things moving forward and get back in the work mindset when the time comes.
2. Check-in on your workforce
If you found your team was struggling to meet deadlines and tasks during the busy season, now may be the time to assess whether you need to hire more employees or contractors. When things are slow, you can really pay attention to the gaps in your workforce, if there are any, and think through your hiring strategy.
This can be a great time to give new hires the extra attention they deserve, from the application process to interviewing and onboarding.
On the other hand, depending on how the season went for your business, you may decide that it’s the right time to downsize.
3. Check-in with customers
Don’t forget to keep relationships strong during the offseason. Check-in with your clients to confirm schedules or to follow up on projects you completed for them. You could also build up your online presence by asking past clients for testimonials or reviews.
Don’t let these connections fade just because there may be a few months without work.
4. Plan for the next season
Of course, planning and setting new goals for the upcoming busy season is always a good idea. Analyze your cash flow from the last couple of years and make forecasts and budgets. Sit down with your team and think through business strategy. Gather feedback and analyze ways the entire business could improve, not just the bottom line.
5. Organize everything
A major task that can be set aside during your crazy months is organization — whether it’s your email, your digital files, or your physical office space. If you work with a team of employees, take an entire workday as a cleanup or organization day and get the office looking in top shape once again. If necessary, implement new software to help you organize your digital information or streamline processes that have been taking up too much time.
Lulls are perfect opportunities to get everything in order.
6. Revamp your marketing efforts
Another great way to keep busy and stay connecting during slower periods is to update your marketing efforts. Continue to post regularly on your social media outlets so your audience knows you’re still around. Send out newsletters about topics related to your industry or the industries of your ideal audience. Update your website to reflect any recent wins or successful client experiences you had during the last season. It’s also a good time to analyze whether your website is effective and easy to use for customers.
Slower months are a great time to put more focus into the outreach side of your business to better connect with potential leads as well as existing customers.
7. Go on vacation
Finally, while ensuring that the above things are still addressed, the offseason is the perfect time for you to get away for a time and relax. You’ve worked hard through the busy season, so now is the time to reflect on the lessons you learned and take a break.
Just make sure that someone is available to answer emails or phone calls, and that you’ve delegated all necessary responsibilities to keep the business running smoothly while you’re away.
Employees are more engaged in their work and are more effective if they’ve used a little vacation time, so encourage your team to take a little time away, too.
Lulls for your small business can actually be major opportunities to recharge, analyze, organize, and reset. Take advantage of the extra time by looking at the numbers and historical data and incorporating that information into your future strategy. But, make sure you don’t let things fall by the wayside just because you have a little more time. Keep up with your routines and continue to make decisions to move the business forward. VendorSmart connects vendors with community managers and associations via our web-based marketplace. Contact the team to get started today.