Running a small business can sometimes feel like a feast or famine. Many people experience a bit of a lull during the summer months as people take time off or scale back for a while. No doubt, some weeks the inquiries will fly in; other weeks…crickets.
Other times of the year, you may be getting requests but not accepting those who aren’t a good fit. Or, despite my planning, I will have the occasional day where I’m waiting on feedback from all my clients at once, giving me a slow day in the interim.
Whatever the reason for your lull, rather than waste more time digging through all the Facebook groups you belong to, here are 10 ways you can work on your business, prepare for next clients, or find some new ones during a slow or quiet time in your business:
10 Things to Do When Business is Slow
1) Evaluate your website.
With everything that arises in your day to day work, updating your website is so easy to push to the back burner. Use a slow day to make sure that all your info and content is up to date and reflective of what you do. Refresh your about page, delete old offerings you don’t have any more, find some new photography to freshen your visuals, finally update that portfolio, or knock out a few blog posts.
2) Learn a new skill.
Continued learning is essential when working in the fast-paced online world. Is there something new to your industry you could learn more about? Or maybe there is something you could learn about more in depth. If you design websites, perhaps you rock at desktop design but need to learn more about designing responsive sites. If you’re a photographer who is great with people, perhaps you can use your time to practice some product photos. Skills will only make you increase your value to your potential clients.
3) Take a look at your client processes and collateral.
When you get a new client, it can be a flutter of “let’s get started!” I know I tend to default to the process I used with my last client since it is fresh in my mind. Instead, take some time to evaluate how your work with clients more deeply and see where you might clarify or simplify the process. You could create new documents to explain what you do like a services guide or media kit, refine your onboarding process, or explore new platforms for project management. Making things simple and clear for the client means they will love working with you even more.
4) Find a way to help someone else.
Look for a peer with too much work who could either hire you or refer you for the overflow. Write a more in-depth blog post about a problem that a lot of your audience has and you can help solve – or even a short ebook. Go through your social media feeds and see if anyone has a question you can answer. Karma is always at play here – if you offer your help, people will notice and may hire you in return!
5) Touch base with past clients.
Think back to clients that you loved working with and might be able to offer an additional service. If you designed a logo, see if that client is now in the need for any updated marketing pieces. If you took newborn photos, perhaps they are now ready for some family photos. Even if they don’t need anything immediately, it will help keep you front of mind should something come up in the future. Relationships are key.
6) Read a book or ebook you’ve been putting off.
It’s so easy to buy a cheap ebook and save it for reading later, or to save a book to your Goodreads list and then never pick it up from the library. Find one (or a few!) and take a few hours to actually read them.
7) Reach out about a collaboration.
Is there an acquaintance, fellow business owner, or a brand that you’ve been itching to work with? Now is the time to sit down and actually write that email or make that phone call. Tell them (concisely) about your idea or interest, and how the collaboration might benefit both of you. You can send the new media kit or services guide you’ve created. They can’t say yes until you give them the chance.
8) Clean up your social media feeds.
See if anyone you follow isn’t relevant to what you do anymore, and clear their clutter from your feed. It’s also a great time to sift through and see if there is anyone new-to-you to follow for inspiration or connecting with a potential client! You can also evaluate your own feeds and make sure that you have a social strategy in place.
9) Catch up on your accounting.
Ok, this one is not the most enticing, but you will surely thank yourself later. Even if you have a bookkeeper, there are probably receipts you need to scan, income or expenses to enter, or even finally making that transfer from PayPal to your bank account. You won’t be in a rush, so you can take some true time to get your accounts up to date and refresh your financial picture.
10) Take a true break.
Hopefully, you will be busy again soon, so why not take a little time to yourself? Self-care is essential when running a business. Take an entire afternoon to go on a long walk and not look at your email even once. Take a day to go on a mini road trip. Do something creative but totally unrelated to your business. You deserve it, and you’ll most likely feel inspired by your break and be ready to get back to action in no time.
What do you do when you have a slower day or period? Use this free worksheet download to brainstorm ways to fill your slow time.
We have a free worksheet that you can use when starting to work through your slow time.