Every business goes through the occasional slow period. If you find yourself with a slightly reduced client load or frighteningly slim to-do list, take advantage of the downtime with these 10 strategies designed to both reduce the urge to freak out and improve your chances of attracting new client leads quickly so you can get back to busy.
Remember, slow (or even slower) periods can actually be amazing for your business – if you use the time wisely.
1. Take a business break
Vacation, staycation, take next Wednesday afternoon off and head to the beach – chances are you are more than a little run down trying to do All The Things to grow your company.
While it might seem counterintuitive, if you’re feeling blocked or waiting around for your next big idea, try putting some space between you and your inbox. Turn on that out of office, say yes to a digital detox and relax. For whatever reason, not working is a surefire way to get all fired up about work again – just try it.
2. Streamline your processes
A slower schedule is the perfect time to work on your business infrastructure. Evaluate of all of the systems, software and processes that keep your business going. Audit your monthly subscriptions, develop Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) docs for interns, upgrade your client onboarding experience, do a demo for a new software.
Consider this downtime as an opportunity to get organized, learn a new system, evaluate new tools, basically all those activities you say you want to do when business is booming.
3. Improve your sales process
Many agency owners and freelancers find it hard to carve out time to really develop a sales process that keeps new clients coming in throughout the year.
If you struggle with sales, are basically winging it on discovery calls, or simply want to get better at packing your pipeline full of prospects, use this opportunity to revise your relationship with selling. This is also a great time to reach back out to former clients or prospects.
4. Hire a business coach or consultant
Running a PR business is about far more than keeping your clients in the media. It requires leadership, self-trust, resilience and support. A business coach can help you with your market positioning, help you develop offers and services that align with your strengths and provide a useful sounding board as you consider various power moves.
If a business coach feels like a snore, remember that the more excited you are about your life in general, the most that rubs off on your career and clients. There are coaches for absolutely everything, so pick someplace you’d like to up-level in life and find the right human being who can help you to get there.
5. Spent that extra time nurturing existing clients
Hold bonus strategy sessions with clients, ask to shadow operations for a day, invite everyone over for a mid-day slumber party in the office. Beta test a new service offering and boost your existing retainers a bit. If you don’t have the right client makeup at the moment, dive in deep with the clients you do have to cement relationships and develop new creative ways to help them achieve business objectives.
6. Mentor or volunteer your services
Our industry is in desperate need of mentors to help guide the next generation (and there is a fair amount we can learn from them too!). Respond to the best “just want to pick your brain” emails you’ve received over the last months and make someone’s day with a bit of your time.
Conversely, find a non-profit in need of your communication skills and donate your time while getting known in your local community.
7. Expand Your Skillset
What will it be? Video-editing, Google Analytics, Social Ads or perhaps going for your APR certification? With so many incredible online courses at your fingertips, there’s no excuse to brush up on a skill or discover your aptitude at something new.
8. Create a digital product or standalone training
Bring in some passive income — and grow your reputation as an expert — with a digital product, workshop or virtual event. Stuck for a topic? What do your clients ask you about all the time? What do your clients needs to know before they are ready to hire you?
9. Prioritize Personal PR
Whether for your personal brand or your agency, use this time to figure out how to grow your own reputation. Perhaps you focus on thought leadership – posting one key takeaway on Linkedin each day for 30 days for example, or you set a goal to speak at a conference this year. Pitch a few ideas, write up a few articles, and use those new bylines to wow existing clients and lure in new ones. Whatever you choose, use this time to figure out how to get YOU in the spotlight.
10. Create Something New
You have a million ideas in your head and in notebooks, so pull one out and get to work. Perhaps its a vintage store powered by Instagram or a one-day conference in your city, or a rotating dinner party. Use this time to actually make something happen because you finally…have the time.
Business slowdown can be cause for concern, or with a bit of a reframe, be a welcome chance to reflect, refine and reset.
a different kind of professional membership for pr consultants