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 and reduce the urge to freak out. Slow (or even slower) periods can feel like a gift from the gods – if you use the time wisely.
1. Take a damn break already
Vacation, staycation, Wednesday afternoons off – chances are you are more than a little run down. 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
This is the best time to do a full evaluation of all of the systems, software and documents that keep your business going. What’s working, what’s clunky/frustrating to use, and what information is out of date. From updating employee and client on boarding docs to evaluating new software and apps, it’s time for a full on investigation of new tools (or how to use your existing tools more fully) and overall better workflow.
3. Nail down 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 sales feels a bit icky, use this opportunity to revise your relationship with selling, identify and implement a CRM system, whatever it takes to put new business back into focus. This is also a great time to reach back out to former clients or prospects.
4. Hire a coach
What kind of a coach? Who knows! 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 some extra time with your existing clients
Hold strategy sessions with clients, ask to shadow operations for a day, invite everyone over for a mid-day slumber party in the office. 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 demonstrate your value.
6. Mentor or volunteer
Our industry is in desperate need of mentors to help guide the next generation (and there is a fair amount we can learn form 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.
7. Expand Your Skillset
What will it be? Video-editing, Analytics, Story-telling 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
An ebook, hour-long DIY PR course, find a way to bring in some passive income with a digital product. There’s not reason not to add a little e-commerce to your website and get important information in the hands of prospective clients to build trust. Plus, you now have a thing to market and promote – hooray!
9. Create Your Own PR Plan
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, or you make a goal to speak at a conference, use this time to figure out how to get YOU in the spotlight. You have a ton of thoughts, opinions and expertise to share and now you can finally pen a few pieces of contributed content for your favorite PR blog (cough cough). Pitch a few ideas, write up a few articles, and use those new bylines to wow existing clients and lure in new ones.
10. Start Something
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.