Business isn’t always going to be booming. No matter how hard you work, some days are going to be quiet. But there is so much that you can accomplish even when business growth is slow.
As I write this the UK is currently in lockdown. We’re only allowed to leave our homes for very specific and essential reasons. Schools and public spaces have been closed and the majority of businesses have become quieter, if not stopped altogether. Unfortunately, similar situations can be found across the globe as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
I’m going to be completely honest with you and admit that I've been anxious about the impact of Coronavirus, especially as a lot of my freelance work has been paused indefinitely amidst the uncertainty.
At first, I panicked and started to worry about the future of my business, but then I remembered I’m a BossBabe.
Instead of closing my eyes and hoping this entire situation magically goes away, I’ve made a decision to act. We might not be able to control COVID-19 and the impact on the economy, but we can control our actions.
But what do you do when business is slow?
To help you decide what to do when business is quiet, I’m sharing my tips so you can use this time effectively.
What To Do When Business Is Slow
1. Review your budget
One of the first things I’d recommend doing when business is quiet is reviewing your budget.
Depending on the reason why your business is slow, you’ll likely to be uncertain about how long this situation will last.
To help you make the most of your resources, take a look at your outgoings and stop or pause any non-essential spending.
You could also take a look at your quarterly or long-term budget and re-prioritise your funds as needed. For example, you might need to spend less on stock but more on marketing.
2. Make some strategic plans
You can’t expect to achieve new results by doing the same thing you’re doing now.
Look at your analytics and see what’s currently working and what’s not. Decide what changes would help you to make a difference in these areas and put plans in place.
Set a realistic deadline for you to review these changes and if you’re not seeing results, it’s time to switch it up again
3. Build an audience persona
One of the best ways to attract your target audience is to understand them.
Develop a detailed persona by getting feedback from your audience and past clients. You could also consider conducting market research or look at existing data.
Once you’ve got an audience persona, map out the customer journey i.e. the way in which a customer makes the decision to do business with you. Understanding this information is key to providing a good customer experience.
4. Do some competitor research
Are you losing customers to your competitors? If this is the case, you should use any quiet time to research how your competitors are attracting your target audience.
Look at things like your competitors' offerings and their marketing activities and assess the strengths and weaknesses.
By doing this, you’ll be able to see if there are any gaps in the market and get clear on why your audience should do business with you.
5. Look into industry trends
One of the biggest challenges businesses have is continuously adapting to market trends.
If business is quiet, use this time as an opportunity to look at how your industry is evolving so you can prepare for the future.
Depending on what industry you operate in, these trends could be extremely frequent meaning you should regularly review your marketing and business model and adjust it accordingly.
6. Do some maintenance
If business is slow, make the most of this time and carry out any necessary maintenance on your business.
This could be anything from making changes to your website or implementing a new layout to your store.
Notice that I said it should be necessary. It’s important to only do maintenance that is essential, that you have budgeted for or that will help you attract more clients. You don't want to waste resources when you're facing uncertainty.
7. Market your business
Without marketing your business, your target audience won’t discover or remember you. This is why it’s important to continue, if not INCREASE, your marketing activities.
Look for new opportunities to reach your clients and make the most of your existing audience.
If we use my current lockdown situation as an example, I know that my audience is most likely working from home and spending more time online. Adapting to this change I can increase my online marketing strategies to target their new routine.
8. Increase lead generation
Sometimes it’s not enough to just market your business and wait for your audience to come to you, you need to take your business to your target audience.
If your business is quiet, increase your lead generation to give increase the possibility of converting them into customers.
9. Work on your personal brand
Aside from marketing your business, you can use this extra time to work on your personal brand.
People do business with other people so it’s important to humanize your brand. You can position yourself as an expert in your industry by sharing market insights, or simply share your story to help your audience connect with you on a more personal level.
Whatever your approach, working your personal brand will only help to strengthen your business.
10. Provide value
Give your target audience a reason to repeatedly engage with your business by providing value.
The best way to attract clients and convert them into customers is by over-delivering valuable content that does one of the following four purposes:
You should try to incorporate a balanced mix of content that satisfies these purposes to encourage interaction between your business and your target audience.
11. Catch up on your admin
Let’s face it, doing admin is boring.
It’s probably the least glamorous and fun part of being a business owner, but essential for it to run smoothly.
Use this quiet time to get your accounts up to date, clearing your inbox or anything else that is on your to-do list.
12. Analyze your systems and processes
The first step to understanding a problem is to understand it. For your business, this means taking a close look at your systems and process to see where improvements can be made.
Analyse your lead generate and conversion metrics to see if you identify a reason why business has gone quiet. Is it a problem with a particular product or range? Do you fail to convert clients at a certain stage?
You could also look into automating in processes in this period so that your business runs more efficiently when you’re busy.
13. Work on your work culture
This is one for all of you business owners who employ staff.
When we’re busy, it’s easy to neglect your work culture but it couldn’t be more important than in times of uncertainty. Having a happy, motivated workforce makes a huge difference to productivity, so use any extra time you have to inspire your staff to reach their full potential.
14. Prioritize personal development
When you’re a business owner, you have to take responsibility for your own personal development. However, It can be hard to find the time when you're busy with actually running your business!
Take advantage of things being quieter and upgrade your industry skills. You could do a course on new techniques or learn an entirely new skill.
15. Develop a new offering
If the reason why you’re quiet is that you’re not serving your target audience, use any quiet time to develop a new offering.
Apply your knowledge of your industry, audience and competitors to create a product or service that addresses your ideal customer’s pain points.
16. Do some networking
One of the best ways to spend your time with business is quiet is by networking.
Depending on the type of your industry, this might be through local events or even in online communities like The Société. 😉
Once you’ve made some connections, think about collaborating on bigger projects.
17. Volunteer your services
If your business has slowed down but you want to enhance your portfolio, think about volunteering or doing some pro bono work.
Although you won’t get any financial benefit, you’ll be able to network, showcase your skills and help others at the same time. Who knows where it could lead?!
18. Ask for help
If you’re struggling with a certain aspect of your business and it's preventing you from attracting your ideal audience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Whether it’s other business owners or you hire an expert coach, asking for help will help you find a solution to the problem you’re facing.
19. Relax and avoid burnout
As a freelancer, I know how easy it can be to work on your business as much as possible. After all, it’s down to you to make your business a success. However, you won’t be able to attract any clients if you’ve burnt yourself out and are exhausted.
Use this time to look after yourself and relax so that your energy is sustainable.
20. Don’t give up
My last piece of advice might be more of not what to do when business is quiet.
If your business is slow, it’s easy to feel defeated and adopt a negative mindset. I know firsthand that it is frustrating when you feel like you aren’t seeing any results, despite your best efforts.
However, every business owner and freelancer will tell you that some periods are busier than others. Adapt your strategy and implement changes, but don’t give up on your dream.
I hope this post has helped you to decide what to do when business is quiet and navigate uncertainty.
Which of these tips are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments below!
Jessica Riley is a Virtual Marketing & Blog Assistant from Manchester, UK.
With an M.Sc. in Marketing, she helps bloggers and small business create click-worthy content through a wide range of services including content planning, blog post writing and, social media management and engagement.
She also writes a Travel & Lifestyle Blog called The Crown Wings and has worked with leading brands such as St. Tropez and Icelolly.com.