By Staff Writer
For whatever reason, this pandemic has bought out business owners that despite realising that everyone is in their own boat, but in the same storm they are playing the ‘woah is me game’ instead of getting their heads IN the game and looking at this time as time of reflection, refreshing, rebranding and relaunching.
If there was ever a time to take stock, fix shit that wasn’t working in the first place and put some better plans in place…well my friend NOW is the time.Your future self will thank you for it.
So let’s talk about the times for any entrepreneur when things can slow down. Seasonal trends, wether holiday time for many businesses or obvious lack of demand or opportunity. In some industries, the interests of the customers go elsewhere in the summer or the winter.
Macroeconomics may play cruelly in your industry, or there could be a recession. Maybe there’s been an unusual local or regional event that hurt your business. No matter how high flying your company, eventually it will experience a slowdown.
It can be tough on an entrepreneur. You worry about the health of the business, your employees, bills, your income and obligations.You could get stuck in a funk, but that does no good and can only lead to depression, inaction, and, as a result, even more problems.
Instead, in this article, I’m going to give you a list of 28 things you can do instead of funking around and get your business ready to go. Some are aimed at your business. Some recognise that when things slow, there may be other parts of your life you can attend to.
How should you handle a slowdown? Well hang on to your hats, because here they come…
- Market your business.
It seems obvious, but some people don’t immediately jump into overdrive. Why?
I have no idea why…
If you don’t, try it.
Not only will you eventually get more business coming in, but you can learn a lot about what works and doesn’t in your marketing.Stay visible and keep your finger on the pulse. If you don’t someone else will.
- Personal promotion.
It’s a bit separate from marketing the business.
Work on your personal brand and public recognition. The better known you are, the more opportunities will come your way.
- Rethink your business model and processes.
No company does everything right. When there’s a slack, you have the opportunity for reflection, refinement, and redesign that you probably regularly wish was available.
- Strategic planning.
If things generally run well, look at markets, customers, and other trends. Is your strategy still on target?
Is it even working in the first place?
What bits are, what bits aren’t?
Are there new things you should be considering?
- Ask for help.
Entrepreneurs might find this tough, because you have to admit there’s a basic problem beyond a periodic aberration.
Look to others who know more than you and get solid advice that you can take.
- Take some down time.
Avoid burnout when the opportunity is handed to you. You might even fit in a short vacation….I mean obviously not now…but seriously. Take some YOU time.
A car that runs at 100mph ALL the time will run out of fuel.
And a car that constantly runs at 20mph will have trouble accelerating to full speed any time soon. So find the balance and have some YOU time.
- Take a course.
There are many areas of learning that could help you in your business or that might bring new ideas and knowledge, which is good for creative thinking and innovation.
Check out the number of online classes in any field (many free or inexpensive), or see what’s available in a traditional class if you’re craving some human interaction. Just go and take a look and see what you can learn today.
- Take up a hobby.
Enrich your life by exploring an activity that’s always intrigued you. Golf, knitting, drawing, reading books…you know? All those things you used to pretend to do when you had to write a CV…
- Study another industry.
The longer you work in an industry, the more you risk becoming myopic. Look at what other types of businesses and endeavours do.
How do they solve problem and what might be applicable with a twist to yours? Everything in business has basics and a set of transferable skills.
Why do you think we in the UK have vacuum cleaner manufacturers and Formula 1 engineers designing, developing and making respirators for the NHS?
Shows you that any business can learn something from another industry.
Get involved with business groups.
Stay in touch with colleagues.
Feed and expand your network.
Use online and plan your next 90 days.
Don’t go hiding
- Develop new offerings.
Consider whether there are new products and services your existing customers and markets might appreciate.Ditch the ones that aren’t making you any profit or developing upsetting opportunities.
If your customers want something and you don’t do it right now…
…they will come!
- Do competitive research.
Invest some time in better understanding your most significant competitors.
Are they also having a problem?
If not, what might they be doing differently?
If they are, take stock of their current strengths and weaknesses.
- Strengthen important relationships.
Separate from networking, think about the people who are important to you and consider when’s the last time you paid them proper attention. Use that thing we call the phone…pick it up and speak to people.
- Spend time with family and friends.
This could fit under the last one, but think of it separately so you explicitly consider your personal life, not just the business side.
Find out what’s really going on in their lives and not pass like ships in the night. They are your biggest support network. You need them!
- Indulge in the arts.
What a wonderful way to open horizons in your thinking and perspective!
Read, listen to good music, attend dramatic performances, walk through an art gallery or museum. Sign up to Spotify and listen to stuff you’ve never heard of before. All from the comfort of your own device.
- Learn a skill.
Whether in business or life, you likely can catch yourself thinking, “I wish I knew how to do that.”
Now’s the time to learn.
- Improve your time management.
Things will speed up again and you may find yourself fondly thinking of the extra time you had. Open more of it by using what there is wisely.
So if you use a diary and you block out an hour for social media. Great.
Even better is to do what you need to do today in 50 minutes and write down thoughts and ideas for the following day for the last 10 minutes. It gives you a head start for the following day and will make you more productive.
Same with any research or task. Use the last 10/15 minutes to write down any thoughts or conclusions to give you a head start for the following day.
- Upgrade your office.
Whether its new tech, new furniture, a coat of paint, a thorough cleaning, or general organisation, prepare yourself and become more efficient.
Either that or spend some time dumping the crap on the hard drive to make your machine go faster…or when was the last time you checked out the cost and speed of your service providers?
Could you do better?
- Personnel development.
There’s more in your business than you. Help develop your team members and expand their horizons.Train them so they’re good enough to leave…but brilliant enough that they’ll want to stay.
It’s a little known fact, that if you want to make your business better, just make your team better.
- Survey customers.
What do they actually think, want, and feel outside of your assumptions?
How is your company doing, in regards to them?
Get some harsh but necessary answers. Use platforms like survey monkey and get some answers.
- Survey employees.
Knowing what’s going on with people at your company is every bit as important as knowing what the customers are doing.
Turn out some articles or blog posts. Start a book if you’re so inclined. Nothing cements understanding like the process of explanation.
Sharpen your knowledge by importing it to others, and work on your interpersonal skills at the same time.
You might choose a charitable non-profit or an industry or professional body. Whatever the choice, do some good for someone else.
You really don’t have an excuse now.
Start a good habit.
- Take care of medical issues.
When you have downtime, see if you can move up an annual physical, optional procedure, or necessary visit to the dentist. You’ll enjoy having the time freed up when you might need it more.
- Do your book-keeping and your tax returns.
If you’re behind on record keeping or other paperwork, get it done.
- Start another business.
Not in terms of giving up, but maybe you’ve had a second idea you wanted to explore. Why not own an additional going concern?