It can be disconcerting when business goes quiet. This is especially noticeable if you have had a busy lead up to the festive period.
Businesses that rely on city office trade, or retail that mainly utilises an online sales model may be particularly vulnerable. Office workers are taking annual leave and shoppers with time off may head into physical stores or put spending on hold until after Christmas consumer debt is cleared.
What to do?
1. Utilise Data
Data collection is important all year round. If you’ve been in business for longer than 12 months then your business data may have indicated that this lull was coming. It’s much easier to respond when it’s predictable. Being able to monitor spending patterns helps you allocate staff and resources to minimise waste and maximise opportunities.
2. Mindset – Look After Yourself
Accepting it’s just temporary can bring a calm mind that can more clearly see opportunity. Find ways to quiet your buzzing brain.
- Exercise regularly and foster kindness to yourself.
- Read more books – stories provide an escape, or they can educate.
- It can help with anxiety to exercise regularly and to focus on other’s stories.
3. Rewrite your ‘To Do’ List
Things you’ve been putting off until ‘some time’ when you ‘have time’ – well, that time is now! If things have been on your list for a while then first decide if they really need to be done any more.
There’s a reason you haven’t prioritised getting them done. Once you have a refreshed list then break it down into actionable steps. Get it done!
4. Set Fresh Goals
Take a couple of hours to map out your business goals for the new year. You could do this on your own, or engage a coach, co-worker or partner to help you. Written goals are more likely to be achieved. They get into your subconscious and activities, actions and people you need to achieve your goals will start to be clear to you.
Think about how your business runs day to day now:
- What frustrates you?
- What frustrates your customers?
- What would you change if money was no object?
- What strengths do you bring to the business?
- What jobs or business tasks would you ideally outsource?
- What are your financial or growth goals for the business?
Now write a story for yourself titled “By This Time Next Year” and incorporate your answers from the list. It’s a vision of how you want your business experience to be going forward.
5. Clean up and Clean Out
Take stock of stock, consider any changes to layout, business processes or a website or brand refresh. All these things are easier to do while it’s quiet.
6. Touch Base With Contacts
Send personal ‘New Year Greetings’ via sms, email or phone calls. Touch base with customers, suppliers or people you think you could collaborate with. The New Year is a great time to set the tone for your business relationships for the rest of the year.
7. Refresh Social For Auto-Posts
Come up with a list of ideas for fresh posts, create images in Canva or similar, or take photographs of stock. Then you’ll have it ready to auto-post in those busier times.
8. Ask Your Staff What They Think
All year you’ve probably struggled to find time to listen. But the people in your business can provide ideas and perspective you may not have thought of.
- Engage with them openly.
- Ask them what they’d change if they owned the company
- Really listen to what they have to say.
- Keep an open-mind and don’t take their feedback as personal criticism.
- You don’t have to action every suggestion, let them know that suggestions could be combined, altered or saved for later consideration.
- Thank them for giving you their opinion and suggestions.
It’s very easy to be so close to your business that you can’t see changes or innovations that could tap into a new market or improve the customer experience to deliver significant growth.
The people who work with you and your customers every day can give you valuable insights. Your team will also appreciate being asked what they think – especially if they can see their suggestions being actioned.
9. Can you become more innovative?
Review the list of goals you’ve come up with then consider if the outcome you want can be achieved with an alternative action.
- Where can you collaborate?
- Can you hire a contractor or engage a specialist short-term?
- Can you sell your product or service via an existing or different platform?
- Can you apply for a grant or attend a community or business event?
- Have an idea-storming day with another self-employed friend, you could inspire each other with fresh ideas for each other’s businesses.
10. Get excited about your business again
Enjoy taking time out. Creativity comes to most of us when we’re away from our daily routines.
- Visit your competitors and complementary businesses.
- Visit businesses that are entirely different to your own, but with similar elements.
- If you own a vegan café then go and visit a bookstore café, if you work in coffee go check out a boutique brewery.
- If you usually work from your business, then set up at a different location or co-working space for the day.
Mixing up your daily routines will provide inspiration to act. Use the lull for good and come back fresh, strong and ready to achieve even more!