Steering Through: What to Do When Business is Slow
Every business hits a plateau or has a slow time of year but you shouldn’t let it get you down. Instead, focus on what you can do during downtime at work to improve your company and prepare for when business picks up. The following tips will help you come out of a slowdown stronger than ever.
Put out some feelers.
Check in with past customers via email or phone, or reach out to old contacts. When business is slow, sometimes a little reminder of your existence can generate another order or a referral.
Your inbox probably has emails that can be deleted, or you may be on newsletter lists that you can unsubscribe from. Use your downtown at work to create folders to file emails and keep your inbox organized. On the physical side, your office space and entrance might need some housekeeping as well – don’t forget that it serves as a “first handshake” for customers walking in.
Revamp your website.
If you need to update photos or add new links, spend a few hours touching up your website to make sure it best represents your business.
Now is a good time to look at adding products and/or services. Is there something your customers have asked for that you don’t offer? Examine your own role as well and how you can add value to the company – whether that’s through blogging, taking additional courses or getting certified in a useful new skill, or streamlining your processes.
Do your accounting.
It’s never too early to prep for tax season by making sure all files and documents are in one place and organized so that you’re not scrambling come tax time. Figure out information like business-related mileage and expenses, balance your checkbook and enter your info into your recordkeeping system.
Reconfigure your goals.
Look at your current goals and your progress toward them. If you don’t have any goals, then make some! You should have a plan for where you want to be in 12 to 24 months and a way to track it.
Amp up your customer service.
You already provide excellent service and support to your customers, but a slow period might merit an extra push. Do you have any kind of service guarantee? If you don’t, consider implementing one. Do you follow up with every customer? You should, and if you don’t, make that a mandatory end to every service call. Impressing customers can lead to referrals, which will help business pick up.
Step up your marketing game.
Marketing is an investment in your business’s future. Don’t cut your budget or slow down your efforts. A slow period is a great time to garner new business or remind current customers why your product or service is the best option out there.
Don’t close early.
It may be tempting to send your staff home early and lock up for the night if business is slow on a particular day or week, but if a customer calls or tries to walk in during your posted business hours and you’re not there, you just lost a job.
Most importantly, stay positive.
When business is slow, it can be hard to maintain a good attitude, but a self-defeating outlook won’t do you any favors. Remember that the tough times are only temporary and use the above pointers to stay busy and current. You need to help ensure your staff continues to take pride in their work – or else they may go elsewhere – and help potential customers still feel good about choosing your business.
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