4 ways to get the most out of downtime in your business
Author: Evolution Design Agency
February 16, 2022
For many, the quiet times in the work year are something to be enjoyed. ‘Tis the season to take extended festive lunches, skive off work a bit early, go for long luxurious coffee breaks and daydream about upcoming holidays. But if it’s your business that has slowed down, it can be much harder to stop and smell the roses. But downtime doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom.
Quieter periods can be totally normal and even come in handy, as they give you precious time to revamp your business. You can choose to see these times as an opportunity to set yourself up for the year. The actions you take while business is slow, could result in long-term improvements that will see your business shooting for the stars!
We’ve compiled some tips to help you reframe your perspective and take full advantage of this time. With some careful planning, you might even start to look forward to the quiet times in your business too!
1. Conduct a thorough review of your business
This is a big one. This is the perfect chance to dig deep and think of creative ways you can do things better this year. Think about where you want to be in a year’s time. Get back to basics, create a vision board, set some goals! You might even rekindle some of the passion you had for your business when you were just starting out.
Review your current marketing strategy. Is your marketing collateral still sending the right message and does it have your most current branding and imagery? Next, consider doing a competitor analysis. What are your competitors doing well? What sets you apart, and how can you capitalise on this? You could also reflect on your business processes, like how you send invoices, answer the phone or post on social media. Could these be streamlined or made more consistent? Are there new technologies out there that could make your life easier?
Remind yourself of your broader goals for your business and keep them front of mind.
- Conduct a business review
- Vision board/goal setting
- Review your marketing strategy
- Evaluate product/service offering
- Complete a competitor analysis
- Trial new processes/technologies
2. Upskill your workforce
Whether it’s a product manual, a TAFE short course or an informative podcast, there are plenty of resources out there to help you or your team upskill. Turn your free time into an investment in your business; the more knowledgeable or qualified you are, the more valuable your products or services become!
You can choose to invest in formal training for you or your staff. There are many short courses that can be completed online, covering universal topics such as leadership, or specific skills for your industry. But it doesn’t have to be a formal course, you can gain knowledge from books, magazines, podcasts, online videos or webinars. Google and Meta have a range of free online courses about marketing and online presence. Share your new knowledge with your team and discuss how new learnings can be implemented.
- Think about where your knowledge gaps/opportunities are
- Research what training resources are available to you
- Schedule the time you will spend upskilling
3. Plan & schedule in advance
Take advantage of this extra time to plan and schedule. Set yourself reminders to follow up with clients at regular intervals. Make a date in your calendar for employee appraisals so they won’t be put off or forgotten. Plan and schedule your social feeds well in advance.
You could also use this time to generate marketing content in advance, before work picks up and you’re busy again. Write a few informational blogs that provide value to your customers or create an email newsletter template. You can have these ready to release or schedule them for regular intervals throughout the year. Create a bank of social content that you can draw on for posts when it’s back to business as usual, or even better, schedule your posts well in advance! This will save you valuable time each day when its back to business as usual.
- Set yourself calendar reminders for important dates & meetings throughout the year
- Create a bank of marketing content
- Schedule marketing activities in advance
4. Spring cleaning
Not to be forgotten is a good old-fashioned spring clean. Clear out your filing cabinets. You don’t need that computer receipt from 1994! Shred your old tax documents that you no longer need to hold onto. Declutter by donating or selling any unused equipment. Your processes will be more efficient in a clean and organised space. While you’re at it, try freshening up the place a bit. Add some nice artwork or bring in some plants and greenery. Make your work environment a place that people enjoy spending time in.
But the spring clean doesn’t stop at your physical space. Now is a great time to get your digital files in order. Scan and digitise any important papers. Tidy up your computer filing system so you can always easily access what you’re looking for. Review on your online security, update weak passwords or invest in a password manager which will generate strong passwords and store them for you.
Your online presence deserves a tidy-up too! When was the last time you updated your website? Refresh the copy, update your images, add new product pages and remove irrelevant ones. Had any great customer testimonials lately? Add them to the website! Check how you’re ranking on Google and work on your SEO. Make sure you’re looking good on all the appropriate social platforms and you’re listed on all the relevant business directory websites.
- Spring clean your workspace
- Organise your digital files
- Update your online security with a password manager
- Refresh your website
- Review your online presence
This isn’t a complete list, there is a never-ending amount of things you could take advantage of this time to do. How many times throughout the year have you wished for more time? So while it may be daunting, try to reframe your perspective and make the most of downtime in your business. These times are inevitable and should be embraced rather than endured. And in time, you may get so many positives out of it that downtime becomes essential to your business and something you look forward to.
Written by: Rosie Lorimer / Inspired by: moyo-studio.com / image credits: Unsplash
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