By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
Is your business experiencing a summer slowdown? Have clients stopped calling (or even returning your calls) because they’re all on vacation? I know it’s always stressful when business slows down, but try to look on the bright side. Here are seven ways to take advantage of a summer slowdown and use your time productively.
Is your office or workspace overdue for a thorough cleaning? Now’s the time to file the documents that have been piling up, purge those old files and shred what you don’t need. Simplify your life and save space by going digital: Scan important documents, then store them in the cloud and on your computer. Make sure you organize your digital files so you can find them later. Clean out your email inbox and get rid of old emails to save space.
Set up new systems.
What day-to-day processes in your business are slowing you down? Maybe you can never find the email you need when you need it, you’re always behind on accounting, or you struggle to track how much time you spend on each client’s projects. Pinpoint your biggest problems and set up new systems for dealing with them. For example, a time tracking solution that includes a mobile app makes it easy to monitor what you’re doing, when, and for what client, no matter where you are.
Refresh your marketing materials.
The world of marketing is changing rapidly, and your marketing materials might need an update. Start with your website. Is it mobile-friendly? Is it up to date with your latest projects, clients and offerings? Does your SEO need a boost? Cast a careful eye on your brochures, business cards and other print marketing pieces, too. If they look outdated, enlist professional help to get them up to speed.
Learn a new skill that will help your business.
Do you want to learn how to code, start using Snapchat to market your business or become proficient in Photoshop? There are many ways to learn something new, from online courses or trade association seminars to local adult education classes. Dig deep into one topic until you can confidently say you’re a pro; then tout your abilities to the world.
Reach out to current clients and new prospects.
Your customers and prospects may be “off the grid” right now, but come September, they’ll be raring to go with new budgets and projects. Make plans now to connect after Labor Day and discuss how you can help them, and you’ll get the jump on your competitors.
Work your network.
With everyone in a more relaxed mood, now is a good time to reconnect with people in networking groups or social networks whom you haven’t contacted in a while. Meet up in person for or coffee or lunch. Get a group of other freelancers with complementary skills together and brainstorm how you could work together.
Take time off.
Sometimes, downtime is a sign that you need a break. With business slow, you can enjoy afternoons or weekends off. Maybe you can even take a real vacation—or staycation, if travel is beyond your budget right now. Everyone needs breaks to keep functioning at high levels. Recharging your mind and body now will pay big dividends come fall.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.