If your business is like mine, then the months leading up to Christmas are slow. For me, it’s a period marked by significant idling and extra attention to those few clients who do come around. I would prefer to say that I take advantage of this free time to enjoy a vacation away from work, but being the workaholic that I am I can’t help but see it as an opportunity to make improvements. Truly, I can’t think of a better time to reinvigorate your business.
Regardless of where you stand on the subject of free time, I think this is a worthwhile subject to at least keep in mind. It stems from a key principle about business and personal development that I’ve learned over the years and have practiced since college. It’s “never stop working even when there’s no work.” Putting this into practice helped me get through those early months as a freelance writer right after college.
Taking advantage of the slow season to make improvements to yourself and your business (in many cases, the two are one and the same, more on that later!) allows you to make the necessary changes to be more competitive. My approach targets two goals: polishing my business and exercising my skills.
Polishing The Business
- Take the time to study the market and any new competitors that showed up in the past year. Look at the spectrum of products and services you’ve sold and highlight movements in your market. Search for additional needs that you can target.
- Use the information you’ve obtained to develop new marketing strategies, sales sheets, and other front-end material. Marketing backed by facts makes your campaign stand out in the crowd.
- If you need to make a bit more to reach your financial goals, consider restructuring your pricing during the slow season to assuage losses. Offer discounts and other incentives to convince your clients to act now instead of later.
- Take the time to reach out to your clients and thank them for their business. This simple act will keep you at the top of their list when the need arises for services or products you offer. Some of my clients have been with me since I started.
Exercising Your Skills
- Although relaxation is essential for your wellbeing, the slow season puts your skills at risk. Don’t allow a slowdown in work to atrophy your skills.
- Take advantage of the free time to engage in side projects and other passions that use your skills in unique ways. This will exercise what you know and allow you to test concepts and discover additional ways to leverage your skills.
- Consider improving your portfolio by engaging in mock projects that showcase the full spectrum of your services. There isn’t much out there that will convince a potential client you are right for the job than for them to browse through your projects and find something that already resembles what they had in mind.
And for those of you that haven’t started a business, what are you waiting for?