5 Ways to Grow when Business is Slow
IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP.
It’s October, the last quarter of 2020, and chances are things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for the year. If you’re like us, you might be asking things like, what happened to the summer and when is everything going to get back to normal again? Did you start sleeping in when the client work diminished? Did you stream one too many episodes on Netflix (or 3 or 4 or 27)? Did you crawl under the covers, hoping to hide until this was all over?
Well, it’s time to wake up. We might still be reeling from the effects of a global pandemic, but the time for inaction is over. Regardless of where you are in business, how much income is coming in, or how many active clients you have, there are steps you can take right now to pivot and maximize success as we finish out the year and head into 2021. To get you started, we’ve outlined 5 things you can do right now to:
#1 – STREAMLINE YOUR BACK-END
If you’ve been struggling with inefficient systems or outdated tools, now is the perfect time to tidy up your digital desk and create the workflows and processes your business needs to run smoothly. Start by looking for bottlenecks. What takes you the most time or has you cursing quietly under your breath when you get to that part in your workflow? That is the area you want to improve. Often, we are too busy with client work to take the time to improve how we run our business. By making these changes now we will be ready to increase our number of clients while decreasing our workload when things return to normal.
#2 – AUDIT YOUR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES
There’s nothing like a lull in business to make us question if what we are selling is worth selling. Take this time to take a serious look back at your past sales performance. What are your best-selling products or your most sought-after services? Ask yourself how you can improve them. Do a customer-feedback call-out and ask how you can help them—a great way to create another touch-point with old contacts. If something isn’t selling, take a hard look at why that is. Is it what your customers want? Is it missing a key component that would add the value it needs to be a best-seller? And we’ll say it again, ask your past clients and leads about what they want and how they feel about what you have to offer. So many people are looking for ways to help other businesses these days, even if they don’t have the budget for their services. By asking your past customers what you can do to improve or what products they’d like to see offered you are including them in your success. It also helps to grow relationships (see action item #3).
#3 – GROW RELATIONSHIPS
During this time of mass social distancing, people are craving connection, longing for community, and you can be the one to create it for them. There’s no better time than the present to reach out to past clients and connect with potential new ones. Here are some ideas for ways to connect:
Plan to check-in with others via email or video message. Ask how they are doing and share a bit about your own experience.
Set up an online “Coffee and Connection” for anyone in your circle and invite them to bring along a friend.
Who do you know? Partner with an expert or service business and set up a Zoom gathering for your customers and theirs for a lunch-and-learn style gathering.
Sometimes, just being a connection point for someone else is the thing that pays off the most in the long run. With the opportunity to connect and communicate online, we can reach out and reach new audiences.
#4 – FINE TUNE YOUR MESSAGING
Have you added a blog to your website, yet? Are you posting consistently on social media? Does the copy on your website feel dated, or is it speaking to an old type of customer you no longer wish to attract? Take this time to do a refresh.
Do a brand voice checkup. If you haven’t done the work of developing your brand’s voice and tone to be consistent across all written platforms, now is the perfect time to start. Whether you exist solely on your website or your presence extends to every minute corner of the internet, strong and consistent messaging is key. Take some time to make sure what you are saying speaks to the audience you want to attract.
Compile a hashtag bank for social media. Do you struggle to come up with just the right hashtags to use with your Instagram posts? Take some time and develop a hashtag list you can use for all the different types of content you post weekly.
Get Ready to Publish. Are you relying on overused or out-of-date content on your blog? Write out your next 6 blogs and get them ready to publish.
With ways of reaching potential customers limited, make sure your online presence is top-notch.
#5 – CREATE A BANK OF CONTENT
When we say plan your content, most people think of Social Media, but content also refers to blogs, newsletters, podcasts, and video. Creating on-demand content is exhausting. If you find yourself scrambling for content on a regular basis now is the perfect time to get ahead with a little planning. We always recommend creating content in batches well before you need it. Planning it in advance can save tons of time and headache over the course of a month, but it doesn’t work unless you have done the work up front. If you’ve never done that before, now is the perfect time to start. Try working one month out, or if that’s too daunting, break it down into one-week periods. Plan out what you want to say and show and once you have a plan, create it. Take a day to create 30 different photos for the month or design 12 digital assets that can be re-used over the quarter. If this sounds overwhelming, we’ve created a free resource you can find here with tips and tricks to make your content creation day a success!
Now that you have a few ideas for how to get started, it’s time to do the work. Just pick one to start–and do it! One day, soon enough, the work will return and you want to be ready when it does. No more excuses. What action step will you take today to bring your business into success for 2021? Let us know in the comments below.