There’s no such thing as “downtime” when you run your own business — but that doesn’t mean you’ll always have lots of work from clients.
When business is slow, shift your productivity to work on ways to make your business better.
Slow periods give you the opportunity to connect with your clients in a way that’s just not possible when you’re swamped.
If you play your cards right, you’ll come out of your dry spell with stronger client relationships, more work, and more profit.
Here are 10 ways you can make the most of a slow business day:
10 Tips to Speed up a Slow Business Day
#1 Follow Up With Past Clients
Go through your past projects and drop a few clients a line by phone or email. Ask how the work you did for them is doing, if they have any questions or need any help.
Of course, also let them know that you’re available if they need anything. Chances are, they do need something (or know someone who does). Either way, follow-ups are just good customer service.
#2 Do a Special Periscope Broadcast
If you’re not using Periscope, the live video streaming app, yet, now is the time to check it out. Even if you already use it, you can really put some time into connecting with clients live when business is slow.
Do a question and answer session, demonstrate a new product, or start a new promotion — as long as it’s something new and different.
Be sure to let your clients know it’s coming and share the link on Twitter (a built-in feature of Periscope).
And, of course, make sure to broadcast at a time when your clients are likely to be online anyway, and avoid making it too long.
#3 Have a Contest on Social Media
If your social media platforms feel as dry as your business, perk things up with a fun, interactive contest. Facebook is a great place to hold contests, and they make it easy. Some ideas include:
- A trivia contest that relates to what you do. For example, if you’re in wedding planning, you can do wedding trivia or an etiquette quiz. To maximize participation, post several questions throughout the day with a cutoff time to answer all of them, so people can respond at their convenience. After the cutoff, just tally the correct answers to determine a winner.
- A “Show Us” contest. For example, “show us what you like to do in our custom shoes” or “show us how you use our [specific product].” Ask people to post photos in the comments. You can either select the best photo as the winner or give each person who participates a discount code (or both, if you can swing it).
- A “Like” lottery. Very simple. Ask a question, any question, and ask followers to click like if they agree for a chance to win a prize.
#4 Take Some Pictures
Even if you don’t have a pro-style camera, the camera on your smartphone is probably good enough to take some good pictures that are suitable for social media.
Take pictures of yourself, your staff, your space, and/or your products and share a few, along with some not-too-personal captions that will help our clients get to know you better.
Save a few shots for busier days when you don’t have time to take photos.
#5 Revamp Your Newsletter
If you’ve been using the same template on your newsletter for a while, this is a good time to try something new.
Using a tool like Mailchimp, you can easily design an all-new layout for your newsletter. While you’re at it, come up with a shiny new email promotion to show it off.
#6 Create Something Your Clients Will Value
Making an eBook or guide is a great way to utilize your time when business is slow. Use your expertise and offer advice, instructions, and/or information.
This is our ebook which you can download for free here.
Once you’ve made your finished product (usually in PDF format), you can use it as a lead magnet on your website, give away copies on social media, email them as tokens of appreciation to existing clients, or sell it online.
eBooks don’t have to take a long time to create — if you need help, check out bookbaby.com.
#7 Update Your Business Card
There’s nothing like a brand new business card to put you in the mood to do some networking. If your current cards feel more generic than you’d like, click on over to Jukeboxprint or Moo to design something a bit more dynamic.
Both companies offer eco-friendly recycled paper options and lots of eye-catching designs. Now all you need to do is find some good networking events to show them off.
#8 Create (or update) a Testimonials Page
Whether you already have a page of client testimonials or not, if you find yourself with the time, you should contact a few good clients and ask for honest feedback (and, if possible, a current photo).
Many clients will be happy to send in a testimonial, especially if they have a business that will be put in the attribution.
As an added bonus, requesting a testimonial gives you a reason to contact a client who may fall beyond the follow-up stage and can re-open a dialogue that can lead to more work.
#9 Visit Your Client’s Business
This obviously isn’t going to work for all businesses or clients, but if it’s something you can do, do it. Maybe you helped design a restaurant’s menu or built a display for a boutique — if the client’s business is accessible and open to the public, drop in once in awhile and give them your business if it’s feasible.
If your client herself isn’t there, be sure to leave a handwritten note to let her know you stopped in.
#10 Peruse Your Clients’ Social Media Pages
When you’re busy, keeping up with your social media means focusing on posting content, responding to messages and comments, and, if you can swing it, checking in on industry peers.
It’s a good idea to keep in contact with clients on social media, too, when you have the time. Like a couple of their posts, leave a comment or two, and maybe send them a personal message is you’ve been out of touch.
Whatever you do, don’t let a slow period lull you into laziness. There is always work to do when you’re running a successful small business.
The little things you do to connect with clients when you’re less busy can lead to more projects and bigger success.
What do you do when business is slow? Let us know in the comments!
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