8 steps to take when business is slow
Running a business is not a linear journey. You will naturally experience busier times than others but identifying and acting on changes quickly will support the longevity of your new venture.
Have you noticed that your revenue has unexpectedly dropped? Your website visitor numbers have tanked, or maybe it’s something longer term, where you’ve seen several negative months and are now beginning to worry. What do you do?
We’ve gathered 8 steps to follow should you find yourself in this, or a similar, position.
Review your current business plans to ensure they’re up to date in the marketplace that you’re in. Conduct any relevant market research if you’re not sure, looking at how trends have changed since you last reviewed your top-level documents.
Does your review identify any problems? Alternatively, this process could identify new avenues for market penetration or product development, which you can follow up on to boost your revenue.
Review your marketing
Take a look at your tactical marketing. What has worked well and what has fallen flat? Check the optimal times to be sharing content, on social media for example or by email. Analyse your Google Analytics to check whether there’s anything that could be improved or that’s changed.
Use your learnings to improve your plans going forward and be sure to sell to your audience in a way they’ll warmly respond to – not every persona reacts well to being sold to.
Networking is much more than turning up to an event. Delve into your contacts – are there areas you can enhance or grow? Follow up on previous communications, ask your connections for support and offer your own where you can. We explore this in greater detail in this blog on how to build and strengthen your network, which is well-worth looking at if you need support in this area.
Utilising quiet time to conduct stock analysis, update your processes or do all those little tasks that have been on your to-do list can not only release revenue hidden away on a shelf, but can improve your productivity, saving you time and money on inefficient processes.
Use the time to better your own or your employees’ skills, by learning areas that enhance or grow your knowledge. This could be certification in something you’re already experienced in to support your reputation, or a brand-new skill which would help you save money. Alternatively, it could allow you to offer a new product or service, further boosting your revenue.
Cultivate your CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility isn’t a new concept but may be something you haven’t considered or had time for previously. However, in a global marketplace where the effect you have on the wider world is becoming more important when making a purchase, developing your purpose and incorporating some charity or community work into your business will be rewarding both on a personal and business level. Choose a cause you’re passionate about, or that fits well with what you’re trying to achieve as a business to demonstrate you’re not just ticking a box.
Whether the downtime you’re experiencing is a one-off, seasonal, or part of your ever-evolving business plan, budgeting for long-term ups and downs will help to protect your business from failing, of which 60% of new businesses do within the first three years.
Keep on top of your cash flow, or hire an accountant to do it for you, and build strong relations with your clients where they pay their bills on time. Have enough in the bank to tide you over for any predicted quiet times and educate yourself on what financial support is available.
Take a break
Something often at the bottom of entrepreneurs’ to-do lists, taking a break when things are quiet can be THE most important thing you can do to make your business a success. Burnout can leave you feeling low on energy, cause a creative blank or make you dread doing any work (more of which we explore here), none of which are good for business. While doing nothing may seem counter-productive, the break will leave you refreshed and revitalised to tackle any challenges once you return.