“…lulls in business are an opportunity to improve the way you operate, and to improve yourself.”
The last thing you want is to lose momentum during those times where the orders are not rolling in. Not only is it important to stay optimistic, especially for new companies, but your business also has to remain productive. The natural reaction when business slows will be to become worried and stressed, but there are some things you can focus on during these periods that will help you stay on point.
Train in the Off-Season
Pat Riley, former head coach of three NBA teams, said that “excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” You have to keep a positive attitude when business is slow, and one of the best ways to do this is to train and educate yourself, to improve the way you do business. Instead of allowing yourself to get depressed, you can read the latest articles (which are being published constantly, as business grows and changes on a perpetual basis), study to gain a deeper knowledge of your product or service, or even take a course related to your field and become even more of an expert. After all, the more you train, the better prepared you will be to handle future obstacles.
Look at Your Data
So the pace is relenting and orders are not as frequent; even your cat is looking at you with judgment in his eyes. Take heart–your business is not failing. A good way to turn it around, however, is to look at your data for prior months and find the trends. Get on Google Analytics (which you should already be using) and look at weak periods, as well as strong periods. Consider carefully what may be the motivation behind these weak and strong portions of time, and adapt your approach accordingly. Was there a holiday that affected the frequency of orders? Are there certain demographics that you were not reaching? Did you drop the ball on advertising? Looking at real-world data is crucial to discovering how to improve.
Panic-Spending on the Marketing Budget
Even if you decide that one of the reasons for decreased business may be attributed to a lack in advertising, avoid the impulse to pour tons of money into marketing. Chances are, there were various other contributing factors that caused business to slow down during these periods. Though you will have to spend some money to market your business, make sure that you are making informed decisions concerning how to allot funds for this. As mentioned previously, understanding the motivation behind your sales by looking at real-world data will help you to commit the appropriate amount of funds to marketing–not a desperate attempt to bring sales volume back up.
Do Some Further Research
Why did the blind man miss the boat? –because he did not see it coming. A lull in business is the perfect chance to put yourself on par with, and even ahead of the industry. Trade shows are being conducted all the time, and these are a great benefit to small business owners because they gather a variety of entrepreneurs who showcase the latest ideas, technology, and techniques within a business genre. In addition to boning up on the latest trends, glean everything you can from those of your peers who may be ahead of you–this means learning from your competitors. What strategies have they found, that you have missed? Competitors to your business are not a bad thing; in fact, it is actually a very good thing that they exist. For a deeper understanding of why you should not be afraid of competitors, go back and check out our earlier post, Why Competition is Good News for Your Business.
One point that we stress all the time in this blog is that your customer is the only reason that you are in business. Being aware of this fact, why not show some appreciation in your down-time? There are many ways you can show appreciation for your customers, establishing goodwill with them and learning their needs, all in one shot. After you acquire their contact information, you can easily send out a greeting to your customers, thanking them for their business. In the same mailing–snail mail or otherwise–they will receive a short questionnaire asking them if you have met their needs and how to serve them better. You will ascertain valuable information on how to reach your customers, while establishing a personal connection.
This may seem irrelevant and unnecessary, but do not underestimate how important exercise is to your level of productivity through a better general sense of well-being. Number one, a physical activity that you enjoy keeps you occupied and not thinking negatively about your business. Two, it improves mental focus, while reducing anxiety and stress, so that you are better equipped to handle the difficult times that you encounter when running a business. Mind and body are one, and though going to the gym every day will not transform you into a Zen Master, it will certainly help to put you in a better state of mind, not to mention a better physical state.
The idea of all of this is to stay focused on the positive, and to take positive action that actually helps your business. You do not have to just grin and bear it (or freak out while trying to bear it); lulls in business are an opportunity to improve the way you operate, and to improve yourself.
Greetings from the Talkroute Content Team!
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