Whether it’s clients retiring or going out of business, or even a nationwide economic downturn, what can you do to stay motivated when the phone isn’t ringing, and no new business is coming in?
There are two ways to look at this: One is to relax and enjoy your time off because you may not have the opportunity anytime soon; the other is to capitalize on your free time and do all the things you can’t normally get to when business is booming.
Tackle long-neglected tasks
If you decide to use the time productively, you might want to tackle all the mundane tasks you normally set aside, including updating your website, backing up your work to external hard drives, designing fresh business cards, or creating a new pricing structure.
Consider upgrading your computer, your internet provider, your modem and router, or purchasing a new smartphone or tablet to allow you to work more efficiently. Study new apps that can streamline workflow and track your time wisely. Look at new technology that can make your work life easier, more productive, and more organized.
Boost your networking efforts
Another way to ward off future slowdowns is to double your networking efforts. Publish a blog that includes advice to new people in your industry. Reconnect with past customers you enjoyed working with. Attend a conference or join a professional organization to meet new people in your field.
Another way to extend your networking is to ask advice from colleagues. Do they have hints for building your business? Do they have new ways to hunt prospective business that might also work for you?
If you aren’t already doing so, join a professional organization in your industry and become active as a volunteer. It’s sure to bring more business your way.
Look for work in your own backyard
Inquire with existing clients if there are additional projects you could do for them. Consider checking in with dormant clients to say hello and remind them of your services. Update your e-mailing list to include new prospects and clients.
Cultivate existing clients
It’s easy to take clients for granted, or to acknowledge them once a year at the holidays. Instead, why not sent them small gifts or hand-written notes of thanks for their loyalty? You might also want to develop a small promotional gift that highlights your business and send it to past, current, and inactive clients as well as potential clients.
Once you are certain that your clients are happy with your work and plan to continue with you, ask them for referrals, and get testimonial statements from them to add to your marketing materials.
Beef up your marketing materials
A business slowdown is the perfect time to concentrate on promotional strategies and tactics. Update your LinkedIn profile, begin publishing high-level content on your LinkedIn page that positions you as a thought leader in your industry. Develop a blog about your industry. Send regular e-newsletters to clients and prospects.
Re-educate yourself and stay current in your field
Since you have a little more time on your hands, use it to read the new books published in your field. Stay current by catching up on industry publications and periodicals. Learn new skills through LinkedIn classes, professional webinars, and business podcasts.
There is no time like the present to do all the things you put off when business is busy. By implementing these tasks, your work promises to be as busy as you want it to be – sooner than you think.