When you’re just starting your business, it’s easy to want to rush into “making it”, and having 10,000 page views, 7,000 followers, and a 20-hour work week, but it’s really important to enjoy your time as a new business owner.
(To my more seasoned business owners, I promise this information is still relevant and important to you... especially in this "setting goals for next year" time of year. It could be a helpful exercise to put on your "baby business" hat and envision your business as it existed on Day 1.)
The beginning stages of owning a business is so essential to the foundation for the future of your business. It might feel slow at times, but you need to try and enjoy it while it lasts… connect with your business, explore your why, dig deep into who you are, where you are, and where you want to go. Once you start to pick up the pace with clients and projects, you’re going to look back on this season of your business with fondness (and maybe some envy!) I definitely miss having the time to learn when less was asked of me every day.
Whether you’ve recently launched your business or you’ve been a small business owner for years, I'm offering up P-L-E-N-T-Y of suggestions to better your business during your downtime or slower seasons.
If you don’t already have an editorial calendar, you’ll be amazed at how much of a timesaver it is to plan your content in advance. By brainstorming all your ideas ahead of time and strategizing the best times to publish those posts, you’ll won’t waste anymore time wondering what to write. This doesn’t have to be something big and complicated — it can just be a Google Doc or Sheet with your topics on it, the date the content is due, and the date it goes live.
Beyond planning your content, writing your blog posts ahead of time gives you a huge advantage. Not only will you write more productively when you write multiple articles at once (hello, batching!), but you’ll also be so glad to have that content already ready to go when new clients start rolling in and you’re short on time.
Pro Tip: You can dictate into Google docs during your commute and then edit and polish them later!
Getting your social media running on autopilot is another great way to free yourself up for when you get in some new business. For bloggers, CoSchedule is an amazing tool that integrates with Wordpress and Evernote and it allows you to schedule right from your blog posts. Buffer is another favorite for scheduling social media. Personally, I love Schedugram for Instagram.
If you’ve been so lost in execution mode, now is a great opportunity to step back and see the big picture and revisit your goals and your vision. Are you still on track? Do you need to course correct? Are there new goals that have come up? Revisit your why, aka your mission, and make sure your strategy to book clients and sell products still fits into that.
Take advantage of this time to learn something new or expand on your strengths. An investment in your education is always an investment for your business, particularly if it’s something your clients have been demanding. Online courses can certainly be an investment, so make sure you look for one that is niche enough to actually deliver value. There’s far too many broad-based interest courses out there that sound good, but in reality, can’t deliver well because they’re focused on too many topics at once.
Now that you’ve freed up some time in the coming weeks and gotten your business back on track, here are a few ways to attract new leads, get back to (paid client) work, and close shop on your slow season:
A client who loves working with you is usually more than happy to recommend you to someone else. People naturally love to feel “in the know” and like they’ve had a hand in growing your business. Plus, they often have ideal contacts with similar needs. Sometimes all we need to do is ask. And it won’t feel salesy at all, because you have an existing relationship.
This is a great way to stay on your clients’ minds after your work is finished. They’ll appreciate that you’ve taken the time to follow up, and you’ll build rapport. They might be ready to embark on the next phase of the project (and could use your help!) or may recommend you to someone they know.
Social media networking can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to find new clients. In certain groups, there are promotional threads where you can post your collaborations, blog posts, launches, etc. Comment on posts that are relevant to your business with advice and invite the poster to PM you if they need additional help, at which point you can offer your services after an initial consultation.
With all of the noise out there, it’s easy for people to overlook your recent news, promotions, and announcements. Send an email to keep past and potential clients in the loop of any new services or products you may have added in the last quarter. Chances are if they were interested in your services at one point, they’ll be interested in being reminded about your latest offerings.
Make a list of dream clients that you would love to work with. Send out cold emails to introduce yourself and engage with them via social media (real engagement… not “cool pic!”) to try to get your foot in the door.
So many new business owners that I meet (and I’m guilty of it myself!) try to skip the foundational stages of business growth. But, if you’ve found that it’s more slow than it is busy, it may be the perfect time to organize and promote yourself in new ways.
Do you miss those early days in business? How do you rediscover your creativity and passion? Let’s hear about it in the comments!
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