What To Do When Business is Slow

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Even if you’re not amidst a global pandemic, most businesses will have ebbs and flows in sales. 

And when it happens, you can react in a few ways. You can spiral into a panic, or wallow with a Netflix binge. But if you believe that your customers will find value in what you’re selling, then let’s talk about how you can maintain momentum in a quieter season in your business.

The action you take right now might just lead to an even more profitable future than you imagine, so it's time to get to work. 

1. Review your marketing strategy

In busy times, marketing can take a back seat. We tend to stick with the same old strategies, let our websites get outdated or our ads run on autopilot even though they might not be as effective as they could be.

But a slow period is a great opportunity to review your approach. Look at the data you've collected. What does it cost you to acquire a new customer? How much time and money do you spend on marketing? Which strategies are most effective? Instead of relying on assumptions about what has ‘always worked’, look at your approach with a critical eye, and consider new ways you could reach and connect with your audience.

Simple tweaks in your marketing strategy or updates to your marketing collateral can help you to reach new people, convert more browsers into buyers and stretch your budget further.

Even if you're not actively selling right now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't show up. Work out how you can best support and serve your audience. Focus on building your community and growing your email list by dishing up your best tips, advice, stories, ideas and entertainment.

2. Survey your community

I think that regularly surveying your audience is the best way to continually ensure that your offerings are relevant and helpful. It offers incredible insight into where people are struggling, what they hope for and how you should be directing your efforts.

Monitoring consumer sentiment in the market is essential for predicting how your audience might react to your content, offers and advertising. If you’ve been wondering whether the timing is right for a new campaign or launch, polling your audience could help you make your decision. 

Check out this post on how to set up a customer survey or use social media to set up a simple poll or Q&A.

3. Change up or create a new offer

If you’ve hit a sales slump, it could be time to change up your offer or create something new. What’s missing from the world? What do your customer’s need? How could you forge a new way of doing things? 

Maybe you’ve had an idea brewing for a while that you haven’t had a chance to action. Use your customer data to understand what people need, and then create an offer to match. 

How you do this will depend on what you sell and what your customers are looking for. It could mean finding ways to add additional value, offering a discount or payment option, changing your processes, or finding new distribution methods.

Just remember, if you are changing your offer, always try to find a balance between what your customers want and what is profitable and viable for your business.

4. Elevate your branding

If you’ve been meaning to update your visuals for a while, then it could be the perfect time to create a fresh new look and feel for your business. 

Your new visuals can help you to clearly communicate who you are and what you stand for, connect with the right audience and build trust, so definitely are worthy of an upgrade if they’re dated or inconsistent.  

Whether you decide to work with a pro or DIY, don’t forget to get clear on your brand positioning (how you want to be perceived) first as this will guide your branding process. Our Invaluable Brand Strategy Guide & Workbook can help you get started if you need a helping hand. 

5. Skill up

What skills do you need to take your business to the next level or navigate this season in your business? Do you need to learn to master instagram, email marketing or live video? Would it be helpful for you to level up your negotiation or leadership skills? Or maybe you need to learn to manage your time better?

There are so many courses, books and videos that can help you to learn something new, so choose areas of personal or professional development to master during this period and get to work!

6. Batch future work or content

A quieter time can allow you to get a jump on work you’ve scheduled for the future, like events or launches, or you can go to town batching content like instagram posts, blogs, videos and more. Think of ways you can free up time for your future self once things pick up again by doing them now.  

7. Streamline, improve and document your internal processes

Email communication, filing systems, design and marketing, delivery processes and client on-boarding processes— a lot of our day-to-day is spent on administrative tasks.

Upgrading and documenting our internal processes can make us more efficient, our team more consistent and our customers happier. So, it’s the perfect time to review your systems or set up new ones. 

Consider creating templated email responses for common enquiries, review your software stack, speed up the design process with pre-designed templates (like ours!) or enhance your customer experience by creating a more transparent process.

8. Connect and collaborate

Stay connected to your community, friends and peers and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Chat to others in your industry to understand how they’re handling the same situation and look for ways to collaborate with those who share the same audience as you. Teaming up with another brand or just having someone to talk to can help you to stay positive and motivated.

Not sure where to start? Collabosaurus have an excellent platform for teeing up collaborations and are worth checking out no matter how big your business is. 

9. Reflect

Maybe this isn’t the time for big action for you, but for slowing down. Take the time to reflect on your personal and business life. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day without pausing to think about whether you are happy with your workload, business structure, offerings, team or work life balance. Don’t forget that you can choose how all of those things look. It’s ok to change your mind or pivot if that’s the best option for you!  

I hope that this list has given you at least one to-do item for this and any other slow periods in your business. I know that times like this can be stressful and scary, but I also want you to know that you are incredibly resilient, that it’s not permanent and you’re not stuck forever. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and you can take action now to ensure you have a profitable future.

Will you be actioning any of these ideas in your business? If you have any questions about how to implement these strategies, feel free to leave me a comment below. And if you think this article might offer some positivity for someone feeling stuck in their business, please share the link with them too. 

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