Utilising small business downtime

How to make the most of your small business downtime

For most businesses, the lead up to Christmas can be chaotic to say the least. There’s always a drive to cross the Ts and dot the Is before the end of the year and before the holidays begin.

However, unless you are in retail, the Christmas period and immediately after can be slow and many small business owners can start to feel the pinch.

If you are still putting in hours at the office over Christmas and New Year, don’t spend your time getting frustrated by unanswered emails or waiting impatiently for people to return your calls. Business downtime is the perfect time to work on all those things that keep getting put off when you are busy and to start preparing for the next rush.  

Here are some ideas of what you can do when business is slow: 

Learn new tricks – Is there a course, maybe online, that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time? Now you have. 

Don’t stop doing what you’re doing – When business slows down, sometimes the first sacrifice is marketing, but often this is when you should market the most. Update your marketing strategy and materials, and remind people you are still there. 

Dig deep and do some research – Remember that cool app someone told you about that would streamline your social media activities? Or that piece of software that simplifies all your tax? Look into it now, and any other technology that can create efficiencies in your business. 

Show gratitude – Thank your staff and your customers. When things get busy, it’s hard to find the time to show gratitude but if you make the effort, people appreciate it.  

Take a look at yourself – online – Review your online presence critically. Update your website, add fresh content and tend to your social media. Are you putting the right amount of effort into the right places?  

Clean up – Tidy up not just your physical space but also your electronic space. Filing conventions tend to take on a life of their own over time – use your downtime to bring them back into line. 

Revisit your budget – How is your cashflow looking? How can you cut costs or speed up payments? Do you have any big ticket items you need to plan for?    

Trim the fat – How can you create more value for less? Applying “lean” methodology helps to create maximum customer value with minimum waste. How you can improve your processes and other functions to be more efficient? 

Plan – Dust off your business plan and update it. Review the year that was and set some new goals. 

Take a break – If you’ve done all you can do, take some well-deserved time off knowing that your business will be shipshape when you return.

You may also like to check out our article on how to prevent small business burnout?

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