If you're in business for long enough, you'll likely run into periods when things are slow. These "forced sabbaticals" can be times of refreshment, renewal and charting a new course for your business.
Take a break.
Event planning is such a fast-paced profession yet there are slow times. Actors also face the challenge of dry spells between bookings. An actor who spoke at a conference recently described this as an oasis.The opportunity to switch gears, rest and replenish your energy can be a blessing in disguise.
Get some fresh air and exercise.
Particularly if you live in a winter climate, the short periods of sunlight at this time of the year, may be sapping your energy. Even taking a walk when it is sunny can help.
Spend more time with family.
Plan activities with children or a visit to aging parents (especially if you don't get to spend as much time with family as you would like when workloads are heavy).
Re-connect with friends.
Pick up the phone. Plan a play day. Visit an art gallery or go to the theater. Or take in a local event; every community has them.
Catch up on your reading.
Take the time you usually don't have to read books and articles related to your profession, as well as relaxing fiction.
Invest time in a hobby or take up a new one.
Hobbies often get set aside when work schedules are hectic. You now have time to focus on them or try something knew that intrigues you.
Take a course or attend a conference.
Whether it's related to event planning, web design or marketing, building your skill set will increase your value and the contributions you can make when business picks up.
Relaxation, professional and personal development often get sacrificed when we're busy. Once you are rested, you'll have the energy to re-focus and generate fresh ideas to improve your business.
Analyze what has been working and identify patterns.
Create a chart listing all clients for the last 3 - 5 years. Create columns for how the business (or repeat business) was acquired, the service(s) you provided and lessons learned. What jumps out at you? You may notice a lot of repeat business from former clients. This may be an important clue to concentrate your business development efforts on reaching out to previous clients. What has been selling? What should be pruned from your offerings?
Re-think lead generation.
An interesting article entitled Email Is Still King of Conversions was shared on LinkedIn Today. A study revealed that the highest conversion rates are from inquiries generated through organic search engine results and email marketing. Social media channels are ideal for re-connecting, building relationships and reinforcing your brand image over the long haul, not for generating quick sales. So concentrate on the strategies that you identified as effective in # 5 and also don't neglect off-line marketing.
Refresh your marketing tools.
Does your website need of a facelift? Do you need new headshots? Do you need to automate your e-list? Do you need to start a blog or, if you neglected your blog when you were busy, do you need to write a reserve of blog posts?
Set up a brainstorming circle or lead club with colleagues.
Every week, give one person time to present business challenges. Brainstorm to come up with business improvement or marketing ideas.
Develop a plan to build marketing reserves and a rainy day fund for the next time business is slow.
Slow periods are an inevitable part of doing business. A contingency fund will free you up to relax and focus on self-improvement without panicking. Marketing reserves will provide the resources to "prime the pump" the next time business slows down.
- "Put the rocks in first" to avoid just getting back on the treadmill and burning yourself out when business picks up...and it will.
Photo Credit: Executive Oasis International