School’s out for the summer and for many small business owners, freelancers and self-employed people, this part of the year can be particularly challenging.
It’s no secret that in the small business and freelance community, work tends to slow down this time of year as employees go on holiday or work irregularly due to childcare commitments.
If it’s your first year in business or you’ve yet to experience a summer slump, the eerie quietness sometimes experienced during this period can be panic-inducing.
But instead of stressing out and assuming the worst, there are plenty of productive things you can do in order strengthen your business ready for when normal service resumes in September.
Tackle that admin
When times are busy, it’s easy to put-off certain jobs that don’t bring in the money but are vital to the smooth running of the business. We’re thinking any tax-related duties, business strategies and contract changes. They may not be the most exciting activities to get stuck into, but if there was ever a better time to get on top of those tasks, it’s now.
Update your website
For most businesses, a company website is the most valuable asset in terms of online promotion.
A business website needs updating every now and then to give you and your business the best possible chance of users finding you based on relevant searches and to ensure that once they reach your site, they can find the information they need. Whether you’re updating the style, layout or content of your website, taking time to make sure that your website is up to speed with the rest of your business will help provide a better user experience for clients and customers and perhaps encourage more work to come your way.
Similarly, updating other online promotion tools like Facebook pages, Google Business listings, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts in line with your website updates is time well spent.
Get ahead with marketing activities
Blog writing may sometimes seem like a tedious task, but keeping your website fresh with relevant and interesting content can improve your visibility and draw new clients and customers in. So why not take this free time to get ahead by drafting up a whole load of blogs which you can then schedule to be posted during busier times?
Email existing customers
If you are getting really concerned about the lack of work, you could consider catching up with old and existing clients to remind them you’re there if they need anything. One subtle way to do this is to politely ask them if they could provide a testimonial for your website or if they’d be willing to review your services online. This will help restart the conversation with your client and, if nothing else, may result in a testimonial or review of your business that you can use to further promote yourself to new clients.
Go on holiday
As a business owner, taking a proper holiday might fill you with dread – but with fewer client commitments, this may well be the perfect opportunity to get away and recharge your batteries. If you’re nervous about missing out on important business calls/communications, you could look into using a virtual secretarial service to take some of this stress away. This is a handy feature of most virtual office packages for use all-year round but proves especially useful when you’re on holiday – easily screen calls, ask the trained receptionist to inform the caller that you will be in touch on your return or get them to forward the call, depending on its importance to you.
As we mentioned in a recent blog about ‘taking a holiday when you’re self-employed’, allowing yourself to take a break will benefit you, your business and your clients in the long run – so, give it some good consideration as a way of using this time effectively.
A different perspective on the summer slump
Try to look at the summer slump with a different perspective. Work may be quieter than usual on the client-side of things but now you have the time and the space to do the jobs from within your business that you’ve been putting off: tackling a mountain of admin, reflecting on your strategy and achievements, reaching out to clients, getting ahead with your marketing and even taking a well-earned break.
And when you think about it like that, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be such a slow summer after all.