What odd jobs and tasks do you work on for your business during a slow season to keep busy and prepare for a busy time ahead?
Thank your clients. " I touch base with past and present clients, thanking them for being so fabulous, and for continuing to nurture our professional relationship. My regular clients receive small gifts. This keeps me in the forefront of their minds, and also shows them I'm grateful for the business they've brought to me."
Organize internal company processes. " As your business grows, it is essential to stay organized on the accounting, project management, human resources, and financial fronts. The slow season is a perfect time to sit back and take care of the organization of your company."
Rekindle and build relationships. " I love the slow season because it's a great time to stren gthen a key, but often intangible, aspect of your business -- relationships. I focus on rekindling my social network (existing friends, colleagues, and clients) and I reach out to new individuals I've been meaning to contact. This is such an important part of business that often gets overshadowed by daily business inertia."
Get futuristic. " When your customers and competitors settle down for vacations, you should be gearing up for the new year. Take this time to work on projects which have a longer term. Your short-term priorities will be on hold for the slow season, so focus on long term initiatives while you have the chance."
Strategic planning. " It's a great time to take a 1-2 day retreat with your management team. Discuss the victories from the season that has passed. Identify the biggest opportunities to take advantage of and biggest threats to eliminate in the upcoming season. Help focus and gain alignment on the direction of the company. It is a great time to regroup, refocus, and re-energize your team."
Reorganize and refresh. " When things slow down a bit, it's the perfect time to step back and look at your business and see what needs updating. I'll rewrite a lot of my site copy and redesign my sales materials. These time-consuming projects are hard to complete when I'm very busy, but they still need to get done."
Read old e-mails. " As a partially seasonal product, I usually go back to old emails from up to 3-6 months ago and read the ones with no replies back or successful sales conversion. Then I reach out one more time politely to see if they would like to talk again. Also, I look at the difference between the ones that had a reply with no success versus the successful ones."
Thank your team. " With so much going on during the busy season, its crucial to stop and say thank you to your team of employees, vendors, and clients. A box of chocolates is nice, but a handwritten note with how that person has helped you can help strengthen your relationship with them, as well as help you reflect on how they have positively affected you personally and professionally."
Grow your employees."Great employees do not like to stay where they feel either unappreciated or underutilized. I take stock of all the various projects that may be of interest to them in the coming season, and find ways to get them involved. Their feedback helps me decide new directions for the company, and their participation gives them an opportunity to take the reins while I work on other things."
Blog it out."The slow season is a perfect time to relax and be creative. Feed your mind good stuff by crossing a few books off the list and stack content for your blog by getting some writing done. Make sure you don't publish it over your slower season as web traffic is down; save it and you'll have plenty of articles to start your busier season off."
Research, read and learn."I love to use the slower time to continue reading, researching, and learning everything new that is happening in the social media industry -- especially since the technology changes every day. This ensures I'm prepared for new changes or developments that may affect our next big company release or milestone."
Surveying customers."We do a big annual customer survey and the results are always fascinating. There's no better way to know what your customers want than asking them! This time, we focused the questions on how our brand is seen, which will help us refine our positioning and marketing strategy for the coming season."
TheYoung Entrepreneur Council(YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published#FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.