10th April 2020

How To Use Downtime To Improve Your Business

Times are tough right now and it’s natural to want to hunker down and cut costs where we can. COVID-19 has closed our schools, restaurants, conferences and shops, affecting many businesses, as we protect the health of our population. However, there will come a time when this is all over and businesses will find their feet again, restaurants will re-open, events and trade shows may be rescheduled. When that long-awaited time finally comes around, you want to be ready. So, imagine if you focused this time on ways to improve your business, to take time to do those needle-moving tasks that always end up pushed to the bottom of the priority list and to prepare your business to thrive when we reach the other side of this pandemic. 

Although this post is written during the Coronavirus outbreak of 2020 when many of us are experiencing cancelled events, projects or a temporary freeze in our main sources of revenue, these are things you can work on at any time in your business when experiencing downtime and quieter periods. 

Check-in with your existing clients

Those who have already booked work with you or that you have worked with in the past will always play a key role in bringing you more work whether through formal testimonials or word-of-mouth referrals. Take the time to check in with them. Double down on providing them with the ultimate customer service, offering resources they may need and brainstorming ways you can continue to bring value to them or the products they’ve purchased from you. 


Develop a content strategy

There’s a huge emphasis on community right now and many people will remember the businesses that took the time to help them whether through services or valuable resources. 

Can you use this time to develop a social media strategy that truly speaks to your clients while attracting more ideal clients to work with you in the future? Do you have an email list? While algorithms may control social media engagement and awareness, your email list is entirely yours and allows you to access the inboxes of clients or potential clients directly. Start by crafting a series of introductory emails to new subscribers, incorporate information about why your product or service is important and what sets you apart. Consider developing an opt-in offer or free resource to encourage people to sign up then continue to deliver value to those who subscribe. 

Above all, focus on creating content of value for your customers. 

Connect with ‘busy people’

Perhaps there’s someone you’ve been trying to connect or collaborate with for a while now but have struggled to get in touch with because they’re ‘too busy’. At this moment in time, they may not be. With many businesses on pause and diaries freed up due to cancelled events, now is a good time to reach out to those high profile people. However, the principles of networking and connection remain the same so take time to carefully frame your asks in a way that makes it easy for them to respond. 


Think big picture

Experiencing this downtime in your business may give you the headspace and freedom to think about your plans for expanding your business in the future. Take time to reflect on the things that are going well as well as those that aren’t going as well as you expected. Think about where the company is currently and where you’d like it to be in the future. 

Is there a way you can get creative and adapt your services into a passive income stream or perhaps develop a new income stream for your business? 

Can you offer digital products or create a series of educational courses for your clients? 

While it’s important to work hard, take time to look after yourself and reconnect with what’s important. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that’s happening at the moment but try to focus on the things you can control whether that’s getting creative with how you run your business or simply taking time to slow down, reassess your habits and your lifestyle and reflect on changes you’d like to make in your life going forward.