Using Downtime Well
Entrepreneur downtime – the rarity that it is at times – is a tool business owners can use to their benefit. When utilized correctly and efficiently, you will find that it is not only incredibly opportunistic, but that it actually improves your business. Harvest the seeds you’ve faithfully sown all the while, and watch them grow into new and exciting places.
Areas to Review
First, think about the things which have been “on your list” for a while. Start there. If there is something that stands out, tackle it.
If you still have free time, begin reviewing areas like marketing, bookkeeping, product/service development, team development, and sales funnels. Although there are many things within these areas you could take on, here are a few sub-categories to consider:
Organization/Administration (6 items):
- Organize client files – archive old files so your current files are easy to access and not cluttering space; create fresh new labels for any files missing them
- File paperwork that’s been stacking up
- Implement a process for your busy season so you are prepared for the future. Reflect on any busy seasons you’ve had. What did you do right? What do you do wrong? What could have been improved? Take time to create a checklist of what steps you can walk through next time that will help you streamline, stay efficient, and rock the next busy season.
- Organize your desktop, physical and virtual
- Establish, review, and/or improve your process documentation
- Upgrade any software that needs an update
Marketing & Promotion Opportunities (6 items):
- Refresh your website and social media profiles – remember that your online presence is often someone’s first impression of your business (If you didn’t see our February blog about this topic, we invite you to take a peek)
- Review your website page-by-page for errors or updates, including links, photos, grammar, team members, services, contact information, etc
- Strengthen your email marketing campaigns
- Send a request to your clients asking them to submit a review about your services, products, or business in general on Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, etc
- Update your website to include new reviews you’ve received since you last updated
- Review your website analytics
Improving Your Skillset/Planning/Research (6 items):
- Take time to read a business-building book
- If you don’t have one, create a style or brand guide for your business
- Teach yourself a new skill; do research on the most important skills to remain relevant and fresh in your industry
- Plan a new marketing campaign
- Do competitive research to see what other people in your industry are doing, offering, how they are marketing, etc
- Take a class; continuing education in your field plays an important role in staying current in your industry
Networking (4 items):
- Schedule 5 calls with strategic partners, clients, team members, referral partners, service providers, or networking associates to catch-up, strengthen relationships, see what’s new for them, or to offer help/support, etc
- Join communities in your niche – actively engage in discussion
- Reach out to 5 new people on Linkedin who may be good strategic or referral partners
- Send a greeting or thank you card to clients, prospects, or team members
Financial + Other (4 items):
- Review your P&L (profit and loss) reports to see where you have been spending money, and if your numbers look right
- Review your current annual business plan to analyze if you’re on track
- Visit your laundry list – Is there anything you’ve been putting off that needs attention?
- Perhaps after considering all this, you may just need to take a break. Plan a vacation or some intentional getaway time. Allowing your mind and body to reset is always a wise move.
Whatever time you have, use it
Sure, downtime activities aren’t always glamorous, and there are innumerable ways to help your business at any given time. Begin by taking pause, analyzing your business from the inside out, noting where you’d like to make changes, and then implement them as soon as possible. The bottom line is to take advantage of entrepreneur downtime whenever and wherever possible. It’s a weapon.