What to do when business goes quiet

By Grace Marshall (5 min read)

What do you do in those quieter times? Is it business as usual, do you kick back and relax, or do you take the opportunity to do something else?

Every business has its cycles: busy times when it’s all hands to the pumps, and quieter lulls before (or after) the storm, perhaps when the year ends have come and gone, when all the tax returns are done, or when clients are away on holiday, or too busy covering for their colleagues on holiday.

What do you do in those quieter times? Is it business as usual, do you kick back and relax, or do you take the opportunity to do something else?

Here are four areas to consider:

1. Ramp up

How could your business be more effective? Where could you make more impact? What goals are you pursuing in the next season and what could you put in place now, to help make that happen?

Alison Stothard at AT Bookkeeping says:

“After the end of January I tend to review my business in terms of what is working and what is not working, how I can work more efficiently, what improvements or goals I am going to pursue in the year ahead and any marketing or rebranding that I want to do - the quieter time gives me a chance to step back and look at those things that I don't normally have enough time for.”

Ramp up with:

  • new business development
  • branding campaigns
  • social media presence
  • creating or streamlining products & packages
  • new technology
  • cloud solutions
  • reviewing strategy & vision

2. Catch up

Are there projects that have been on the back burner while you’ve been meeting the more immediate and urgent deadlines? Have your clients put their finance-related projects and problems on the back burner while they’ve been busy? The quiet periods can be a great time to catch up with longer term projects, or to help your clients get a head start, as well as invest in building deeper relationships.

Tax return coach Rosie Slosek finds that she’s quieter in the summer months: “my clients with children want to use the time to spend more of it with their kids, and my clients without children are taking time off or are super busy covering work for their clients whose employees are taking time off.”

She uses the time to give extra focus to her one to one clients, who appreciate the summer as the perfect time to get up to date on “all the money stuff that they've been avoiding - so that they have a clear mind and heart space for September.”

Catch up with

  • clients: connect, build relationship, review service level, scope upcoming work, go the extra mile
  • your own work: backlog, longer term projects, ideas, reading, or even get your inbox to zero!
  • your wider network: potential collaborations, strategic partners, peers and referrals
  • industry developments, regulatory changes, new procedures

3. Skill up

From technical skills, professional development, team development to personal development - how could you invest in yourself and the people you work with?

Louise Partridge at Merryhill Accountancy Services finds that as an outsourced accountancy firm, the summer months are not particularly quiet, but when there is a quiet spell, she uses the opportunity to focus on inward practice development, such as training, or reviewing and creating process guides that help the business to run better and smoother.

Skill up with:

4. Rest up

Your job isn’t just what you do - it’s also about how you show up and who you bring into the room - whether you’re face to face with clients, or at the screen crunching numbers.

The quality of your work is highly dependent on the quality of your thinking - and it pays to make sure you are fully charged - physically, mentally and emotionally.

The quieter times don’t always have to be filled with activity. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is take time out, to rest and recharge, so that you can come back raring to go with new ideas, fresh focus and renewed energy.

One person’s idea of rest can be very different from another’s. From quiet solitude in the middle of nowhere, to racing through a muddy track with a hundred other people. Whatever you enjoy doing so much that it leaves you feeling rested and re-energised - go do that.

What about you? What do you do in the quieter periods in your business? Tell us what you do - or what you would like to do - in the comments below.

Over to you. How have you made use of the quieter times in your business? And which of these ideas are you most inspired to put into action?

Want to ramp up your productivity to new Ninja level, skill up your team to make meetings magic, or catch up with that email backlog and actually get your inbox to zero? Get in touch with Grace (email grace@thinkproductive.co.uk) and ask her about Think Productive’s practical productivity workshops.

Grace Marshall, Sage Business Expert

Grace Marshall is a productivity coach and trainer who is passionate about helping busy businesses make the most of their time and their talent, and the author of Amazon bestseller "21 Ways to Manage the Stuff That Sucks Up Your Time".

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