10 Things To Do When Business Slows Down Over the Holidays

Posted by on Dec 11 2015

I’m sure you’ve seen it happen every year: your business slows down during predictable times, like the summertime months or the holiday period at the end of the year.

For the self-employed who rely upon steady cash flow, this can be a disconcerting time. Should you just take a time off until things naturally pick up again? Or should you try to find the needle-in-the-haystack business that might be out there during slow times?

This year, vow to be different! Instead of languishing in no-business-never-land, get off your butt and do something to build the foundation of your business so that natural business cycles don’t affect you too deeply:

  1. Clean your office. Go through all the piles of papers and magazines that have been sitting around and get rid of them once and for all. Remember the office organizing mantra: do it, ditch it or delegate it. File all your papers, dust and vacuum your office. Reorganize your desk and your office so that you can find everything you need in 60 seconds or less.
  2. Take a mini-break from work. Walk away from your office and enjoy a day or two of renewal and relaxation. Go to a day spa. Take a weekend retreat. Go for a walk in the local park. Breathe.
  3. Get ready for tax season. If your business slows down during December, no worries! Use that time to prepare your tax files so that you can whiz through tax season (it’s coming sooner than you expect!). Tally business-related mileage for year. Estimate your last tax payment for the current year (many self-employed people make quarterly estimated tax payments; the final payment is usually due on January 15). Send your final invoices for the current year.
  4. Send business holiday cards and gifts. If the slow time falls around the holidays, use them to your advantage. Get into the holiday spirit with your clients by mailing holiday cards and gifts to them. Make specially-discounted holiday offers to clients/customers. Offer them gift certificates that they can give to their family and friends for your services and products.
  5. Do your accounting and bookkeeping. Enter all revenue and expenses into your recordkeeping system. Balance your checkbook. Set your budget and revenue goals for next year.
  6. Become goal-oriented. Take this down-time to look at your current goals, to see how you’re doing so far and to write some new goals for the next 12 months. Create an updated marketing plan and budget. Make sure your budget includes a cash reserve to cover you during slow business times. Even if this business slow time falls mid-year, you can still spend time planning for the next 12-24 months.
  7. Go back to school. List the topics you’d like to study, the classes you’d like to take, or the books you’d like to read, to keep you up-to-date with your industry and business skills. Use your quiet business times to read, study and add to your intelligence pool.
  8. Get some personal chores done. Slow business times are ideal to schedule your annual dental and eye exams. It’s also a great time to clean out the attic, garage or basement. Remember, a strong personal foundation helps to propel your business forward.
  9. Go shopping. No, not for personal items (though that’s always fun!), but for business items. Have you been putting off buying a new PC, laptop or tablet? Now’s the time to research what’s out there and determine your next computer purchase. Is your office chair uncomfortable? Spend some time at office furniture stores “butt-testing” for a quality office chair that will support you properly. Stock up your office supplies. Buy some music to play in your office to inspire you. Invest in that software system you’ve been eyeing.
  10. Spend time with family and friends. When business is busy, it’s easy to sequester yourself away to get all that work done. Now that business is slow, come out of your cocoon and visit with family and friends. They’ve been wondering where you’ve disappeared to!

As you can see, slow business times can be used productively to prepare you for the next burst of business coming your way. Renew your business, your office, your Self, and create a firm foundation for the busy business days ahead! Always ask yourself, “How can I use these days wisely?”

Will you be doing anything for your business during the holidays? I’m looking forward to the “quiet” week between Christmas and New Years Day, when I’ll be working on a new class design. 🙂

 

More from the blog:

   

15 comments for now

15 Responses to “10 Things To Do When Business Slows Down Over the Holidays”

  1. CarolineNo Gravatar

    Great list! I usually get depressed when I don’t get sales inquires later in December and have been wondering how to use my time to benefit my business instead of feeling sorry for myself. Thanks. 🙂

    01 Dec 2012 at 11:32 am

  2. PacawNo Gravatar

    I will write all my January blog posts in December. That way I can be ahead of myself and start the new year fresh.

    01 Dec 2012 at 11:38 am

  3. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    I think I’d better add “clean my office” to my December list. LOL! (I wonder what’s in that pile over there???)

    01 Dec 2012 at 11:44 am

  4. LarryNo Gravatar

    This time of year always is a dull business time for me. My clients are all on vacation. Thank you, Karyn, for some good ideas about how to use the next two weeks.

    Larry

    19 Dec 2012 at 11:56 am

  5. Susan Klein, MCCNo Gravatar

    I’m doing all of the above. Plus, I’m going to be working on my website- to freshen it up and make it more current. I LOVE this time.
    I’m also seeing friends and family.

    19 Dec 2012 at 12:17 pm

  6. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    I love the idea of taking this time to freshen up your website, Susan. I have several pages on mine that need some small tweaks and this is a good time to get that done. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

    19 Dec 2012 at 12:35 pm

  7. RachaelNo Gravatar

    Well, I am having a grand ole time! I just got a new website template – I work only with women so it is much more feminine (and pink) lol – I love it. Got a new email signature which is updated with new certifications. Planning a few new programs that I hope will take hold for the long term and designing email newsletters. Did a few decorative tweaks for the office too. So really looking forward to taking care of me as I suspect there is a bit of compassion fatigue.

    19 Dec 2012 at 10:19 pm

  8. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Wow, Rachael, you are keeping yourself busy! Good for you! 🙂

    20 Dec 2012 at 9:21 am

  9. […] I am a firm advocate of creating your own economy.  If you know you have slower seasons, they are a great time to get caught up (here are ten things you can do brought to you by my colleague Karyn Greenstreet). […]

    20 Dec 2012 at 11:55 am

  10. Sherri GarrityNo Gravatar

    Hi Karyn – I learned a long time ago to have faith that yes, the phone will ring. They are great times to get caught up. And if you know they are coming because you track your sales and practice thinking strategicially, they are also great opportunities to generate new revenue you just haven’t explored yet. I encourage my business clients to look at these slow times as untapped opportunities. Thanks for the tips!

    20 Dec 2012 at 12:01 pm

  11. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Yes, the phone WILL ring, Sherri. I just signed up a new client who is starting with me the day after Christmas. But I’m still scheduling time to clean my office next week…it’s the only predicatable slow time I have all year. 🙂

    P.S. Thanks for the mention in your blog!!

    http://sherrigarrity.com/five-ways-to-create-your-own-economy-and-get-off-the-cash-flow-rollercoaster-in-slow-seasons/

    20 Dec 2012 at 12:21 pm

  12. Coach EstelleNo Gravatar

    Hi Karen – great tips – I’ll be doing several of these – reorganizing my office, setting goals for 2013, home study course on marketing my business for 2013, spending time with family and friends.

    25 Dec 2012 at 1:14 pm

  13. Mary KaplanNo Gravatar

    December is typically a slower time of year for our business too, so this year, we got really busy updating our procedures. We also revamped our filing system and got all the files set up and ready to go for the new year. Then we looked at the year just ending and fixed those files to match the new system. Getting organized and documenting important procedures has gotten us off to a great start in 2013. Happy new year!

    21 Jan 2013 at 7:54 pm

  14. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    That’s an excellent use of time, Mary! We try to keep our procedures documented “on the fly,” but often it doesn’t get done in a timely manner. Best to set aside time to work on it as a project, eh? 🙂

    21 Jan 2013 at 8:08 pm

  15. Kurt GraverNo Gravatar

    I usually recommend to my clients, and this is something I do myself, to use the holidays as a time to reflect on last year’s performance and to build a strategic plan for next year.

    27 Dec 2015 at 3:41 am



Category: Business Strategy & Planning
Tags: