While we know you love the hustle (and we do too), demands wax and wane through different seasons. A number of factors could be in play: businesses launch new marketing campaigns in different quarters, ecommerce and other retail-oriented brands capitalize on holidays, and the summer is a free-for-all in any industry.
Before you get anxious about the possibility of downtime, let us assure you: this is a good thing.
It gives you a chance to catch your breath, revision, reimagine, and recalibrate. Which is a bunch of good verbs, but what do they really mean?
How do you make the most of downtime, using a slow season to effectively strategize and refuel for what’s next?
This article will answer that question with six key areas of focus for downtime.
Have questions well beyond the scope of seasonal business fluctuations? Don’t we all. It’s why The Legal Legacy Lounge™ exists, to give passionate, ambitious, female leaders a place to connect, benefitting from qualified attorneys and business strategists who can put you on a high-growth path. Learn more here.
1. Invest in Infrastructure
When you are in it to win it, every second counts, and you’re grinding away getting stuff done. It’s rare that you can take a moment to work ON the business, which is what the slow season is for.
So, up first: work on your business infrastructure.
Launch an assessment: how is everything working?
Do you feel legally safeguarded? — Are your contracts up to date? Have you submitted annual documents to ensure your business remains in good standing? Have you paid annual fees? This is also a good time to do a health check of your policies and website, fixing and updating as needed.
Is your bookkeeping and accounting on point? — Take the time to fine tooth comb your finances, get everything organized and review it with your business accountant to review cash flow, expenses, PnLs, revenue forecasts, etc.
Do you have all of your “T”s crossed and “I”s dotted, or have you let some things slip to the backburner? Now is the time to pull them forward and deal with them.
What you learn about your business in the busy season should inform the infrastructure building you do in the slow season. You know you won’t have time later, so make the most of it now.
2. Evaluate (and Improve) Processes
The infrastructure is the framework, and the processes are what happen within it. As you assess your overarching business structure, you’ll naturally think through the “how.”
Are your processes healthy?
Take internal and external views here:
- Consider what a client experiences with you and your team. Are there areas you’d like to improve upon?
- Also consider what your team experiences. Whether you have a single independent contractor or a whole gang of team players, is it a positive place to work? Are they armed with all of the information and resources they need to succeed?
There are numerous solutions that can help you achieve more with streamlined processes. Consider what you can shift to ensure positivity all around.
3. Shop Software
Slow season is the time to reevaluate the tools you use to manage processes, including workflow, projects, communication with clients, payroll, billing, etc.
Take the time to really analyze your current tech stack and explore opportunities for more efficient/better fit options.
There is a growing body of tech that is purpose-built for small business owners and entrepreneurs with digital products or deliverables. You don’t want to use something just because it’s familiar to you or “you’ve always done it.” We already know you don’t fall for that.
Schedule 15 minute sales calls with apps or systems you’ve heard good things about. Compare them. Figure out how you can assemble the right assortment of tools that support operations, not just now but in the future.
4. Build Something Creative
Okay, so the first three downtime strategies are definitely more scientific and technical, and they’re crucially important. But so is giving yourself some gray space to ideate.
After all, you don’t start a business like yours because you’re obligated to: you’ve got big, important ideas that deserve their very own pedestal in the world.
Give yourself permission to be creative.
Let that entrepreneurial spirit run wild.
Use this time to write, visualize, vision board, and create… without any pressure to perform or get it to market. Just do it for the sake of doing it.
You’ll be amazed at how this gives your subconscious subtle permission to process things that happened when you were too busy to pay attention. You might even be in store for an epiphany or two.
Either way, take your foot off the gas for a moment and engage in creative exploration. You need that pause and it’ll do you good.
5. Learn Something New
Speaking of getting creative, think about how you can uplevel your skillset.
Are there certifications you’d like to pursue? Courses you’d like to take? Are there gaps in your capabilities, or places you’d like to specialize?
Consider, too: what strategic advantage could learning something new provide to you, now that you have a minute to think about it?
Take a slow season to invest in your own personal and professional development, learning something new in your field that will help you build your business.
6. Strategize Your Next Season of Growth
Building and creating are two powerful ways to make the most of downtime. The last key exercise to engage in is strategizing about your next season of growth.
It’s the horizon gaze that surfaces the question: “what next?” And your answer can be personal.
- What do you want the business to do next?
- How do you want to grow?
- What does the next season of productivity and profit look like?
Consider your available avenues for growth and what you want to pursue. This could be anything from increasing activities in marketing to networking at industry events to addressing any content gaps.
Be general and visionary as well as specific and tactical. Chart the path. You’re at the helm, after all, and it’s your vision that has gotten you this far.
Bonus Tip: Take a break! Just because you’re spending this time thoughtfully doesn’t mean you should be overwhelmingly busy.
Guidance in the Slow Season… and Every Season
Many people enlist the help of a business coach or guide to help them through the natural seasons of change. The Legal Legacy LoungeTM could be a good fit to facilitate this. Wherever you find that guidance, make the most of the time to visualize what the next season looks like.
Because it’s going to get busy again before you know it.
Do you see yourself growing at breakneck speed or on a steady trajectory? Don’t be afraid when things get slow. Take the time to do things like reviewing your contracts or revisiting your business plan. If legal documents are indeed a point of need, shop our collections online.
As always, we can’t wait to see you thrive, in this and all future seasons!