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What should I do when business is slow? Ten ideas!

Question: “What should I be doing when my business is slow? How should I be making use of my time?”

Submitted by Bola of Slimy Bookworm

Answer from Shara Lawrence-Weiss, Mommy Perks:

There are numerous things you can be doing during slow periods. Here are a few examples of the way I spend my time during slow seasons.

Writing more content for my sites

I always focus on writing more content when business is slow for me. This offers long term value (SEO) as well as short term. In fact, I have found that when I’m having a rough day or really slow period, writing can be a source of comfort. Now and again, those periods have rendered my best articles (and most re-tweeted). I find that tapping into my frustration can really help my writing (morbid but true). Think Johnny Depp here. A tortured soul makes the best actor. The same might be said for writers. Out of frustration and pain come the best articles/posts.

Recycle old content

Now is a great time to recycle old content. Go back into your blog and find articles that are NOT timely (date sensitive). Re-tweet them, re-facebook them, re-Google+ them, re-LinkedIn them, etc. Give your old content new life. Update the post if needed with new links and relevant information.

Update your blog and website

This is also a wonderful time to update things. Go to your site and update old pages, stale information, old images, old content, etc. Put a fresh spin on things while you have the time.

Guest articles

I always accept more guest article inquires when things are slow. I may not have as much business during the down times but I can make use of that time by getting my Brand out there, right? If the blog/site links over to my own site that’s like getting free advertising. It helps the blog gain content and it helps me gain a link and new visitors to my site. {I never write guest articles that promote my site, however. I always write guest articles that help readers! The bio link is simply a bonus.}

Look for places to advertise

Spend some time looking around for new places to advertise. There are many affordable (or free) locations for small businesses to list. Although most of these locations won’t help you much, it can’t hurt either. Don’t list on spammy sites – choose sites that are relevant to what you do/offer/sell. Run an online search to find such locations or ask fellow business owners where THEY advertise. Do a little research. It never hurts to know your advertising market even if you choose not to list with someone.

Plan ahead

After years of business ownership I’m well aware of my down months and my up swing months. During the down months I do my best to plan for the busy seasons. What additional resources will I need? What materials, if any? What promotional data? What research should I be reading up on to help my clients or customers – so I can more effectively meet their needs? Make a list and check things off as you go. It’s always nice to mark things off; it makes you feel as though something has really been accomplished (it works for me, anyway).

Reach out to find new networking buddies

Spend some time reading over tweets or facebook posts on walls you respect. Are there folks there who might make a good networking pal for you? Someone who has a like minded business or cause, perhaps? Maybe you can reach out to them and chat about cross promotions or guest writing for one another?

What’s old is new?

Was there something you did a while back that seemed to work well for your business but… you got busy and let it slip? Now might be a good time to revisit those ideas or actions that were working once before. Now and again I think, “Hey – I used to do ________ and it worked well! Why did I stop doing that?” It’s usually during my down times that I have a moment to think about such things.

Give business to someone else

I know… this one is tough. If you are not GETTING as much business, why would you GIVE it? In my experience, doing something kind and generous for someone else always makes me feel better. I may not have much to spend but it does my heart good to find another struggling business and buy something from them. It brightens their day and mine! Have you heard about Flash Mobs yet? Groups of people descend upon a small business and shower them with sales (spending about $10-20 each). The business gets sales and the people helping feel great about it. Same concept here. Pick someone to help out and you’ll feel good about the fact that you brought joy to another small business owner.  


Reflection is a wonderful tool: in life, business, teaching, parenting and more. Reflect upon what has worked for you and what has not. Reflect upon your business mission and purpose for doing what you do. Why are you in business? Who are you trying to help? What changes could you make to be more in line with your purpose and mission? Are your goals reachable? If not, why not? What do you need to modify or rethink?  Use your down time to ponder these questions and more. 

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, special needs, freelance and marketing. She owns various websites including: Mommy Perks, Kids Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources and Pine Media (co owner). Shara is an active member of her town charity group and a Library Board Member. Learn more about her at Mommy Perks.

Reader Comments (4)

Thank you for a well thought out answer to my questions. I am sure many business owners would appreciate your insights and solutions as I have.

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBola@best baby books

You're welcome Bola. Thanks for asking the question!

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShara

Thanks for some practical tips. I'm having one of those days when I'm trying to close out my month with a bang and everyone's on vacation :( Your ideas gave me food for thought!

July 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBillie

Hi Billie - I'm glad to hear that! I just now saw your comment - sorry for the delayed reply :-)

August 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShara

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