As we gear up for the debut of Season 4 of Brand It, Build It, I’m excited to introduce a new bonus series: Our “Summer Slowdown” series is a 4-part series with actionable ways to elevate and grow your business.
Maybe summer is a slower season for your business, and you’re ready to dedicate yourself to fine-tuning the foundation of your business. Or maybe you’re simply in a season of gathering steps for polishing your business. This 4-part series is a crash course in how we recommend using your summer or your slow season — so you can experience peace of mind and growth in the seasons ahead.
Let’s Talk About Slow Seasons
Welcome to Episode 121 of The Brand It, Build It Podcast: Let’s Talk About Slow Seasons. Every small business is unique, but we believe, for many businesses, it’s completely normal for certain aspects of our businesses to be seasonal or cyclical. For wedding professionals, it’s totally understandable when warmer weather brings about more weddings and a busier season. For many small business owners overall, summer can mean less website traffic or less engagement on social media, because prospective clients or customers are busier in summer.
What’s awesome about being a small business owner is: There are likely several ways you can discover trends about your business and even predict when your slower seasons will be. A few places where you can look for trends in your business are: within your bookkeeping system, within your website and social media Insights, and within your email Inbox.
- Bookkeeping System: Within your bookkeeping system, you’re likely able to see financial reports. By looking at past financial reports, like past months’ Profit and Loss statements, you can compare your month-by-month revenue. The older your business is, the more data you will be able to look back on to observe concrete patterns, or to determine which months have been outliers. When you look back at your month-by-month revenue, which months experience the greatest revenue — or the least? Which months carry the most expenses — or the least? Knowing these details can help you to counterbalance slower months, whether by diversifying your revenue streams, amping up your marketing, and more.
- Website and Social Media Insights: Within your website and social media insights, you’re able to see when your audience is online, at which times your posts receive the most engagement, and more. In Episode 116, we explore which website metrics are worth tracking in Google Analytics. Knowing when your audience is online and engaging with your website and social media can help you to observe patterns and plan accordingly. Perhaps in slower seasons for social media, boosting your newsletter writing can make a meaningful difference. Altogether, observing your website and social media insights can provide truly helpful information about how to best use your website and social media, and how to counterbalance slower seasons through diversifying your marketing approach.
- Email Inbox: Within your email inbox, you’re able to see when you receive more inquiries, and when you receive fewer inquiries. To observe your inquiries in a detailed way, we recommend creating a spreadsheet of all inquiries and documenting any details you believe will be helpful, such as: the date of the inquiry, how your inquiry learned about your business, and whether your inquiry eventually became a paying client. By documenting these details, you can assess your inquiries and determine whether there are busier seasons with more inquiries, and slower seasons with fewer inquiries. This is helpful for a variety of reasons — one of them being the anticipation of a slower season, and managing expectations month-by-month. If you can consistently expect summer to be a slower season for inquiries, but winter to be a busier season for inquiries, you can plan for changes in your business accordingly, with less overwhelm because you will have expected the busier and slower seasons to occur.
So, once you’ve identified that you’re experiencing a slow season, or you’re gearing up to experience a slow season… what is the best use of your time?
First and foremost: I want to stress that your slow season doesn’t necessarily need to be filled. Maybe you’ve designed your business in such a way that you enjoy and look forward to the seasonal ebb and flow of your business. After a busy season, you’re ready for a break, and you don’t want to spend your slower season working on behalf of your business. Maybe you’re happy with the foundational details of your business, with your work-life balance, with your revenue — or you’re simply content with your current blend of busy seasons and slow seasons. Please know your slow season doesn’t need to be filled with something new.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for ways to build, grow, or elevate your business in a slower season — or to diversify your revenue streams so slower seasons aren’t quite as drastic, our 4-part Summer Slowdown series is for you.
In today’s episode, we’ll be discussing 5 things to do during a slower season. In Part 2, we’ll explore the real reason why your website isn’t converting your visitors to paying clients. In Part 3, we’ll share how to multiply your website traffic for good, and in Part 4, we’ll explore luxury client experience essential — ways to create a luxury client experience with purpose. So, to kick things off, here are 5 things to do during a slower season in business:
- Assess your business. When you’re beginning a slow season, it’s natural to feel a small sense of panic and ask yourself, “What should I do now?” I personally believe that one of the most challenging parts of being a small business owner is developing an approach for using your time wisely and determining which to-dos are essential, and which are above and beyond. That’s why my first recommendation for approaching a slower season is to assess your business. Write down every area of your small business: your brand design, your web design, your copywriting, your social media profiles, your email communication, your process and workflow, your client experience, your creative process, you finances, your expenses, and more. Jot down each and every area of your business you can think of. Then, jot down what is going well and what could be improved upon in every area of your business. When you do, you can prioritize the types of changes you foresee needing or making within your business. You can approach your slower season with a sense of purpose and direction, because you will have thought through all of the areas of your business in need of improving or changing.
- Create a plan. Once you’ve determined which areas of your business are in need of improving or changing, create a plan for doing so. Will you need to outsource for any of those areas of your business? Will you need new systems or software to accomplish what you’re hoping to accomplish? How much will those improvements or changes cost, and how can you plan for those expenses? I recommend prioritizing the changes you’d like to make, so you can calmly and confidently work through each change. Often times, in business, it can feel like several things need to change at once — or that making one change creates a domino effect of changes. When you have a plan in place, you can simply work toward each change, one by one, with a greater sense of purpose and direction.
- Pursue education. A slower season is also the perfect time to pursue education on behalf of your business. Whether you choose to subscribe to a new podcast, to participate in a course, or to attend a virtual or in-person conference, a slower season is the perfect time to gather new insights about topics you are interested in, or to learn from fellow small business owners inside or outside of your industry. With your plan in place, and with educational opportunities to participate in, you can work through your desired changes and improvements with more awareness than ever.
- Get organized. After a busy season, it’s likely that you have completed more work on behalf of your business. Organize your Portfolio, and gather client testimonials. Further, you might also choose to organize your computer’s folders, your cloud storage, your email Inbox, and more. Getting organized can help you to feel more at ease about the day to day operations of your business.
- Consider a new brand and web design. Over the years, we’ve felt so lucky to have spoken with many small business owners who, after one or more years in business, feel ready to pursue a new brand and web design on behalf of their business. Whether their style of work has changed or their Ideal Client has changed — or they’ve added new offerings and want to raise their prices… there are many reasons why small business owners choose to pursue a new brand and web design on behalf of their business. The best part of pursuing a new brand and web design is knowing that the visual foundation you create with your designer is a representation of your current expertise, approach, and goals.
Whether your business is currently in a slow season, or you’d like to bookmark today’s episode for when your slow season is approaching, we are so hopeful today’s episode equips you to approach a slow season with purpose and peace of mind.