25 things to do while business is quiet

Covid 19 is impacting so many businesses right now, within all sectors. Some of the hardest hit businesses as the self employed and owners of micro / small businesses. It’s hard to keep spirits up if your customers are quiet and you aren’t out and about as usual networking events.

Over the last week, I have been doing some planning for the future, and what I can do now, that will be help Lisa’s Sweet Treats in the future. I’m sharing some of my ideas as I hope that they will be help to you too. Whilst these things might not bring in the money right now, I truly believe these will help for the future. Now is an ideal time to look at those jobs on your to do list, but are not a priority but you know that needs doing sometime!

Here’s my list of 25 things to do…

1. Review website / copy

Your website is the shop front for your business, so it’s worth spending the time on it to make sure all of the key information is covered off. Get some feedback from someone else and check something obvious hasn’t been overlooked. Alice Benham spoke on her podcast “Starting the Conversation” about giving someone who doesn’t know your website, your laptop with it open and watching to see how they interact.

2. Review your SEO

Have you added key words and meta tags to all your pages and posts? I thought mine was all done, however I realised how little was actually complete. Do some research and check out some top tips. I completed a 5 day free course with Maddy Shine who provided excellent insight on this via 80s dance songs, her Instagram stories are great and absolutely worth following!

3. Review any directory listings

Are you on any directories? For example Yell, Google My Business, PopTop, Hitched. Have a look at your listings and see if they need a spring clean.

4. Sort finances / receipts / do a financial overview

Now is a great time so sort out mountains of receipts and do some forecasting. Look back at your spending and income, and see any trends stand out as changes to make in the future. For me, I have been doing some financial analysis about my spending and going VAT registered.

5. Seasonal planning

So the other C word out there, Christmas! Looking back at last Christmas, is there things you want to do differently this year? Reflect and create a plan. Are there pages you can revise on your website and hide? Costs to forecast? Marketing material to prepare?

6. Content planning

Social media posting is not something I enjoy doing, and I put it off for as long as possible. Why not take an hour to plan out Facebook or Instagram posts? Using a website like Hootsuite, you can still tweak them according to what’s going on at that time.

7. New products

If you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to change or work on, knuckle down and get that done! Take some great photos and plan a launch, all ready for when you want to get going again.

8. Marketing plans

This is a huge thing for me to do right now. With a very seasonal business and wanting to launch something early summer, a year around marketing plan can help you plan promotions, think about target customers and new products.

9. Online catch ups

With diaries looking very empty now, if you regularly co-work with people (I will be missing this!), why not have a Skype call or a FaceTime? If you’re used to be around people all the time, make sure you look after your mental health and keep up the human contact (virtually).

10. Offer your services

If you have a service based business, can you offer some of your time to struggling businesses? It might be something that you’ve not been able to justify or find the time to do when you are busy, but if you want give a bit back, now is a great time.

11. Rest

You work so hard all year, don’t feel guilty for having a lie in, or resting. I can already feel a great difference just having a little bit more rest and not feeling guilty.

12. Take photos / videos

If you struggle for content ideas, without the high pressure of meeting customer deadlines and the BAU activities, get creative now. I will be recording some videos to upload onto my website with an intro to some of my products.

13. Learn a new skill / activity eg software

Pinterest is something for me that I know very very little about (as a business owner I mean, as a user I was obsessed whilst planning my wedding). I am planning to use some of the materials from The Coven and Lucy Hitchcock at Sassy Digital, to develop a Pinterest strategy and learn what I am doing. Other things people are taking the time to learn to use is accounting software or project management software for business planning.

14. Batch content for the year eg blog posts

Again, something I don’t massively enjoying doing, and something I don’t find time to do when it’s busy. Planning to write some seasonal blog posts now and schedule them through the year. If you want to be a guest blogger on here please do let me know!

15. Big picture planning

Do you know where you want to be in a years time? Or even if 6 months time? Take a step back and think where you want to be. If a year feels too far away, focus on just 3 months time, and what can you do each week to get you to this place. I heard somewhere of the effectiveness of spending 90 minutes a week on the big picture goal and the difference that can make.

16. Review industry guides and information

If your business targets a certain sector, get updates on the sector and what steps are being taken. For me, working mainly with hotels, there’s websites dedicated to hotel marketing, see what’s out there for you. It’s been interesting reading to see how hotels in China are already picking up again.

17. Reach out to colleagues, suppliers and customers

The feeling in the hospitality sector right now isn’t a cheery one. However, if your customers and suppliers are struggling, pop them a note to say hello. We need to support each other right now. I have had some lovely emails from customers in the last few days, find your community and help each other.

18. Stick with a routine

This is easier said than done as I already feel mine slipping without the urgency of work. If you can, get to your desk, do a workout if you want to, have lunch away from your desk and clock off the evening. Try and have some consistency will make you feel much better.

19. Do some jobs around the house

The annual spring garden tidy up, and finish painting the downstairs bathroom have been two things I have put off saying I don’t have time. It’s great to now use this down time to do those house jobs. Also, I didn’t find the time to review my options for my pension from while I was at work, but now I have that call booked in for next week via Zoom.

20. Tidy / sort stock / paper work or office

I have been using this time to have a good sort out of all my stock and what I have in, and especially seasonal items which I may need to offer a sale on to clear before their best before date.

21. Social media research eg hashtags

If you use Instagram regularly, it may be worth spending some time doing some research into the algorithms trends and different hashtags which could generate some more interest to your page.

22. Update contracts / booking forms

More than ever now, people will be looking back at their contracts and booking forms, and I know that I have been guilty about not sending them out and not reviewing regularly, take this time to check your terms and conditions and see what your fellow suppliers are doing too.

23. Plan for when business picks up

So do you know what your customers will be doing when normality is back? Even if it seems a long way off right now! Have a think about marketing campaigns / new product launches ready for when business as usual is back.

24. Get feedback

Can you engage with your current customer base and speak to them about ideas for the future or areas of improvement? Can you do some market research into new ideas or businesses you’ve wanted to pursue?

25. Enjoy some downtime with your family and the slower pace!

It’s a very occasion that both me and husband are home at 6pm and spend a whole evening together without one of us being out the gym, football or other things, so we’re enjoying (well I am!) spending time together and having more of a relax in the evening.

Here's my family who I have been catching up with a lot whilst we're all quiet!

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