ideas for working on your business, when you’re not busy working in it
With so many businesses having temporarily shut their doors, and others having to pivot in the way that they provide services, we wanted to share some ways that you can continue to build your business, even when things slow down.
While in many ways it’s still business as usual for us at Haute Stock, with new releases being added each Monday, we’ve had to push pause on shooting new collections for the time being. Luckily, we have a few months worth of photo collections already finalized, so we’re looking at this time as an opportunity to finish up some outstanding back-end projects and create even more valuable free content for Haute Stock members and our community.
If you’re not too sure what to work on right now but want to keep building momentum in your business, here’s a round-up of 15 ideas you can work on to keep your business moving and prepped for busier times to come.
When you have less to do in your business, it’s the perfect time to work on your business.
So, read on for our top tips for what you can do now to keep busy, inspired, creative, and hit the ground running when things pick up again!
1. Refresh your branding
Now is a great time to give your brand a little refresh! Take some time to review your website copy and see if there are places you can tighten it up and hone your brand voice.
Review your visuals on your website and change them out for ones that are more relevant and on-brand.
Take the time to write out your brand story and see how you can weave that story more into your social media captions and visuals.
For brand strategy tips and encouragement we love to follow @ginnykrauss. You’ll also find lots of free graphic design tutorials and visual branding tips on the Haute Stock blog.
2. Show up and connect with your audience
There’s no doubt that people are on social media more these days to look for personal connection and a way to escape from the 24-hour bad news cycle.
Now is the perfect time to show up and be of service. You can take to Instagram Stories and teach something every day, share how you’re staying creative in quarantine, ask questions, offer quick coaching sessions — the possibilities are endless.
You can use this time to really connect on a deeper level with your audience and be there to help them. There’s really an opportunity right now to show up online as your authentic self and simply serve people using your expertise.
If you’re hesitant to show up on Instagram Stories, @hollygstudios inspires us daily with her video tips and breaks it down so it’s not so overwhelming!
Keep in mind that you don’t have to pause all your promotions right now – read this post to find out how to market your business during uncertain times.
3. Create new content
You know all those blog posts you’ve been wanting to write? Now is the perfect time to get them done! Or how about those Podcast episodes you’ve been wanting to record? What about the 5 day challenge you’ve had no time to map out?
You can also take this time to plan out your next 30 days of social media content, create new graphics for your most popular blog posts to pin on Pinterest, or revamp older posts with updated content.
Content creation is so important for the lifeline of your business but it often gets pushed to the back burner when there’s lots of client work and contracts to fulfill.
So take this down-time as the perfect opportunity to create the content that will drive traffic, grow your audience, and build that trust factor, so that when people are ready to buy, your business is already top of mind.
4. Audit your website
Little website tweaks can make a big difference to your Google rankings, conversion rates, and overall usability so doing a website audit is really important.
Going through your site and seeing what can be improved takes time and you’ll probably end up with a significant list of to-dos. You can work on them over the next few days and weeks to get your site in tip top shape!
If you want to DIY your audit, a quick search on Google or Pinterest will give you some checklists and posts, but we like to leave this one to the pros and have worked with Influence Media on an SEO audit and Spitfiregirl Design on a full website audit and learned so much from both!
5. Update your opt-ins
You can also take this time to look at your opt-ins to see which ones are converting well and either scrap or rework ones that aren’t.
Even if your opt-ins are already converting, you may want to take a look at how you can update them to make them more relevant, add extra value, or even just give the design a visual refresh.
The Haute Stock Team is actually working on creating new opt-ins, and we’re also going to be changing up our 21 free styled stock photo opt-in to add in new images!
Haute Stock member and opt-in expert Vanessa Ryan is hosting a free opt-in party next week, so if you’re unsure of how to create an opt-in, this is a valuable resource (stay tuned for more details about the summit!).
6. Strengthen your on-boarding sequence
Here’s another one that always seems to get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, but that is oh-so-important! Whether we’re talking about your email on-boarding sequence for new opt-ins or your client on-boarding process, your on-boarding sequence is one of the most important things in your business.
It can be easy to just set it and forget it, but it’s essential to do a regular review of what working and what’s not working and then update and tweak as necessary.
Maybe you need a few extra emails to build that trust and get more conversions, maybe your offer needs to come sooner in the sequence, maybe your clients have questions about the same area of your on-boarding process. There are always ways to improve your on-boarding sequence and now is a good time to perfect it!
7. Review Insurance and Legal documents
In light of what is currently happening in the world, we’ll bet that insurance and legal docs are more on your mind than ever. Take this time to review your contracts, website legal docs, cancellation policies, and insurance policies to make sure you’re covered for what is important in your business.
Always make sure to seek out professional legal and insurance advice, so definitely go pro with this.
There are many lawyers who work specifically with entrepreneurs who also have resources on their websites and Podcasts. Some that we follow are:
8. Create SOPs
With our normal day-to-day workflow interrupted and teams working remotely, having standard operating procedures in place is more important than ever.
SOPs are one of those things that many creative business owners probably struggle with or ignore all together (we’re speaking from experience here) but if you have a team or think you’ll be adding team members in the future, this one is important.
Take some time right now to think of what SOPs are necessary for the day-to-day of your business and start writing them down. Ask your current contractors or employees to do the same for their roles.
You can combine these SOPs into a folder in Google Docs so that anyone on your team can refer to them and so that you can use them to train new team members when needed.
Not sure where to start? This is a good resource to get your started with SOPs for your business.
9. Develop or refine a product/service
If you’ve been wanting to launch a new product or service but haven’t had the time to work on it, take advantage of this down-time to create something new!
Even if you don’t have anything in mind, you can audit your current products/services and look for ways to make updates, how to improve production times, add valuable new features, or even just market in a new way.
If you don’t feel like now’s the time to launch, that’s fine. You can wait if you want to, but why not use this time to develop and even run a few beta tests so that you’re ready to hit the ground running later!
10. Connect with your customers to gather feedback & testimonials
It’s always a good idea to do this on a regular basis, so if you’re feeling a bit behind on your conversations with customers and gathering feedback, start reaching out! Send an email to individual customers, put out a survey, or finally create those testimonial graphics that have been piling up.
We have a Google Doc where we add our Haute Stock membership testimonials and we update it each time a new testimonial comes in. Then we turn those member testimonials into graphics that we use in our newsletters, on the website, and on social media.
You can start a spreadsheet of the testimonials or feedback and keep adding to it as more come in. If you’re having a rough day, take a look at that document to remind yourself of all the people you’ve positively impacted — you’re bound to feel better!
11. Catch up with your financials
Ugh, finances. If your idea of business expense tracking is throwing receipts in an old shoe box until tax season, we understand! For so many entrepreneurs taxes and financials are the most frustrating (and boring) part of business.
But, properly tracking your financials and understanding your profits, expenses, and revenue are extremely important and will help you make better business decisions and investments.
So if you’re behind on your finances, take some time to get things in order. Reach out to your accountant or bookkeeper if you need help or have questions, and empower yourself to look at your finances with confidence!
Some accounts we follow for valuable financial info for entrepreneurs are @the_finance_coach and @numbernerdheather.
12. Work on your marketing strategy
Unfortunately posting every day on Instagram isn’t a complete marketing strategy. But the good news is, when things are slow with client work and sales, it’s the perfect time to sit down and map out your marketing strategy.
Some things to look at are:
Website traffic (what are the sources of traffic to your site, where are they landing, what are they consuming on your site?)
Where can you get new leads? (Organic vs. Paid traffic, which platforms work best for your business?)
How well is your sales page converting and how can you make improvements?
How well is your opt-in converting and can you make improvements?
What are new ways in which you can market your business and reach a new audience?
What are new ways in which you can increase conversion rates to your existing audience?
13. Create new funnels
In line with working on your marketing strategy, it’s also a good idea to consider new sales funnels and ways in which you can reach a new audience.
Spend some time mapping out new funnels: maybe you’ve always done live webinars and you want to try out an evergreen model, maybe you’ve never done a webinar and you’d like to finally give that a go, or maybe you have too many funnels and you want to cut down and simplify.
Funnels take a lot of work and tweaking, so wherever you are with funnels in your business, there are probably ways you can make improvements or try implementing a new strategy to see what works best!
14. Invest in Learning
Yes, we’ll surely be doing our fair share of Instagram scrolling and Netflix binging, but we’re also planning on using this time to learn.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have less client work, or you’ve put your launch on hold, it’s a great time to learn something new that will help you in your business in the future.
Whether it’s finally reading those business books you downloaded on Kindle, or finishing up that online course you purchased last year — investing the time to learn new strategies, expose yourself to a new way of thinking, or acquiring a new skill, will pay off down the road.
It’s also a good time to invest in a new membership, the course you’ve been eyeing for a while, or coaching. It’s a way of giving back and supporting other small business owners, and allows you to continue to do the work to build your business!
15. Celebrate your wins
This is a difficult time for so many business owners and it can seem like it’s all bad news, so we encourage you to take a minute and look at what’s going right! What are the wins, big or small, that you can celebrate right now and feel good about?
We often gloss over our achievements and are on to the next big goal, but we encourage you to slow down, look at what you’ve already been able to accomplish in your business, and have faith that no matter the circumstances, you will be celebrating new wins in the months and years to come!
Bonus Idea: Get Social (from a distance)
Create a virtual mastermind group of business owners to connect with on a regular basis. Having a support system of people who understand the unique challenges of self-employment is always helpful! You can use tech like Zoom for video meetings. You could make it a virtual co-working session, a virtual cocktail hour, or have hot seats for everyone to share a challenge and get feedback from the group.
The format is up to you, but the main thing is to feel supported and offer support for others! Plus, you’ll continue to build momentum in your business by working on your mindset, bouncing ideas off others, and gaining new perspectives.
We hope you found these ideas helpful! We’ll be implementing many of them over the next few weeks and months as we also take some time to work on the back-end of our business.
We’re always here for you, so if you need support, feel free to reach out and we’ll do our best to help you in any way we can!
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