There’s nothing official on my schedule today. My lunch plans seem to have canceled on me without a notification. I’ve got nothing that needs doing and plenty to do, if you know the feeling.
It’s the slow season. Yours might be different than mine. That’s not important. What matters most is that you don’t make a big mistake and waste these days.
Slow Times are Growth Times
Let me start by telling you what most people do incorrectly with space and time. They fill it. Sometimes, they stuff it full of busy work that “needed to get done.” Other times, they look for meetings or calls they’ve been putting off. They stuff days full to the top like fat ticks on a dog.
When you hit slow times, the best possible use of this time is growth. This must be the measure by which you gauge the worth of actions you might take. Growth can mean rebuilding. It can be learning. It can represent restocking and preparing for the next busy cycle.
You might look at a quiet time as an opportunity to seek what might need pruning. This could feel counterintuitive. It’s quiet. Why cut something further?
Let’s pretend you run a manufacturing business, and you make seven different lines of products. When you’re busy, everything operates at or above capacity. But should it? Maybe in the slow time, cut back the line to five and then shift resources around to better suit that new configuration.
Slow Times Are Sales Times
You have the clients or customers you have. Go after new ones. Look for partnerships. Look for new seeds to plant that will turn into rich opportunities later.
Call your best clients and see how you can help, or look for referrals. This is slow season work for sure. That means your clients may also need a little boost in getting business. Ask if you can help grow their business in some way. Who turns away helpful people?
Make Your Own Conference
As a keynote speaker with thousands of friends in that industry, I can tell you that there are no shortages of quality content all over YouTube. Beyond just TED, there are more conferences posting material every single day. You could seek out a particular speaker, an industry, or an idea and find mountains of opportunities.
Because it’s your conference, you’re not relegated to live speakers on a stage. You can add documentaries and slideshows and instructional materials. You can learn from other industries and look for crossover points of support. This is a powerful way to fill a slow season day.
Write or Record Something Helpful
Your customers would love helpful guides, to-do materials, and more. When you’ve got some time, it’s a great time to create this kind of material. It’s a wonderful way to equip your customers for even more success.
You can do a step-by-step document, or if you want to get even more bold, you might make a small series of videos or audio recordings. Any of these can help.
Set Some Future Planning Days
Look at what’s coming this year, next year, and then five years out. Don’t just look at your own business. Think about what you’ve been reading and maybe even research more.
For instance, if self-driving cars and ride sharing apps are reducing the number of new cars sold, that also means that people will do a lot less “browsing” while driving. They’ll drive from destination to destination with fewer unplanned stops. How will that impact your business?
But Again, Never Overload the Slow Days
We often see slow times as an excuse to finish up busy work. The truth is, busy work needs to vanish. Priority or growth. Those are your only categories. And schedule this kind of work into only 40% or so of your calendar over these slow days. Leave room for spontaneous opportunities.
It’s vital that you look at slow season days as an opportunity to prepare for success. That’s where it comes. From the planning you do when the fires aren’t raging.
About Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned. All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.
Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation