No one in business likes a dry spell. Even if you have a healthy pipeline or busy season coming up, a dry spell can quickly precipitate a cash flow problem. But dry spells can also be a positive—if you prepare for them and use them to your advantage.
Instead of just thinking about how you can survive this quiet time (tips on that can be found here) consider the following ideas for making a dry spell actually work in your favor.
Use the Time to Focus on the Next Opportunity
A dry spell is often as good as a rest because it forces you to step away from the “busyness” of business and focus on what’s next. If you’re confident about your future sales, great! But why not use the time you have now to look for business in new places? Investigate new markets, territories, or just reintroduce yourself to old clients.
Use Cash Flow Forecasting to Help Prepare for Future Dry Spells
If you really are feeling the pinch during a dry spell or just want to practice sound business judgment, get your cash flow forecasting in order. Create a cash flow forecast or budget—this will help you get a grasp of when money comes into the business, exits it, and help you practice the delicate balance of managing the two.
Get Your Arms around Neglected Admin
A dry spell is the perfect time to get your house in order. Catch up with paperwork or accounting tasks. Review your systems and processes (have you backed up important data to the cloud lately?). Look for cost efficiencies and savings. Schedule some catch-up time with your accountant for a review of your finances, business goals and tax affairs.
Review your Online Strategy
Another area small businesses are hugely neglectful of is their business websites. That’s if they even have one. According to SmallBizDaily CEO, Rieva Lesonsky, 52 percent of small business owners don’t have a website. But it doesn’t cost much to get started. Sites like Wix, GoDaddy and web.com can help you get started for pennies on the dollar. If you have a website, when did you last refresh your content, blog and lead capture devices?
Don’t forget social media too. If you’re still working out how to use social media to market your business and connect with customers, now is the time to get on it.
Mobilize your Business
Is your website optimized for mobile? Market research shows that the majority of consumers are now using multiple devices to access business websites and demand a consistent viewing experience across their phones, tablets and desktops.
If your site requires visitors to take any kind of action—sign-up for a newsletter, make a purchase, schedule a service or make a reservation—then you should really think about making it easy for them with a mobile-friendly website. Is your site mobile-ready? Find out with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
Find Out What People Think of your Business
Do you have your finger on the pulse of customer opinion? Likewise, what are people saying about your competitors?
Aside from surveys and scouring social sites for reviews and comments, there are a few online tools that can help. Google Alerts and Mention are a couple of free examples. The latter monitors social mentions in addition to online mentions.
Don’t Forget You!
We could all do with learning new skills. Now may even be the time to face your fear of writing blogs or crunching numbers across your key financial statements.
Search for webinars online or sign-up for free workshops (Small Business Development Centers offer a range of low-cost training workshops in your community). What about consulting a mentor to help you with some of the more strategic sides of running your business? SCORE Mentors can pair you with a mentor for free—online or in person.
And of course, don’t forget to network too!
Anna Eschenburg is the senior marketing manager at Fundbox. Fundbox offers business owners a simple way to fix their cash flow by advancing payments for their outstanding invoices, giving small businesses back the power to control their cash flow. @.