Is there a time of year when business is s-l-o-w?
When I worked in "Corporate America", it did not take long to recognize that certain months of the year are what everyone refers to as "slow". Whether your work entails production or administration, the time of year has a effect on the bottom line.
When I decided to become serious about my business, I didn't take time to wonder if or when my business would seem slow to me. I just jumped right in, started working 8+ hours a day, and followed all the "right steps" with training, marketing, lead generation, customer contact, etc.
One day, I sat at my desk and placed about 50-60 calls to prospects, and spent the entire time in what I call "voicemail land". I spent hours dialing, leaving voice mails and waiting for people to call me back.
"You never write, you never call..."
I was developing a serious fear of never connecting with people again. Then, I actually paid attention to the date on the calendar. June.
Do you know what happens in June? For starters, the school year in much of the country ends. Graduation invitations come and relatives and friends of happy high school graduates flock to hot gymnasiums, hotter stadiums, and to whatever venues are large enough to accommodate graduates and their happy and often grateful families. Actually, college graduations begin before June, but it seems that high school events (proms and such) are more publicized in all the cities and towns across the country.
Do you know what else occurs in June? Weddings! According to a report published by TheKnot.com on 03/07/2013, 17% of weddings in 2012 were held in the month of June. Planning a wedding requires hours and hours of time...and money! In fact, if you want a real eye-opener of a report, read the entire article at http://www.xogroupinc.com/press-releases-home/2013-press-releases/2013-03-07-tkwc-wedding-study-survey.aspx. (I am ever so happy to not have to plan or pay for, or even attend a wedding this season.)
Now, can you guess what happens? People are not available to take phone calls, meetings or to begin new ventures. And unless they are looking for a specific product, they're less inclined to watch a presentation of your latest and greatest time-saving, health building widget. That means people like me spend a lot of time talking to machines and sending emails. And June is just the beginning of summer and vacations, picnics, reunions, whatever!
What to do?
When you are building a home base business there is no convenient time for your process to slow down. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your "slow season":
- Do not give up. Do not stop. The urge to throw in the towel is strongest at this time, do not give up. Let me repeat: Do. Not. Give. Up.
- Continue to pursue your lead generation activities. Build your pipeline so when things start to become busy you are ready to go!
- Take advantage of the free webinars and seminars available to you via the Internet and telephone. There is a wealth of material waiting to be stuffed into your mind and if you don't have the excuse of "I want to but I am too busy" to fall on, you will surprised at what is available to help you succeed.
- If you don't meditate, the slow time is a good time to learn. You will alleviate stress and find that the practice of meditation is one anyone can easily learn. In addition, there are many free programs available to teach you this very worthwhile skill.
- Take advantage of the nice weather and market locally within your community. People are out and about shopping, at their kids' sporting events, going out to eat, taking walks with their dogs, taking their kids to playgrounds and parks, and attending community events. This is an ideal time to strike up a conversation with someone. Do not go out with the intent of "selling". No one, I repeat, no one want to be "sold", but most people are happy for an opportunity to have a casual conversation.
- Most parents are just happy to talk with another adult. Enough said.
- Talk to the part-time employees in businesses such as grocery stores and fast food shops. They work there for the extra money, but most of them would rather be spending that time with their family. If you have a great business op, it's the perfect time to mention it.
- Dress the part, but don't overdress! Business casual attire says "I'm professional, but approachable". Cut-offs, flip-flops and tank tops say, "Hey, I'm on my way to the beach (or the hammock, or the ice cream stand)", and unless you are at a vacation resort, people may think you are a tourist.
- If being a tourist in your own home territory is something you enjoy, do look for other people who are tourists and strike up a conversation. You can learn a lot about people if you just ask a lot of questions and let them tell you about themselves.
- This is the best way and the best time to hone your listening skills. You can engage with people while you are there together in the moment. You are not on one end of a telephone connection while they are busy doing their own thing.
As at other times of the year, do not pre-judge people. This is especially important when approaching people face-to-face. Do not judge people by their attire, their demeanor, or by any other criteria. If you smile at them, and they smile back and say "hello", have a conversation if you are comfortable with it. Just ask questions and be the audience. People love, love, LOVE to talk about themselves, their family, their hobbies...their lives.
One more thing, always have a healthy supply of business cards, brochures, CDs or whatever tools you use in your business to promote yourself. Also, be sure to have a notebook and pen to take down names, emails and phone numbers. Your new "friend" may not be open to your product or business opp at the moment, but that doesn't mean they won't change their mind or know of someone they can refer you to.
Rejoice in the fact that any money you spend on marketing supplies, gas for your vehicle, new walking shoes you wear for prospecting, etc. are tax deductible come tax time. Keep good records and make copies of your receipts. (There are great programs and tools to help you with that).
Enjoy the slow time while you can
Yes, you do need to earn money to pay your bills, and I would never suggest you stop turning those wheels of commerce! Don't assume people don't want to do business with you because it happens to be your slow time. It could be their busy time and when they need your services or products more than any other time of the year. Use your extra time to plan for your future busy time. Take inventory of supplies you'll be needing. Write your business articles and blogs. Introduce yourself to other business owners (especially those who need what you have to offer). Write down your goals for the next six months and the action plans you need to implement!
Sooner or later, your slow time will end, and you will find yourself super busy. That's when you'll be glad you learned to meditate!