5 things to do when business is slow over the summer

Phoebe Dodds

As the saying goes, most businesses experience slow sales in the J months: June, July and January. Add August to the list, and it’s not surprising that many of us are feeling a little anxious about the quieter months ahead. The life of a freelancer (or small business owner) is always full of ups and downs, but even if you’ve been at it for years, it’s always a bit intimidating when you know you’ll be bringing in less income in the following months. That being said, there are plenty of ways to fill your time this summer, and if you pick your work tasks wisely, you’ll bounce back in September stronger than ever. We chatted to our community to find out their top tips for how to spend your time when business is slow over the summer.

1. Do your customer research

Summer is the perfect time to “review and research”, says career coach and Found & Flourish member Jaz Broughton. “Fall in love with your solution and the folks you serve. Read through notes, feedback and ideas you’ve had.” Your best bet? Think ahead from your ideal client’s perspective. “Ask yourself what could I help that person with next or what would compliment the product they’ve already got,” says Jaz. No idea where to start? Don’t worry! It’s as simple as asking them yourself. “Chat to past or future clients about their current needs as well as their progress,” says Jaz. You’ll likely see patterns emerging, and as you get to know your ideal customer inside out, you’ll know exactly how you need to tweak your services once September rolls around.

For more information or support on conducting the perfect research for you and your business, check out our ‘Killer customer research’ session here with Katie Tucker, a customer research expert and soon to be published author.

2. Get organised in your business

If work is a little slower than usual, don’t panic. Instead, use the time to get organised in your business. We all know the struggle of juggling 100s of tasks as afreelancer—and who hasn’t said “I wish I had more time” at one point or another? Good news: you’ve got the time right now! “I would suggest reassessing your processes and how your projects and business are run,” advises Lucia Desperati, founder of Yocory. “First, understand if there are any steps of your processes that cause friction or stress.” Here, once again, it’s worth getting your past customers’ feedback, because they’ve experienced your business process first-hand. “If you identify anything, smooth it out or remove it altogether,” says Lucia. It’s also worth thinking about how you can make the day-to-day running of your business easier. A slow summer is the perfect time to do the things you’re too busy for during the rest of the year: “create email templates, quick responses, and templates for your most-used documents,” suggests Lucia.

3. Audit the tools you use

You might also find that getting organised in your business will help you save money—which is much appreciated when you’re bringing in less than usual. Consider auditing the tools you use on a regular basis, from email software to design tools to invoicing. Chances are, there’s a better option available. Test a few free trials, and see if there’s anything out there that better meets your needs. You might find that the free version of Canva is all you need, for example, or that there’s a combined email-and-invoice software that means you can consolidate everything together.

“Unsubscribe from tools that you don’t use, and check if there are new ones that can make your business more efficient,” advises Lucia. “All of this will translate into profits in the long-run.”

4. Work on your mindset

Feeling the stress levels rising? A large part of running your own business is working on your mindset, so that you’re as resilient as possible for when the tough times hit (as they invariably will). After all, health is wealth, and mental health is just as critical as physical health. Chloe Slade is the founder of Vibe and Flow, a membership that helps people strengthen their mindset to allow them to achieve their goals with ease. “Start working with your subconscious mind to get clarity, answers and momentum,” says Chloe. “I recommend using tools like subliminals, visualisation, journaling and stories to start reprogramming your subconscious mind to look for and create different opportunities to grow your business.” The calmer and clearer your mind, the easier it will be to come up with creative solutions and offers for your customers. “Your subconscious mind is roughly around 95% of your mind, so you can see how working with it can massively help!”, says Chloe.

5. Take a guilt-free break

We all deserve a break, and if business is a little quieter, now’s the best time. It’s not disruptive for your clients, the weather’s gorgeous, and life is opening up again, so you’ve got plenty of options. You don’t need to go on holiday necessarily: all you need to do is close your laptop and allow yourself the space to fill your days with activities you like to do, rather than have to do. Maybe you’ve got a pile of recipes you were saving. Maybe you’ve always wanted to plant some herbs on your balcony. Now’s your chance. Take a proper, laptop- and guilt-free break, and get the rest you need after a turbulent couple of years. You’ve earned it!

If you’re after a supportive community to lean on when times are tougher, look no further. At Found and Flourish, we’re proud of our welcoming, inspiring members who meet up regularly (IRL and online) to chat, share ideas, and weather the ups and downs of small business life together.

About the Author

Phoebe Dodds

Phoebe Dodds is Found & Flourish’s resident Business blogger, she is London-born and Frankfurt-, Paris- and Amsterdam-raised. Combining her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship with 10 years writing for international publications, she’s the founder of BURO155 and Wellby, helping female entrepreneurs achieve their business goals through strategic online content. Phoebe is also a writer, and has written for outlets including the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Next Web, For Working Ladies and Restless Magazine.

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