if you’re in an industry that experiences a slower summer season, it’s a great time to invest in your business so it’s extra-fresh for the next time you get busy. if you’re not sure where to start, here are 5 ideas to build on.
rethink your services
we all concentrate on our areas of specialty, but have you thought about related activities and services you could be offering that wouldn’t shift your focus too far? maybe you’ve been offering a couple services that would make sense to package and target a different sector of the market. perhaps you’re getting a lot of questions on similar subjects and an introductory consulting service makes sense. better yet, give your clients and prospects a little taste of your expertise and personality in a white paper or e-book. if you’re spending some of your extra time on education or professional development, maybe you’re able to branch out and offer a new product or service you hadn’t considered developing yet.
brainstorm: write out a list of all the services you currently offer. think about each one, and try to write one related service you’d like to add, or that could be included by someone who has the same expertise. google some of your favorites—what appears with these products and services that you hadn’t considered before? if you’re up to the task, consider adding the most viable to your repertoire. if you can’t incorporate it now, take a few days to see if one of your ideas appeals to you as a future goal to shoot for.
refresh your site content
building your web site is often the biggest project we work on in self-promotion, and once it’s done, it’s really easy to set it aside and let it do its work undisturbed. we may not be looking at it every day, but possible clients and customers are, and when they have new & interesting things to look at, they stay longer and engage more. additionally, search engines are regularly indexing sites on the web, but if it finds yours and you haven’t updated in awhile, they’ll pass you over for sites with more frequent content changes. you may want to consider an online editorial calendar, so you have a framework for adding new content regularly in different areas of your site [this can work in conjunction with social media, where you tell people about your new content and ask them to take a look].
brainstorm: chart out all the pages on your site and list what content is on each page. read through the content you have currently and see if it’s still 100% relevant or could use some improvement. decide on areas that just need a refresh once for the year, and other pages that could possibly have revolving content, such as announcements, new offers, or archived newsletters you’re sending monthly. if you can’t find current pages for revolving content, think of what you might add that is updated elsewhere, like a twitter stream or facebook business page. then chart out a rough calendar by month and see if you can commit to a schedule of regular updates, whether they’re quarterly or daily.
reconnect with your network
remember the last time someone caught you with a surprise phone call or a nice card just to say hi or catch up? it’s always a good feeling when friends and colleagues reach out, so why not be that person this time around? figure out your preferred method of contact and then do it up proper! if you like calling people, start with your favorite clients and vendors and call to say hello! if you’re more of an email person, write some thoughtful words personalized to the people in your network. as an alternative, you can use your newsletter service to send a graphic email to a larger list. if you prefer cards that arrive by post, pick up a set that appeals to the message you want to convey [or consider having some designed—just sayin!], get out your favorite pen, and author some nice notes. work your way out from your inner circle to those you speak to less frequently. get social media involved for the people you connect with online.
brainstorm: sometimes reaching out takes several forms of delivery. in fact, maybe it’s time to update your contact database with some of those cards you’ve picked up in your travels that are piled on your desk. you can use contact management software to note which mode of contact different friends prefer, and split them up by how you might contact them. then, get creative and make it happen!
revisit your brand touchpoints
you can get some great help identifying and brainstorming on all the possibilities for brand touchpoints here. once you have a solid list, take some time with each one, ask yourself if they’re reaching your clients and prospects in the way you want them to. maybe you’ve been working with some new niches or personalities that interact with different items or information sources. evaluate which efforts you want to stick with and which are ready for hiatus. take notes when you’re out and about, what catches your eye, how have other businesses decided to interact with you in ways you thought was clever or well-placed? are you missing some cool twist in the lifestyles of the people you work with?
brainstorm: list out the brand touchpoints you’re currently using, then write as many possibilities for interaction you can think of next to each one. do these modes of interaction give you any ideas on similar items or resources you could use in the future? have you asked clients how they’ve found you or do they report on anything you’ve been doing that got their attention? is it time to start asking those questions to settle any doubts about your efforts?
reward yourself for a job well done
every time you spend time improving your business services and communications, you’re investing in yourself, so set some of this summer fun time aside to celebrate with a reward. we all work better and smarter when there is balance in our lives. give yourself that afternoon hike, take a night of overtime off, get yourself or your business a gift, or take yourself out for ice cream or soda.
brainstorm: aside from the pure rewards for a job well done, find ways to infuse fun into your business. can you go analog for the day and review paperwork or resource material at the park or the beach? do it! are there wifi hotspots or cafes with free wireless where you can go mobile for a change of scenery? try it out!
me? i take breaks for walks, bike rides, or a run on different days, but my new goal is to find a public pool i like and jump in a few times per week. and i’m a big believer in homemade fruit pops on hot days. nothing like an icy blended fruit pop!