How do you solve a problem like slow business? A few weeks ago, I was asking myself that question (and, yes, sometimes the query was torturously set to The Sound of Music tune.) And although I was seriously cranking out freelance writing proposals, I found myself with rather more time on my hands than I was used to. So rather than find myself parked on the couch midday with a bag of corn chips and a Doctor Oz obsession, I made it my mission to stay busy in ways that were healthy for my freelance writing business. Things are back on track, now, but I did discover a few slow business strategies for staying busy:
Start a business blog.
From building an online presence to generating leads, there are many reasons to start writing a business blog. And, as a freelance writer who ghostwrites several blogs, I know most of those reasons. But I recently read a blog entry that stuck with me. Top Rank’s Lee Odden shared some advice he’d given to a small business owner: writing just one blog entry each week gives Google 52 more reasons to insert your business into search results. That’s not all…
- Websites with blogs get 55% more visitors. (HubSpot Blog)
- Websites with blogs get 434% indexed pages than non-blogger sites. (HubSpot Blog)
Now it’s time to share communication and writing tips, resources, and news to promote my business and build my network. Hence, this writing blog. If you haven’t started blogging yet, use downtime to jumpstart a small business blog.
Find the answer to a lingering business question.
I’d never had the time or opportunity to learn some of the finer points of SEO writing, like meta tags and title tags. Downtime was the ideal time for me to catch up. Do you confuse the word hyperlink with hyperspace? Wondering if there’s an easier way to streamline accounts receivables? During fat times, it can be challenging to justify devoting time to getting answers for questions that don’t generate an immediate sale.
When business is sluggish, answer those lingering questions and put the knowledge to use. Learn more about outbound and inbound marketing tactics. Figure out a faster way to do the books. Decipher the terms that allow you to sound like a pro when speaking with colleagues or tweeting with clients.
Add a new word to your writing vocabulary.
Yes, even if you’re not a freelance content writer chances are you write to communicate with clients, co-workers, subordinates, or managers. And no matter how we connect, whether it’s an old-school paper memo or a direct reply on Twitter, the words we use matter. So when business is slow, learn how to use and spell a fun word. That’s right, fun.
Think of it this way: Many professionals use standard biz language with ease: maximize, boost, lift, profitability, connect, engage, monetize, etc. Those words have their place in business writing. But there are times when that writing could use a little pop. Here’s an example of a blog headline on Social Strategy1: Tweets Trigger Bacon Brouhaha for Chipotle.
Use slow time to identify a fun word you’ve heard recently, even if it was out of the mouth of your teenage son. Look up the spelling, learn the proper definition, and then keep it in your writer’s toolkit so you can unleash it at the right time. (It’s also good for boosting your Words with Friends score!)
How do you keep yourself out of trouble when business is slow?