I doubt that anyone reading this article hasn't at one time or another found his or her business dropping off significantly. For some unknown reason, and without any warning, everything seems to stop. The phone stops ringing, your e-mail box has nothing but advertisements and it appears as if your business has come to an end. What happened and even more important what should you do when it appears as if your business has hit a wall?
Whatever We Focus Our Attention On Expands!
Usually, our first reaction to a drop in business is to panic putting all of our attention on what isn't working. We immediately start worrying and complaining, commiserating with others who may be experiencing a similar situation. Although it's a natural reaction, it's actually the worst thing you can do. Why? Because there is a powerful premise that says: "Whatever we focus our attention on expands." Ponder that for just a moment. Have you noticed that every time you pay strict attention to what isn't working, it just seems to get bigger? Whether you believe it or not, the fact remains that when we put our attention on what isn't working, it seems that things get worse. Yet when we put our attention on what is working, it seems that things quickly improve. Changing your state of mind alters the circumstances.
The Tide Comes in and the Tide Goes Out!
One of the important lessons I've learned through the years is that predictably business will have its ups and downs. The tide comes in and the tide goes out. As a person who enjoys my work immeasurably, when I first began my writing business, I would become terrified if the phone stopped ringing. I couldn't figure out what happened and thought I needed to do something quickly to alter the situation. But once I learned that the ebbs and flows are natural, I made it a point to choose a different approach. Instead of staring at the pot of water waiting for it to boil, I started learning how to release the situation and put my mind on something else. As soon as I was really able to let go, things shifted. Either a new idea occurred to me, past clients contacted me out of the blue, new clients appeared or I simply decided it was time for a rest.
Prime the Pump!
Now whenever those quiet times occur, which are less and less frequent, I simply do my best to relax. By changing my focus and remembering all of the above, new ideas bubble up and I start to feel more creative. In fact during a recent quiet period I was inspired to donate my writing of a bio to a charity. Just as we need to prime the pump by adding a little water to it, I realized that giving some of my services away as a gift was a good way to get things moving again. It immediately changed the energy around my situation.
But if you're like most of the online entrepreneurs who prefer to take action while waiting for things to shift, I suggest doing some simple things that don't put any pressure on you but give you a sense of accomplishment. The following few ideas can easily be applied during the down times.
1. Write an article and submit it to a popular publication. Nothing will give you quite the same sense of achievement as seeing an article you've written in print plus it's one of the more positive things to do when you aren't very busy. Just about everyone has something they've learned through their experiences that others would love to know about. Share it in an article and you'll be amazed at how quickly the tide turns.
2. Write a press release and distribute it through one of the free press release distribution services. Often smaller companies think a press release is only for the big guys and hold back from using the media. But press releases are for everyone. Several of my clients have put out a press release and had overwhelming results they never expected.
3. Narrow your focus. When one of my clients found her business slowing down, she decided it was time to try a new tactic. She had been spending a lot of money on advertisements that weren't working for her, plus her site wasn't getting the amount of traffic she expected. Instead of focusing her attention on trying to reach everyone, she started putting attention only in places that were associated with her particular industry. She found that once she began focusing specifically on her arena many more people started visiting her site and business started picking up.
4. Try networking. We often forget that there are a lot of people who would be delighted to join forces with us by linking to our sites or referring us to someone they know. Recently, I made a connection with someone who aligned perfectly with my business. After communicating with him via e-mail I found that his site and services were very complimentary to my services. I then suggested to him that we add each other to our sites, which is exactly what we've done. The added exposure that we can provide each other has been extremely beneficial
5. Update your web site. Although your web site presentation has appeared online for quite a while, and you have realized a degree of success, perhaps it's possible that your site needs some refreshing or revamping. Try looking at your web site from an objective viewpoint, almost as if you're seeing it for the very first time. Review it carefully and notice if it still appeals to your eye and your ear. If not, add a new article, change the verbiage or add some new pictures. Figure out a way to optimize your site by adding search engine friendly content so that more people will find you. You don't necessarily have to change your site, but simply update it while you're waiting.
6. Visit past successes. Now may be a good time to stop by and say hello to clients from the past. They may have forgotten your e-mail address and might be in need of your services again. Or if someone has been happy with your services, ask if they would be willing to recommend you and suggest that you will pay them a small finder's fee for anyone who becomes a paid referral. Maintaining good relationships with your past clients and customers is a great way of keeping your business flowing.
Just because you aren't busy for the moment doesn't mean that all of your hard work has come to an end. In fact this may very well be a great time for contemplation. Instead of scrambling to quickly drum up more business or fretting about the lack of income, perhaps this is the time to be still as you consider some new strategies. Before making a judgment about your quiet time, why not use it as an opportunity for expansion and growth?
Charlene Rashkow brings 15 years of experience as a Writing Stylist/Consultant to her creative efforts as a freelance writer. She has successfully helped companies and individuals reach their objectives by writing exceptional web site content, press releases, bios, and articles of interest, business plans and all other forms of marketing material. You may visit Charlene at http://www.allyourwritingneeds.com