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Making Lemonade

These days, if you’re a service-driven business owner, you may find yourself with extra time on your hands. After all, events like weddings and trade shows have cancelled. In-person sessions like fitness coaching and painting lessons are out. And economic uncertainty has clients scaling back on discretionary spending across the board.

Which is why so many of you have the same questions at the moment: What should I do during this lull in my business? What’s the best use of my time? How can I best prepare for once we get past this?

Gathered here, you’ll find practical advice for reinvesting any newfound time into your business. But first …

The great divide

Read the online chatter these days and one thing is clear: Opinions about how to spend The Great Pause fall into two camps. Let’s call them …

  • Retrenchers These are folks who remain business-focused. They are gathering information, and asking themselves hard questions about their business. They are using this time to improve their approach, so they have a stronger business on the other side of this. 
  • Reconnecters These people are embracing what’s important to them, using this time to reconnect with family and friends. They may be rediscovering passions outside of work. After this chance for introspection, they may be wondering if their work/life balance was out of whack before.

Here’s the thing – both mindsets have merit!

Yes, you should take this opportunity to strengthen your small business. And absolutely, to preserve your sanity, if nothing else, you should rely on the bonds of family and friendship. (Not to mention the comforts of baking.) After all, we’re all in this together, and we’ll only get through it together.

The good news is, you can do both. You can rethink your business and recalibrate your life outside of work. Many important business steps don’t take long to implement, and they will save you time in the long run. That’s time you can use to improve your work/life balance long term.

Time to look in the mirror

This is a great time to rethink your business. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I selling? That’s trickier than it may sound. Remember to consider the tangible and the intangible. How does your business deliverable ladder up to a higher level benefit?
  • Who is my ideal client? Hint: It’s not “everyone who will pay me.” Instead, focus on clients whom you enjoy working with, and who pay you what you’re worth. (And seek to reduce time spent chasing, or working with, clients of the opposite stripe: difficult, less profitable clients.) Simple, right? But you’d be surprised how many solopreneurs neglect this business-enhancing exercise. 
  • What’s your client experience like? Think about your last 10 clients. Did you create raving fans or ranting foes? Ask yourself: What was their experience like? Did you come off as polished and professional? Did you anticipate questions? Did you surprise and delight them with your service?
  • Is your website in top form? Does it deliver on your brand promise? (If you don’t know what it is that your brand promises, that’s another issue.) Does your site set the tone for your experience? Does it evoke emotion or leverage storytelling?

Working through questions like these can be eye-opening, and even a little intimidating. That’s why it can help to do this with the help of a community – others who are going through the same exercise, during this same challenging time for small business owners.

Last month, 17hats offered a complimentary 30-day Business Makeover Challenge to members and non-members alike. This Facebook Group-based community experience included hands-on learning, weekly challenges, website reviews, and more.

Not a 17hats member? No problem. As part of the challenge, we’re offering a 30-day free trial of 17hats, even if you participate via replays.

This lull in the business cycle is the perfect time to tune up your business!

All-new Business Makeover Challenge – Pricing For Profit

More than 600 small businesses owners took part in April’s challenge. It was such a success, in fact, that we’re announcing a new, entirely different, Business Makeover Challenge, devoted to pricing. (Yep – it’s also complimentary, which is awesome.) This three-week challenge will span pricing strategies, maximizing your worth, and increasing sales with add-ons. The kickoff call is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT (4:00 p.m. ET) on Thursday,  May 7.

This is a great follow-up exercise to April’s challenge. If you participated in April’s challenge or you didn’t, all you need to do is register, here. If you didn’t take part in April, you can still register here. Once again, we’re opening this business-transforming experience to non-members, with a free 30-day trial of 17hats. Learn more…

Streamline your business with 17hats

Finally, this business “timeout” is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to organize, streamline, and automate your business. As 20,000+ small business owners know, there’s no better way to do that than with 17hats.

17hats controls the chaos of running a business so you can focus on what you do best. 

Already a member? Then consider these I’ll-get-around-to-it-someday steps:

  • Sync your Calendars Remember, 17hats can sync seamlessly with Google and Apple calendars. Never miss another appointment!
  • Set up Online Payments This will save you time, and your clients will welcome the convenience of paying online. 
  • Set up Client Portal Once you’ve introduced your clients to this single, secure place to seek answers and make payments, you’ll never look back. Cut down on phone interruptions!
  • Take advantage of Online Scheduling This powerful feature makes it easy for clients to select a service, date, and time – all online. This saves you time, and improves your client experience.

Not a member? Then what are you waiting for? Join now. By organizing your business once and for all, you’ll emerge from this crisis more productive and more efficient – giving you more time for priorities outside of work.

That’s a great way to make lemonade out of this basket of lemons we’ve all been handed this spring.