How to make the most of your downtime


After the craziness of the Christmas period, it’s easy to fall into a productivity lull during the January downturn. Here’s our top tips for making the most of quiet time to set yourself up for success.

1. Upskill your staff

Quiet time is the perfect time to upskill. As a business owner, take some day courses or watch the webinars you’ve been putting off to help you be a better business owner. Train your team. Staff will appreciate that you have spent time with them; a well-informed workforce has been proven to be more motivated and productive.

2. Plan out your marketing

Like admin, marketing is often one of those tasks that drops to the bottom of the to-do list during busy times. Whilst it’s quiet, take the time to think about marketing opportunities. Get those menus or coffee cards printed, update your website, and create a bank of content. Do a photo shoot of your venue and menu items, or take some videos - all the things you never have time to do when your venue is humming.

3. Review your menu

Now is the time to review your menu. Is every item pulling its weight? Is it time for a refresh? Could some seasonal items help reduce costs or is there something you can add to satisfy those with dietary needs? You should also review costs and evaluate whether it’s time for a price increase.

4. Reassess finances

Reassess supplier arrangements and make sure they’re still working for you. Evaluate your regular expenses and consider where you can make savings. You might be able to negotiate a better rate with suppliers, be more efficient with staffing, or find ways to reduce waste, for example.

5. Get together with your team

You can’t underestimate the power of team bonding. Take your staff on a team-building day. Get together away from the workplace: golf, drinks, art class – something fun that everyone will appreciate. Unite as a team and get them excited for the year ahead.

6. Engage with customers

Connect with your customers. When it’s busy, you don’t always have the luxury to sit down with your regulars, or get to know new customers. Use the quieter time to connect with your customer base, seek feedback and hear what they have to say about your business. Their insights can be invaluable and a customer who feels valued is likely to keep returning.

7. Catch up on overflowing admin

Yes, it’s a chore but try to address that overflowing inbox and filing tray. Getting the administration out of the way can help give you a clearer mind when you need to get on with more challenging work.

8. Call the trades people

Catch up on maintenance. Those little things that have been bothering you – leaky taps, draughty windows, scuffed walls – now is the time to do a deep clean and call in those trades.

9. Pound the pavement

Quiet time is the perfect time to pound the pavement and drum up some new business. Hit up some mothers’ groups or cycle clubs, or introduce yourself to other local businesses. Hand out some cards or flyers. You never know what might come your way.

Just because business is slow, doesn't mean you have to be as well. Seize the opportunity, get in front of the eight ball and put the wheels in motion for a productive and successful year ahead!