10 Things To Do When Business Slows Down Over The Holidays


I'm sure you've seen it happen every year: your business slows down during predictable times, like the summer vacation months or year-end holidays. For the self-employed who rely upon steady cash flow, this can be a disconcerting time. Should you just take a vacation until things naturally pick up again? Or should you try to find the needle-in-the-haystack business that might be out there during slow times?

This year, vow to be different! Instead of languishing in no-business-never-land, get off your butt and do something to build the foundation of your business so that natural business cycles don't affect you too deeply:

  • Clean your office. Go through all the piles of papers and magazines that have been sitting around and get rid of them once and for all. Remember the office organizing mantra: do it, ditch it or delegate it. File all your papers, dust and vacuum your office. Reorganize your desk and your office so that you can find everything you need in 60 seconds or less.

  • Take a mini-vacation from work. Walk away from your office and enjoy a day or two of renewal and relaxation. Go to a day spa. Take a weekend retreat. Go for a walk in the local park. Breathe.

  • Get ready for tax season. If your business slows down during December, no worries! Use that time to prepare your tax files so that you can whiz through tax season (it's coming sooner than you expect!). Tally business-related mileage for year. Estimate your last tax payment for the current year (many self-employed people make quarterly estimated tax payments; the final payment is usually due on January 15). Send your final invoices for the current year.

  • If the slow time falls around the holidays, use them to your advantage. Get into the holiday spirit with your clients by mailing holiday cards and gifts to them. Make specially-discounted holiday offers to clients/customers. Offer them gift certificates that they can give to their family and friends for your services and products.

  • Do your accounting. Enter all revenue and expenses into your recordkeeping system. Balance your checkbook.

  • Become goal-oriented. Take this down-time to look at your current goals, to see how you're doing so far and to write some new goals for the next 12 months. Create an updated marketing plan and budget. Make sure your budget includes a cash reserve to cover you during slow business times. Even if this business slow time falls mid-year, you can still spend time planning for the next 12-24 months.

  • Go back to school. List the topics you'd like to study, the classes you'd like to take, or the books you'd like to read, to keep you up-to-date with your industry and business skills. Use your quiet business times to read, study and add to your intelligence pool.

  • Get some personal chores done. Slow business times are ideal to schedule your annual dental and eye exams. It's also a great time to clean out the attic, garage or basement. Remember, a strong personal foundation helps to propel your business forward.

  • Go shopping. No, not for personal items (though that's always fun!), but for business items. Have you been putting off buying a new PC? Now's the time to research what's out there and determine your next computer purchase. Is your office chair uncomfortable? Spend some time at office furniture stores "butt-testing" for a quality office chair that will support you properly. Stock up your office supplies. Buy some music CDs to play in your office to inspire you.

  • Spend time with family and friends. When business is busy, it's easy to sequester yourself away to get all that work done. Now that business is slow, come out of your cocoon and visit with family and friends. They've been wondering where you've disappeared to!

    As you can see, slow business times can be used productively to prepare you for the next burst of business coming your way. Renew your business, your office, your Self, and create a firm foundation for the busy business days ahead! Always ask yourself, "How can I use these days wisely?"

    About The Author

    Karyn Greenstreet is a Self Employment expert and small business coach. She shares tips, techniques and strategies with self-employed people to boost clarity and focus, create sustainable motivation, and increase sales and profits. Visit her website at www.PassionForBusiness.com" target="_new">www.PassionForBusiness.com.


    MORE RESOURCES:

    Labour deputy leader says party could face even bigger split after seven MPs quit

    Tom Watson, the deputy Labour leader, has said his party faces an even more severe split if it denounces the seven MPs who quit as traitors instead of addressing the reasons for their departure.

    In an emotional statement, Watson said he sometimes “no longer recognises” his own party, as he called on colleagues not to adopt the language of betrayal towards the seven who resigned on Monday.

    Continue reading...

    Israeli foreign minister accuses Poles of hatred towards Jews in remarks described as ‘racist’ by Polish PM

    Poland’s prime minister has accused Israel’s foreign minister of racism in an escalating diplomatic row over the Holocaust that resulted in the cancellation on Monday of an international summit in Jerusalem.

    Mateusz Morawiecki withdrew his country’s involvement in the summit after Yisrael Katz, who was appointed acting Israeli foreign minister on Sunday, said Poles “suckle antisemitism with their mother’s milk” and accused all Polish people of harbouring “innate” antisemitism.

    Continue reading...

    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer reprises role as cleaning lady during festivities in home state of Saarland

    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Germany’s Christian Democrat party, returned to her home state of Saarland over the weekend to reprise her annual role as Putzfrau Gretel (Gretel the cleaning lady) during carnival celebrations.

    Dressed in an apron and checkered headscarf, Kramp-Karrenbauer cracked jokes about December’s CDU leadership election, the fight banning diesel vehicles and political dysfunction in Berlin in front of a crowd of more than a thousand people.

    Continue reading...

    Shamima Begum says she regrets innocent people died in attacks in both UK and Syria

    The east London schoolgirl who left the UK to join Islamic State has compared the Manchester Arena bombing to airstrikes by the western allies that killed non-combatants in Isis-held areas.

    Shamima Begum, 19, says she wants to return to Britain and is asking for “forgiveness”, having given birth to a son on Saturday while in a refugee camp in Syria.

    Continue reading...

    Elin Ersson received a £250 fine for refusing to take her seat on a plane in Sweden last year

    A Swedish student who livestreamed her protest against the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker last year has been found guilty of violating Sweden’s aviation laws and fined £250.

    Elin Ersson, 22, avoided a prison sentence at the Gothenburg district court, where she was sentenced to a fine of 3,000 Swedish krona.

    Continue reading...

    Internet expert exposes unsecured database believed to be targeting Muslim minorities

    A Chinese surveillance company has been tracking the movements of at least 2.5 million residents in a province where Muslim minorities have been the target of a far-reaching security clampdown, internet experts have found.

    Victor Gevers, of the non-profit group GDI.Foundation, which supports an open internet, discovered an unsecured database online that contained the name, sex, ethnicity, ID number, birth date and employer of residents in China’s western province of Xinjiang.

    Continue reading...

    European People’s party and Socialists & Democrats have run parliament for 40 years

    The “grand coalition” of centre-right and centre-left that has run the European parliament for 40 years is set to lose its majority for the first time following elections in May, according to the institution’s internal forecasts.

    The centre-right European People’s party and centre-left Socialists & Democrats have long called the shots in the EU parliament, but polls suggest the two big groups will win only 45% of seats, down from 53%.

    Continue reading...

    Donald Trump returned to the attack against Andrew McCabe on Monday, in response to an interview in which the former deputy FBI director discussed his new book and made claims damaging to the president.

    Related: 'I believe Putin': Trump dismissed US advice on North Korea threat, says McCabe

    Continue reading...

    Minnesota investigators used genealogy website in case of Jeanne Ann Childs’ 1993 death

    A Minnesota businessman has been charged in a 25-year-old murder case, after investigators ran crime scene DNA evidence through a genealogy website then obtained the suspect’s DNA from a napkin thrown away at a hockey rink.

    Jerry Westrom, 52, was charged with second-degree murder in the 1993 death of 35-year-old Jeanne Ann “Jeanie” Childs in Minneapolis, a case that had gone cold.

    Continue reading...

    Two former military pilots, a customs officer and celebrity bodyguard among the accused

    Sitting on the asphalt at Punta Cana international airport in the Dominican Republic, the private plane was about to take off for an overnight flight to Saint-Tropez in France when police swooped.

    Inside the aircraft, a Dassault Falcon 50, officers found four Frenchmen – two pilots and two passengers – along with 680kg of cocaine, with an estimated street value of €20m (£17.5m), in 26 battered suitcases.

    Continue reading...

    Hans Leo Maes captures the bridges and stairways that link up the hilly, population-dense city

    Hong Kong is known for its flashing lights, neon signs and high-rise skylines. But the architect and photographer Hans Leo Maes documents an alternative side – the city’s interconnecting staircases and bridges.

    “The extreme population density in Hong Kong means [structures] are stacked and linked by stairs, often external and very visible,” Maes says.

    Continue reading...

    Romania’s capital has a buzzing nightlife with plenty of options for a romantic night out – unless you’re LGBT

    Continue reading...

    There’s a whole new craze in east Africa, fuelled by secondhand inline skates – and a desire to unite

    Photos and story by Duncan Moore

    Nairobi’s traffic congestion is notorious. Minibuses known as matatus battle for space with cars, motorbikes and hand-drawn carts, causing excruciating gridlock.

    Through this automotive battleground dart the daring members of the Kenyan city’s inline skating community, deftly weaving between moving vehicles, holding on to buses for speed and jumping over potholes.

    Continue reading...

    Idea of topping municipal plant in Copenhagen with urban ski resort won accolades for Danish architecture firm

    It might be the first waste incinerator the neighbours actually want next door. The shop at the foot of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy project in Copenhagen is packed with families desperate to be among the first to try its unique selling point: the ski slope on the roof.

    “I live so close by that I could follow the development,” says Ole Fredslund, who lives in neighbouring Amager, as he helped his sons Felix and Victor strap on their boots as the slope opened its lifts for the first time on Tuesday. “I guess 90% of the focus is on the fact that there’s a skiing hill coming, so in a way it’s very clever. Everybody talks about the ski hill to be, not the waste plant to be.”

    Continue reading...

    Russian agent allegedly in Bulgaria when Emilian Gebrev poisoned in 2015 and in UK when Skripals attacked

    The first sign that something was wrong with Emilian Gebrev was an itchy, bloodshot eye after a dinner in April 2015. The next day he had strange visions of flashing lasers, followed by uncontrollable vomiting. As friends rushed him to hospital, everything went black and he slipped into a coma.

    Related: Skripal poisoning: UK team looks into possible Bulgarian case link

    Continue reading...

    Teenager accused of murder of six-year-old Googled ‘how do police find DNA’, court told

    A phone belonging to a teenager accused of the abduction, rape and murder of a six-year-old girl was used to Google “how do police find DNA”, a court has heard.

    Peter Benson, the leader of a cybercrime team, told the Alesha MacPhail murder trial he helped compile a report of relevant information following a forensic investigation of the 16-year-old boy’s phone.

    Continue reading...

    Swiss actor best known for his portrayal of Adolf Hitler in the 2004 film Downfall

    The Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, who has died aged 77 from cancer, was a wise and contemplative presence, as familiar, consoling and crumpled as a favourite overcoat.

    He came to prominence in three films by the director Wim Wenders. In The American Friend (1977), adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel Ripley’s Game, he was a shy picture-framer who is persuaded, under the misapprehension that he is dying, to become an assassin in order to provide for his family.

    Continue reading...

    Communities clash over natural resources as arrivals from South Sudan and DRC plunder environment for fuel and construction

    The cutting down of millions of trees has sparked angry clashes in parts of Uganda between local people and refugees who have been fleeing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    The timber is being used for house construction, fuel and to make charcoal. In the north and west of the country, where an estimated 1.1 million refugees are living, massive deforestation is drawing protests by local communities.

    Continue reading...

    Attempt to hustle Japan into a trade deal highlights the problems facing ‘global Britain’

    It takes a lot to anger the unfailingly polite, anglophile Japanese. But Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, appear to have managed it with their ill-judged attempt to hustle Tokyo into a quick-fire Brexit trade deal.

    The diplomatic fumble has highlighted rapidly escalating difficulties facing “global Britain” – the government’s nebulous vision for life after the EU – in forging new business and trade relationships around the world without an agreed post-Brexit strategy.

    Continue reading...

    CFMMEU district president Stephen Smyth says union will back candidates who support workers’ rights

    The mining arm of the Queensland CFMMEU has said it will not back candidates in the federal election who do not support a future for central Queensland coal workers.

    The district president of the CFMMEU Queensland mining and energy division, Stephen Smyth, confirmed to Guardian Australia the union – whose membership lives mainly in the marginal seats of Dawson, Capricornia and Flynn – would assess individual candidates and might not automatically endorse Labor.

    Continue reading...

    Analysis of community where 73% of residents contracted Zika in 2015 offers new clues about epidemic

    Scientists studying the 2015 Zika outbreak in Brazil have discovered that people previously exposed to dengue may have been protected from the virus.

    Three-quarters of the inhabitants of a favela in the country’s north-east caught the mosquito-borne Zika virus during the epidemic. The outbreak left more than 3,000 babies across Brazil with microcephaly, a birth defect caused by mothers catching the virus during pregnancy.

    Continue reading...

    We hear much about Yemen’s crisis, but far less about the hypocrisy of states fuelling the very conflict they condemn

    During his historic recent visit to the United Arab Emirates, Pope Francis condemned the war in my home country, Yemen, as a terrible humanitarian crisis.

    Addressing the world he said: “Let us pray strongly, because there are children who are hungry, who are thirsty – they don’t have medicine and they are in danger of death”.

    Continue reading...

    Campaigners demand external investigation after human rights organisation dismisses their claims

    Prominent Indian rights activists have withdrawn their support for Amnesty India amid allegations of caste discrimination and harassment within the organisation, the Guardian has learned.

    The allegations include claims that staff were humiliated, ill-treated and discriminated against because of their caste, a system of social hierarchy among Hindus.

    Continue reading...

    In the midst of Venezuela’s spiralling economic crisis, Natalia and fellow members of a Chavista collective have stepped in to take over production at a local bakery, La Minka. Authorities had suspended operations when the owners were accused of overpricing their loaves and hoarding flour. In March 2017, with the tacit support of the government, the collective began selling affordable bread. This is the story of their fight to safeguard the bakery’s future and keep the Chavista dream alive

    Continue reading...

    I had to gain the confidence that always seemed to come naturally to my partner to release my inner handywoman

    Last year my partner and I moved into a new house. The whole exercise was exhilarating – finally, a place we owned – but it also unearthed in me a desperation, a deep frustration. For a long time I’ve wanted to be someone who fixes things, builds things, someone who is capable in practical day-to-day tasks. I own tools, I have ideas and I tinker with my surroundings, but I’ve never felt completely at ease in the tasks that various men in my life seem to take on with no backward glance.

    In our just-built house there were so many jobs to do with drills, hammers, caulking guns. My drive to learn by doing was offset by disorientation and self-doubt. I wanted to begin improving our house, but I didn’t know what sort of screws I needed for the curtain rod brackets, or whether I could just drill straight into the plasterboard. My partner, a man, didn’t have much more experience in these things than I did, but approached the situation with a confidence and bluster that only confused me more.

    Continue reading...

    Cardinals around the world are joining the pope at a forum on tackling abuse. But only radical reform can solve the crisis

    When the first meeting in the Vatican of cardinals from around the world to discuss clerical sexual abuse was announced, hopes were high among Catholics. Finally, it seemed, the courageous, mould-breaking Pope Francis was going to force through root-and-branch reforms to tackle the scandal that has done such damage to the reputation of the institution he leads.

    Yet even before 180 cardinals assemble on Thursday in Rome for this unprecedented four-day summit, the chance of such prayers being answered is looking increasingly remote. The Vatican press office has been downplaying the event as simply an opportunity to remind senior clerics of the patchy efforts that global Catholicism has made this past quarter of a century to address the thousands upon thousands of cases of priests molesting, abusing and traumatising children in their care.

    Continue reading...

    From Russia to Turkey and Iraq, the rout of the caliphate brings new political considerations and shifting alliances

    The collapse of the Isis caliphate’s last stronghold in Syria is sending shockwaves across the region, changing the calculations of the major powers as they jockey for advantage. Triumphalism in Washington, Moscow and Damascus risks obscuring the human cost of a “victory” that may quickly prove transitory.

    Of immediate concern is the fate of civilians, mainly women and children, displaced from formerly Isis-controlled areas where many were held against their will. The independent International Rescue Committee says up to 4,000 people are fleeing towards the al-Hawl refugee camp in north-east Syria.

    Continue reading...

    Four years ago, 24-year-old Hoda Muthana left her family in the US to travel to Syria and join Islamic State. Now, after being captured by Kurdish forces, she is pleading to return home to Alabama


    * Hear the Guardian's Middle East correspondent, Martin Chulov, speak to Hoda Muthana about her life with Isis and eventual escape on tomorrow's Today in Focus 


    Continue reading...

    Since 1992, more than 11,500 Colombians have been killed or injured by landmines, a legacy of more than 50 years of internal conflict. Many impoverished amputees without access to the healthcare system have resorted to making homemade prosthetics from wood, leather, metal and plastic bottles

    Continue reading...

    Radziwill, the younger sister of Jackie Kennedy, has died at the age of 85. Married three times, she was a well-known socialite and a successful interior designer

    Continue reading...

    The US vice-president rebuked European powers over Iran and Venezuela on Saturday, in a renewed attack on traditional US allies, rejecting a call by Germany’s chancellor to include Russia in global cooperation efforts. Describing the results of Donald Trump’s presidency as 'remarkable' and 'extraordinary', Pence told senior European and Asian officials that the European Union should follow the US in quitting the Iran nuclear deal and recognising the head of Venezuela’s congress, Juan Guaidó, as president

    Pence hails 'remarkable, extraordinary' Trump tenure in attack on US allies

    Continue reading...

    A man opened fire on Friday in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, an hour's drive west of Chicago. The shooter, identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin, was an employee at the industrial complex in Aurora. He also wounded five police officers before he was shot dead 


    • Aurora shooting: sacked employee kills five in Illinois warehouse

    Continue reading...

    Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to secure extra funding for his wall at the US-Mexico border. Trump’s decision came after weeks of wrangling over his campaign promise, which led to a record 35-day partial government shutdown, damaging his approval rating. 

    • Trump declares national emergency to build US-Mexico border wall

    Continue reading...

    Residents of a coalmining region in Siberia have been posting online videos showing entire streets and districts covered in toxic black snow that critics say highlight a man-made ecological catastrophe in which British industry is compliant.

    Continue reading...

  • odrnews.com ©