3 Things to do When Business Slows Down


Franklin Taggart is a white man with colorful glasses, gray hair, a pleasant smile, and a warm voice. In this virtual coffee break, he is sharing 3 things to do when business slows down.

Have you noticed a slowdown in your business in the last year? 

You're not alone. A client I was talking with yesterday asked an increasingly common question, "Is it always this hard to find new business?"

She opened her consulting business early in 2023 after being laid off from her job in the post-COVID months. She landed a major contract within a month of opening that kept her in the black for most of the year, but that contract isn't being renewed, and now she needs to find new clients ASAP. 

She's not the first one to come to me with questions like this in recent months. Costs are increasing, interest rates are rising, wages are not keeping pace, and belts are tightening. When spending slows down, most businesses are impacted at some level. 

These downturns can be scary times, especially for new business owners who haven't experienced them before. Consistent, steady growth isn't a pattern we see in the normal nature of things. Sustainable businesses aren't that way because their circumstances are always the same. Their sustainability is more often related to their ability to adapt as circumstances change. 

Like the person I spoke with yesterday, many businesses haven't been around long enough to have built responsive systems to keep themselves afloat during the off-season. They're now learning about cash flow patterns, market rhythms, supply chains, demand fluctuations, and how to account for these things in their planning. Until these systems are in place, these folks have to shift gears into rapid response marketing mode, and waiting passively for the SEO to kick in and people to find your now outdated website just won't do.

Two other parts of yesterday's conversation stand out in my mind. First, my client had the good fortune to have a hallmark contract fall into her lap without effort at the beginning of her business. That created an expectation that finding business would be easy for her. She's now seeing that it was a misconception. The second factor is that she is having difficulty thinking creatively because of her stress about the urgency of her situation.

The three suggestions I am making here are activities I've found helpful in alleviating my own stress during uncertain times and that reawaken the creative muscles I need to start seeing new ideas and opportunities. I'll also share in this written description an unspoken fourth activity that is facilitated by the others.

The three activities in the video are:
  • Making Lists
  • Deep Research
  • Making Offers

The fourth I'll mention here is to simply connect with people. The lists and research will fill up with people to reach out to. The next level of work is the actual reaching.

For list making, I like to use spreadsheets like the one you can copy or download here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1aIh_6IboSG5Ram7swpi4IIGegYm99NcLqo6VPfEcmlQ/edit?usp=sharing

You'll see six different tabs on the bottom of the page. Each is a separate list. You can add or change them as you wish. These are the ones I like to use. My goal with listing is to spark ideas and insights. If the ideas and insights don't come, I'm probably listing the wrong things. When I start to imagine new products, services, connections, opportunities, or other possibilities, my listing is doing what I need.

In addition to the lists you see on the spreadsheet, I keep a running list of hot topics in my Notion journal. These are dated and stored in chronological order. Each item on this list is a topic that has arisen in a client conversation. I look for trends here and use these topics as starting places for deep research. 

In the past year, the hottest topic for most of my clients has been the impact of AI on their creative careers. Some have been displaced already, while others are finding creative ways to adapt. So, as my schedule has opened and I've needed to stimulate new opportunities, my research has been focused on spotting ways to support my coaching clients as they face a rapidly changing marketplace for their services. As their coach, I need to be prepared to help them get past the panic and start to think and act differently in response to the times.

In the video, I share a couple of Google tools I use to guide my research and to help sort through information that may be out of date or irrelevant. I suggest to my clients that knowing how to get the most out of search tools is one of the most necessary and marketable skills of our time. AI is definitely enhancing that, as well.

The last suggestion I make is to either dust off an old offer or put together a new one to usher out into the marketplace. Is there a new product, service, event, or experience you can put in front of existing and potential customers? It can be any price or package, but it needs to be seen. 

I've been working on a new series of video production resources for coaches that I'll be rolling out in the next month. I am hopeful these resources will stimulate many months and possibly years of opportunity for me. Stay tuned for the announcement of their availability. And go ahead and put together an offer of your own and get it in front of your people.

These four things are at the heart of my strategy when business slows. I hope you'll find them as helpful as I do. If you haven't taken advantage of my free Best Next Step coaching session, you can schedule your one-hour, no-strings-attached call here: https://bit.ly/best-next-step

#slowbusiness #businesscycles #businessadvice

Video Chapters:


00:00:05 She panicked when her first contract ended

00:00:52 Recharge, rejuvenate, or wallow?

00:01:23 Three things to do When Business Slows Down

00:01:39 Making Lists

00:02:00 Sis Lists on One Google Sheet

00:02:11 Mentors and Advisors List

00:02:45 Former Clients List

00:03:28 Dream Clients List

00:04:30 Industry Trends List

00:05:16 Resource List

00:05:36 Ideas and Opportunities List

00:06:07 Deepening Your Research

00:07:59 A few Favorite Google Features

00:10:24 The Secret List – Hot Topics

00:10:34 Dust Off an Old Offer, Or Design a New One

00:11:31 How to Know if Your Lists, Research, and Offers are Working

00:12:09 Schedule a Best Next Step Session with Franklin