Let me start by saying that this post is in no way intended to make light of a very serious situation. The coronavirus was dubbed a pandemic for a reason–it affects us all, in one way or another. Businesses are closing, employees are being let go, retirement funds are disappearing… you know the rest. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Pollution levels are dropping, families are forced to spend more quality time together, and people who are normally caught up in the daily cycle of work, eat, sleep, are discovering or re-discovering fulfilling hobbies. As a business person, I can’t help but look for the opportunities this situation has created for us. And by opportunities, I’m not referring to personal financial gain, but rather time, our most precious resource.
Now might be the perfect time to work on your business. Us business owners and entrepreneurs have a never-ending to-do list. There is always room for improvement, especially if we’re working alone or with a tiny team. Our biggest obstacle isn’t lack of money or resources, it’s time. So if you’re struggling to stay focused on your work, keep reading for 5 meaningful ways to work on your business during quarantine.
Organize your files
This isn’t the most glamorous business task, but it’s an important one. Organization is about efficiency. Efficiency allows for greater productivity and better work quality. And yet, organization often falls to the wayside when you’re busy and have a million other tasks that feel way more pressing.
As a designer, keeping my files organized is essential and a major time saver. And if you’re not a designer, chances are you still have a lot of different assets floating around your virtual workspace–marketing materials, photos, promotional graphics, contracts, invoices, time sheets, etc. If you’re working with a team, organization is even more important.
My favorite way to organize my files is through Google Drive. Everything business-related is neatly organized in clearly labeled folders. That way, if I ever need to reference an old contract or pull out a client’s logo to create a new brand asset, I can do so in a matter of seconds. Organizing files may seem tedious, but it certainly beats pouring through your Downloads folder looking for that one obscure document that you can’t search for because it wasn’t properly labeled.
Related post: How to stay organized and productive as a freelancer
Create systems and automate them
Implementing systems and processes was an absolute game-changer in my business, and if you’re not already doing this, now’s a good time to start. Doing so will save you loads of time and free up energy to work on other important tasks, like client work or creating marketing content. Here are a few common business practices that you can easily create systems for:
- Proposals and contracts: If you’re still writing up proposals from scratch in Microsoft Word, please stop right now and invest in a CRM system. I personally use Hello Bonsai to securely send out proposals, contracts, and invoices. It’s streamlined, efficient, and makes me look and feel professional. Highly recommend!
- Client onboarding and communication: As you work with more clients over time, you start to notice some patterns and may find yourself writing similar emails again and again. Look for those patterns, and write some email scripts that you can copy and paste going forward.
- Sales funnels: Assess where most of your leads are coming from and think about ways to make the sales process easier on yourself. Are there any steps that can be automated or delegated? If you don’t have a sales funnel in place, do a bit of research to find a system that’ll work for your business. It doesn’t need to be overly complicated; in fact, it can be as simple as setting up a free consultation booking system using a tool like Acuity Scheduling, and then promoting it on social media.
Related post: 22 essential small business tools and resources
Update your website
Your website is a hugely important asset to your business. Having outdated info on your site hurts your business in two ways. One, it confuses or misleads your customers which can cause trust issues. And two, it damages SEO. Google’s ranking algorithm favors websites with fresh, relevant content.
To update your website, simply start by scrolling through each page and checking for errors or outdated info. Don’t forget about the footer and the copyright year at the very bottom of the page. If your site still says “© 2015,” you’re telling your viewers that your site hasn’t been updated since 2015, whether or not that’s actually true.
If you have a blog, flip through your older posts and check for any irrelevant content. This is especially important if you write about trends or topics like social media, which are constantly changing. Go through your posts and freshen up your content with more recent data and references.
Related post: How to create a homepage that converts
Create a new lead magnet
A great way to work on your business during this time is to create a new lead magnet. A lead magnet is a free and valuable piece of content that you offer your audience in exchange for their email address. Lead magnets are important because they give your audience an incentive to sign up for your email list. Everyone likes free stuff. Below are some common examples of effective lead magnets for various industries:
- A health coach offering a free 5-day meal plan
- A clothing brand offering a 10% coupon for your first order
- A copywriter offering a free mini copy audit
- A social media manager offering a free, targeted hashtag list
- A course creator offering a free quiz to help you determine what you need to focus on in your business
Lead magnets are often a downloadable PDF, but they can also work well as a service, mini course, or coupon. This can be fun–I actually just wrapped up a new lead magnet myself, a 5-day mini branding course. If your freebies are feeling a bit stagnant or are no longer relevant to your audience, brainstorm some ideas and get to work on creating a new, highly valuable lead magnet for your audience.
Write and schedule content
Last but not least, another excellent way to work on your business during quarantine is to create and schedule fresh content. Content marketing is a long game and requires a lot of effort, but it works. You don’t have to be a stellar writer to excel at content marketing. And you don’t have to write lengthy blog posts like this one. If you love Instagram, focus your efforts there. If you do most of your networking on LinkedIn, take advantage of their built-in publishing platform.
The purpose of creating content is two-fold: to educate your audience, and to position yourself as an expert. As a bonus, having an active blog, newsletter, podcast, or social media channel gets more eyes on your business. If done well, it also boosts SEO, which means more organic traffic.
If the thought of creating consistent content for your business is overwhelming, consider batching and scheduling. You could create a month’s worth of content in one day, and if you’re on social media, schedule it out using a tool like Tailwind or Planoly. On WordPress, you can use the built-in scheduling feature to schedule blog posts. Personally, batching content doesn’t work for me, but many successful entrepreneurs swear by it, so it’s worth a try.
What steps are you taking to work on your business during quarantine?
Let me know in the comments, or come hang out with me on Instagram. Please stay safe and healthy, and don’t neglect self-care!