How’s business right now?

If you’re like most people, it’ll be somewhere between “slow” and “shut down.”

So, if you’re short of client work, but have a lot of spare time on your hands, here are 10 things you could be doing over the next few weeks…

#1: Read a business book

How many business books have you bought but never gotten around to reading? 

Well, this is an ideal opportunity.

(And, if you don’t have a book to read, there’s always my new book on PPC strategy – you can download a free copy here.)

#2: Create white papers and special reports

This is particularly important if you’re selling some form of consulting.

A study by Eccolo Media discovered that:

84% of businesses find white papers either moderately or extremely influential in their purchasing decisions.”

Another study revealed, 

53% of B2B buyers will read 3-5 pieces of content before contacting the supplier

So, if you have spare time on your hands – or the resources to hire a copywriter – now would be a great time to create that content.

#3: Re-write your website

Most websites tend to be a work in progress. You write a few pages, they seem ok at the time… then you go back a year later and, ugh!

Well, now’s a good time to look at your webpages, and re-write the ones you’re no longer happy with.

#4: Spy on your competitors

This is something businesses really need to do more of. 

Think about it: your competitors have spent tens – or hundreds – of thousands of pounds… and many years trial-and-error… finding out what works best in your market.

And you can just swoop in and get all that information (most of it for free).

So what are your competitors up to?

Do you know…

  • What marketing channels they’re using? 
  • What offers they’re running? 
  • Their USPs? 
  • What their ad copy says? 
  • What do their websites say? 
  • The proof they’re using to back up their claims? 
  • What they’re doing to close prospects? 
  • What do they do AFTER someone buys? What are their follow-up offers? What do they do to retain clients?

What about the split-tests they’re running – or have been running – in Google Ads? What about landing page tests they’ve run?

If you go through all your main competitors and gather that information, think about all the great ideas you’ll get for your own business.

#5: Audit your PPC account

When’s the last time you rolled up your sleeves and really took a look at what’s going on with your PPC?

Or, if you use an agency, when’s the last time you got a 2nd opinion on their performance?

When auditing accounts, I usually find a lot of wasted spend, missed opportunities and inefficiency.

Things to look for?

Start with…

  • High-spend keywords that aren’t converting
  • Profitable keywords with low ad positions
  • Important keywords with poor quality scores

That should get you started. 

(Or ask me to do an account audit for you.)

#6 Re-evaluate your strategy 

Just as your web copy should be looked at periodically, so should your business strategy.

That’s because markets evolve (particularly online). And what was a good strategy a few years ago might be losing effectiveness.

Ask questions like,

  • How has this market changed over the last few years?
  • Do your prospects still have the same problems and desires they had back then?
  • Are there new solutions available that are better, cheaper or faster than what you’re delivering?

But also do an 80:20 analysis and ask…

Who are the power users for your product or service? If you’re selling B2B, are there particular industries that make good prospects? Should you be specialising in serving those industries?

In B2C, what are the best demographics for you to go after? Are there age/gender/income groups you should be focusing on?

You see, there’s a tendency to try to be everything to everyone. The problem is, you end up being “not very much to anyone.”

So, rather than trying to compete like that, maybe it’s time to carve out a niche you could dominate? 

#7: Build your skills and knowledge 

What skill would make you a better business manager? Negotiation? Copywriting? Business writing? Data analysis?

Whatever it is, there’s a book or course (or podcast) out there.

#8: Create a “Dream 100”

The idea of the “Dream 100” comes from the late Chet Holmes. 

It works like this:  you come up with a list of the 100 businesses you’d most like to have as clients. Then you market specifically to them

So who would be in your Dream 100?

#9: Fix your analytics and tracking

Most businesses that come to me have serious holes in their tracking. 

That might not be a big deal right now, but when there’s a problem – e.g. a sudden drop in sales – you’ll find you can’t compare “before v after” because your data is wrong.

And that means it’s hard – if not impossible – to find out what’s gone wrong. And, if you can’t identify the problem, how do you fix it?

So why not go through your analytics and make sure everything is recording properly and that you’re tracking all important actions as goals?

#10: Work on your SEO

One of the big problems with SEO is that there’s usually a big up-front investment – in either time or money – and you have a long wait before you get rankings. (If you ever do get rankings.)

Well, right now you have time… so why not invest it in SEO?

And, if you’d like to know how to get started, a friend of mine – Ray Field – has an online SEO course:

Ray’s a world-class SEO and, for the last 12 years, I’ve been recommending him to my clients. 

And, if they’ve been able to hire him (he’s usually booked up), he’s always gotten them great results.

The course is criminally underpriced at £197. It’ll save you dozens (or hundreds) of hours of trial and error.  

So these are 10 things you can do right now – even if the crisis has put your business on hold.

All the best,

Steve Gibson