Self-employment: what to do in the event of a slowdown in business?

In most cases, there will be a slowdown in business at some point during self-employment – be it due to the summer break, the corona crisis or because the industry is currently experiencing a period of stagnation. Most of the time, these slowdowns are temporary. Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to be out of work.

To avoid falling into a depression as a self-employed person it is therefore important to remain active and use the quiet time. The possibilities are manifold.

Here are a few ideas of what you can do during a slowdown in business

To stimulate business

Develop new pillar/business idea

If the slowdown is a little longer or is becoming more frequent, it is probably an indication that you need to change something about your business. You can use your free time to develop a new business idea or realign your existing business.

Exploring new cooperation opportunities

Together we are always stronger. This also applies to self-employment. If the business isn’t running smoothly any more, it can be an idea to explore new cooperations. It is important that your company and the other company get both an added value (e.g. restaurant joins forces with a tour operator and organises experience evenings, which the tour operator can offer its guests as an add-on. At the end of the day both parties benefit)

Develop new products

If you need to give your business a sustainable boost, you can use the time to develop new products. But it does not always have to be a completely new product development. Sometimes even the further development of an existing product can bring new momentum to the business.

Planning & implementing measures for customer acquisition

If there are not enough customers to keep the business running at full capacity, the obvious thing to do is to use weak times for customer acquisition. What exactly you do depends on your business orientation and your target group – but the possibilities for customer acquisition are basically endless. The rule here is: do

Share your knowledge

One way to regain greater visibility is to share your knowledge publicly. You can do this for example with a blog or guest contributions. In this way, you can increase awareness in your target group, show your expertise and possibly acquire new clients.

Get an overview

Analyse competitors

The market is constantly moving. New competitors are entering and others are disappearing. Also the offer from your competitors changes. Therefore you should use your free time to analyse the current market. Visit the websites of companies, their shops or whatever else is available. That way you will also get new impulses for your own business.

Review & Outlook

In stressful times, we as entrepreneurs often lose sight of the big goals. That’s why phases with less work are a good time to reflect on things, to venture a look into the future or to deal with entrepreneurial goals.

Analyse costs during quiet times

It is always advisable to examine the costs in your own company from time to time. Often there are regular expenses for things that are not or only very little used. Through such an analysis and the subsequent implementation of optimisations you will increase the financial fitness of your company.

Evaluate profitability of projects, products & customers

In day-to-day business, there is often little time to check projects, products or customers for their economic efficiency. However, this is important to ensure that capacities are not used for things that do not generate a profit and perhaps even only cost money. The knowledge gained is important when it comes to defining future prices and making offers.

Analyse website traffic

Web statistics are neglected in many companies, although they contain a lot of valuable information. During quiet times you can analyse this data and find out what information your website users access most often or what weak points your online shop has.

Analyse risks

In every company, large or small, there are risks. Knowing them and preventing them accordingly can be vital for survival. You can use calm periods to identify exactly these risks and plan specific measures. (e.g. What happens if the computer is stolen? Are the data sufficiently secured? What happens if the biggest customer breaks away? etc.)


Revise website

Once your own company website has been set up, it often happens that nothing happens there for years. Use the free minutes to check that content is up-to-date, add new content or modernise the website.

Optimize business processes

In stressful day-to-day business, there is often little time to optimise processes in your own company. You can use quiet times to analyse how you can make processes smoother in your company. As a result, you may be able to handle future tasks faster, more professionally and better. These optimisations will also help your company to be more competitive on the market again.

Creating order

When the business is running, disorder often takes over.You can use the slack in orders to tidy up, which will make your work much easier as soon as the business gets going again.  And that applies not only to your desk, but also to your computer.

Develop yourself

Learn something new

The world around us is constantly changing. If you want to be successful in this world in the long term, it is important to develop with it. Therefore use quiet times to acquire new knowledge. This knowledge will possibly help you to be more competitive on the market again and maybe even open up new business opportunities.

Let yourself be inspired

In order to get new and fresh ideas it is important to be inspired from time to time – be it by a good book, a TED lecture on YouTube or an inspiring conversation with like-minded people. This not only often leads to new ideas, but also to new motivation.

Fill up on energy

Take a break and recharge your batteries

Often we work very intensively for months on end in self-employment and there is too little time left over to recharge our batteries. A slow-down is therefore the perfect opportunity to catch up and to do something good for yourself. Go hiking, visit your family, go away for a few days – do whatever gives you new energy.

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Christian Wagner
Founder RiskPlayWin | Owner & Founder of the digital marketing agency

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