If Christmas is actually your quiet time of year, here are a number of suggestions for how to use the time effectively to improve your business.

Replenish and “Redecorate” Your Business

A quiet time in the business is useful to replenish and “redecorate” your business. This could literally mean to review your physical product lines or replenish stock. It is essential to take the time out to review which products are your best sellers and which are most profitable (and which are not). You can also look at customer feedback to identify additional products your customers would like you could supply.

This may be a good time to take a look at your premises with a new set of eyes. Familiarity can prevent us from really looking at our surroundings. Ask for feedback on the kind of improvements a customer would like to see.

For the service business take another look at your offering to determine how it can be replenished. Consider how you can improve and add to your existing services. You can take the time to “redecorate” your on-line presence: you may find those Twitter or Linked-in profiles need updating and your Facebook needs re-vamping.

Reflect and Plan

This is a good time of year to reflect on the outgoing year and plan for the next. Ask yourself some key questions. What have I achieved? What is it that I do that customers really value? How can I do more of this next year? What do I want to accomplish? Have a look at my Accomplish Business Plan Summary Guide.

This is a good time to prepare a budget for the forthcoming year and to consider your cash flow. Consider how you can set aside a financial reserve for the quiet times in the business.

Consider an Additional Income Stream

If you sell umbrellas when it’s wet, can you sell flip-flops when it’s dry? That’s an over-simplification but it is worth brainstorming ways in which you can develop additional streams of income to compensate for quiet times. Do some research and speak to people. There may be additional opportunities out there that you hadn’t considered.

Talk to your Contacts

This is no time to hibernate! Your customers may be distracted with Christmas but I bet there are a whole host of contacts you can speak to or meet with. (Now’s the time to take out that dusty set of business cards you collected at the last networking event.) Here’s the trick – forget your own business and listen. Just find out what your contacts are doing, what issues they are facing (pain) or things they would like to achieve (gain) and see if there is any way you can help.

Be Ready for 2nd January

Be one step ahead of your competitors. Rather than slowly ramping up from 2nd January onwards and only getting going in mid-January consider what you can achieve from the moment you are back. While others are bemoaning the start of a New Year how can you be enthusiastic about your business?