Saturday Sidecar: Using Your Down Time to Prep for Success

Written by Gina Blitstein on December 17, 2011. Posted in Saturday Sidecar

Planning for SuccessSidecar drivers can’t always depend on a steady stream of work. The very nature of your business may indeed be seasonal, if, for example, you’re a landscaper. On the other hand, your business may simply experience a natural ebb and flow. In either case, the fact is, sometimes you’re busy – and sometimes you’re not.

While you could look at this fact as a problem – becoming disheartened by your lack of income during these slow periods – a more productive way to view it is as an opportunity to prepare for and foster greater success.

When you’re immersed in working for your clients, you may not have time to do some of the other tasks that are important to the operation of your sidecar. A busy mechanic, for instance, may not have the opportunity to file paperwork, plan and execute an advertising campaign, clean and organize his shop and research new equipment or a larger garage facility. True, you don’t literally make money when you’re doing administrative or maintenance work but doing it is nonetheless a very important investment in your sidecar’s ‘big picture.’

Since you’re responsible for doing it all, you have to look at ‘down time’ as a blessing in disguise. Instead of allowing it to discourage you, think of it as a normal part of your sidecar’s life cycle. The key to surviving the slow times is to keep them in perspective and to make the most out of them.

Keep yourself motivated and invested in your business with the same enthusiasm and dedication you give to your clients. These are the times when it’s your business itself that is your client – serve it well and it will in turn bring you more business.

Here’s how to utilize the opportunity having some time on your hands presents for your business’ ultimate benefit:

  • Clean up. Use the downtime to make certain that your business’ ‘house’ is in order. Is there equipment to clean or maintain? Routine service that should be performed? Paperwork to be completed? These time-consuming, important things are often impossible to attend to when we’re busy working. Catch up on as much housekeeping as possible so things will run smoother when you’re busy again.
  • Organize – Take the opportunity to evaluate how your business operates. Make lists of things that need to be done. Are there processes that could or should be streamlined? Do you need to implement a new system or some new equipment? This is a good time to familiarize yourself with new aspects of your workflow – when it won’t slow things down with actual clients.
  • Plan ahead – Take a breath and think about where your business is headed. Without the buzz of work distracting you, consider where you’d like your sidecar to take you. Use this time to make a plan to get there – it will energize and inspire you.
  • Reach out – Utilize the extra time on your hands to uncover new clients. Finalize your marketing plan and implement it. Attend functions where you can network and expand your customer base.

The most difficult time to grow or deal with the existing growth of your business is while you’re actively working it. Prepare for and optimize that growth along the way during the inevitable lulls in your workload. Rather than wasted time, it will be time productively invested in the overall operation of your sidecar.

Sidecar Tuneup Tip: Down time doesn’t mean your business is slow – it means your business can refocus on other tasks that can ultimately make your sidecar go farther.

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