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Many small businesses experience a lull in customer activity shortly after the holidays. The slowest point is typically the week between Christmas and New Year’s, largely because it’s such a popular time to go on vacation. But being a successful business owner means being opportunistic, as opposed to taking a break like everyone else. This slow period could very well be the best time to begin mapping out the initial steps to growing your small business in 2019. These are the tasks you’re always trying to get to but cannot because you’re so busy with your usual day-to-day routine.

Here are 4 growth-related small business tasks to take care of after the holidays:

1. Review Numbers

No surprise here. The first step of any significant business endeavor is studying data. You’ll never feel 100% secure about a growth initiative (especially a costly one) unless you can tell yourself that your decision was based on numbers, and numbers don’t lie. In addition to your overall financial health, studying data will reveal the areas where you should cut down on spending, where you should consider spending more, and what direction your business needs to take in order to increase profitability. No, it doesn’t take much time to look over three of four documents at the end of the month. What takes time is comparing this month’s information to the past few months and figuring out what changes to make.

During normal or busy periods, business owners might avoid reviewing all this information because they already have so much their plates and are therefore unable to take action. But now that you finally have some open space in your day, you can’t say you’re too busy to face the truth and actually do something about what you see.

2. Develop A Marketing Plan

When you aren’t actively selling your products or services, a sensible way to spend your time is making sure as many people as possible know your products or services exist. Besides, slow periods are followed by busy periods, and research has shown that it can take several months for a marketing campaign to impact someone’s shopping decisions. But before launching a campaign, you need to make a multi-layered plan that is supported by considerable data. This plan should entail how a potential customer goes from knowing nothing about your business to making a purchase. Odds are, the bulk of your time will be devoted to determining whether to focus on social media, email, Google ads, etc.

Since sales might be slow or stagnant over the next few weeks, you might want to look into financing your campaign with a small business loan. Banks and other traditional business lenders tend to only approve applicants that are in their peak sales season. Companies like United Capital Source, on the other hand, work with myriad businesses that are prone to occasional rough patches or cyclical dips in revenue. This is because we offer numerous programs that lack the fixed, monthly payments of business term loans or repayment structures that require a certain portion of the debt be paid back within a certain time frame.

3. Look In To Small Business Loans

No reputable business lender would dare claim that it shouldn’t take long to find the right small business loan for you. After determining how much money you should request, you must then figure out which business funding program’s terms make the most sense for your desired investment as well as which business lender is capable of best fulfilling your other needs. What better time to start this process then now? Each decision will likely be based on your financial future, or whether you’re about to enter a slow, busy, or rocky period. For example, while a business line of credit is designed for occasional hiccups or cash flow gaps, a revenue based business loan (business cash advance) is geared towards elongated slow periods or more substantial investments.

Another factor to keep in mind when shopping for small business loans is how your repayment structure will affect your daily routine. In the coming months, do you intend to concentrate primarily on increasing revenue, or would you prefer more freedom to improve multiple elements of your business? The latter scenario might also apply to developing new revenue streams or new products or services.

4. Improve Online Content

If you’re not on vacation during the beginning of winter, you’re probably cooped up inside, surfing the web. Potential customers are actively searching for information or new interests. In other words, this is your opportunity to attract potential customers to your website or social media channels. Improving your online accessibility and overall image is especially crucial if your core products or services can be categorized (even loosely) as “lifestyle solutions.” People are trying to make changes in their lives and your business could very well fulfill one of their new goals.

Prioritizing the right tasks could make this traditionally slow period one of the most important of the year. After all, small business success often depends on what you do when the odds aren’t in your favor. You’ve got to put in the extra work when your competitors are taking time off. Yes, you are making a sacrifice but only one, and one you will certainly not regret at the same time in 2019.

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