The Dreaded Off-Season: The time when everything slows down. It arrives every year, and you’ve come to expect it. You can’t stop it from coming any more than the Grinch could stop Christmas from coming to Whoville, right?

But what if you were prepared for it this year? What if you decided to take action and make the most of it? What if you stopped thinking of it as a slower season and started thinking of it as a different season?

Instead of throwing up your hands because the phones aren’t ringing and there’s nothing you can do about it, dive into some of the things you can do something about. You know all of those things you’ve been meaning to do, but never seem to have time for during the busy season? Now you’ve got the time – so get focused and get to work!

Here are 5 great things to spend the slow season on for a better business and a better year…

#1 Make SOPs & Delegate

As the business owner, there’s nothing you don’t have your hands in. You may have time now, but during the busy season, you’re swamped. Now’s the time to help your future self out. Think about the things you’d like to get off of your plate and create SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for these tasks.

SOPs will allow you to explain how to perform these tasks to your standards, once and for all, so you can pass these duties on to other members of your team. Once you’ve written these out, think about which team members you can delegate the tasks to. Since business is slower than usual, you’ll be able to spend more time going over the SOPs, answering any questions, and training your staff to take over some of these tasks.

#2 Train & Educate

On the topic of training, is there something your team could improve upon? Why not spend some time during the off-season investing in your team, training them, and helping them perfect their craft and add to their arsenal of skills? Even if you don’t have the resources to take your employees to an industry convention or bring an educator to your business, your team can still be learning.

Is one of your techs a master at upselling? Ask her if she’d be willing to spend some time sharing her methods, thought-processes, and techniques. Does one of your techs excel at a specific technical service? Let him share his expertise and train the rest of the team. Ultimately, you’ll have a better, more well-rounded team that delivers better services as a result.

#3 Solicit Customer Reviews

Now that you’ve got some time on your hands, why not contact customers you served in the last 6 months and ask them to write an online review for your business? Explaining how vital word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews are for your business will remind your customers just how important they are. It will also put you back at the forefront of their minds, and may even rack up some additional business for you. Cha-ching!

Psst. Tools like GatherUp can make getting reviews and feedback from customers simple and straightforward.

#4 Review Customer Feedback

Speaking of reviews, have you gone back through your negative reviews and customer feedback from last busy season? Were there any customer complaints or issues that kept popping up? Use this time to look at weak points in your service and company and think on how you can improve. This will help prevent some of that negative feedback from following you into the next season.

#5 Make Changes For Increased Productivity

Do you remember hearing your techs complain about warehouse setup and organization or flaws in procedures when getting ready for the day last busy season? Why not rethink things? Ask your techs how you can improve your space and procedures to make the start of the day easier and more productive – then make those changes. It may take some time (which you’ve got) and careful thought, but if it makes things run seamlessly, even on your busiest days, it’s well worth it.

Slow Season = Grow Season

Remember, what you do when business slows down is just as essential to your business’ success as what you do during the busy season. So don’t think of it as the “slow” season, think of it as the “grow” season – the time when you work on perfecting things so you can grow faster and be even better when those phones start ringing again.