4 rules for building your business toolbox

September 1, 2011

Late summer is a great time to revisit your business toolbox – your resources including skills, capabilities, even hardware and software… everything you use to keep your company ahead of the competition.

With clients taking last minute vacations or just getting back into the swing of things, this time of year offers ample opportunity for you to block off some thinking time about how you present your services.

What can you do during the downtime to make life easier when it gets busy again? Try following these four rules: learn, reassess, get ahead, and rest.


This is a great time to catch up on news in and around the industry you work in, says freelance writer Mariana Ashley. “By reading other people’s blogs or exploring various websites, you can find new place to seek for a job opportunity or new inspiration for other projects you have underway.” To this we’d add reading books and magazines that you may have wanted to read earlier, but didn’t have the time. What’s to stop you from grabbing a coffee and kicking back with a good website or trade journal?

Or consider working on your mad biz skillz. This is the perfect time to take a course or program to upgrade your capabilities. Want to learn more about search-engine optimization, shooting great videos, or using technology to manage your customer contacts better? You’ll be further ahead during the busy season if you take the chance to work on your skills when business is slow.


All too often, our best business ideas come to mind when we have absolutely no time to put them into practice. When the pace of work slows down, go back to those brilliant inspirations and give them the thought they deserve. You never know – that inkling you had for a potential new revenue stream may be just the thing to catapult your services into a new class.

You may also want to take a look at your social network. Is your LinkedIn page up-to-date? If you use Facebook for marketing and contacting potential clients and business partners, this is the time to make sure your information is current and accurate.

Get ahead

Many business owners run blogs to keep customers and partners up-to-date on projects and industry happenings. But feeding the blog beast can be a real chore when you’re stacked to the eyebrows with paying work. So slow periods can be the best time to write up a handful posts that you can use later on, says Matt Ward on the echo enduring blog.

The key here is to think ahead. “Don’t write an article about a recent event then save it for publication several months later,” Ward says. “By that time, it may seem stale and dated.”

Rest & Reflect

Planning is always important but it often gets short shrift when you’re busy. Prioritize making time to consider your business options, your direction, and the steps you need to take to get where you want to go. Try these tips for setting strategic business goals.

And by all means, take some time for yourself. Turn off the laptop for a few hours. Put the Blackberry away for a day. You never know when the next lull in business is going to happen, and if it’s been a while since your last slow period, you probably could use some time for yourself.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.