Taking time off from your business is going to happen eventually. It may from heading out of town for a much needed vacation, or an unexpected illness. Maybe you took some time off to improve your skills, to earn a new certificate or degree, or because you just plain needed a break.
Everyone needs a break from their business to stay refreshed and focused. The real issue is what do you do when you've been gone from the business for a while, and things are in need of some TLC?
Try things you have tried in a long time, or things that you never tried because you didn’t have to.
In any business, “goodwill” is the value that we give a company’s name, reputation, logo, customers, website and other similar intangible items. In the sale of a business, a value is placed on the goodwill of that business because that is one of the main things the new owner is buying.
In many cases, it is that ongoing goodwill that is the key to rebooting the business. After all, goodwill is called “goodwill” for a reason. When you run a business for a number of years, there are people who like you and who like doing business with you. So when restarting a business, the first and best thing you can do is tap into that:
1. Let Your Fingers do the Walking:
- Call your old customers. Let them know you are back in the game. Some will come back because they like working with you, others won’t because they moved on, but even in that case, they can help. Ask for referrals. Remind them why they liked working with you, explain your situation, and I bet some will help you build your business back up.
- Check in with your vendors. Vendors have a vested interest in seeing you succeed a second time. After all, once you do, presumably, you will buy more from them again. So see if they have any contacts and ideas that can help you grow your busies again. And make sure to let them know that you won’t forget who helped you get back on your feet.
- Remember the friends and family plan: As opposed to when you began your business, your people now know that you actually do know how to run a business. Therefore, asking for help and connections this time around should be easier.
2. Get the ‘ol startup attitude back: Remember when you began your business, how much you hustled? That is probably what you have to do again. Try things you have tried in a long time, or things that you never tried because you didn’t have to. Put together some new marketing ideas, start small, test, see what works, and go for it. Who knows, it just may be fun.
3. Link In: The common refrain from pundits like me these days is to ‘make sure to use social media!’ In actuality, while Facebook, Twitter, and Google + are fine and may help you in the long run, when re-starting a business, the one social media site that can be of most use is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is all about networking and helping. That is what you need now.
Check in with your LinkedIn network and let them know that you are back. Individually ask them to refer business to you. Use the search tool to see whom else you could meet in your network’s network.
And let me suggest further that for any of us in business, this question is a good reminder that having a plan in place for how to keep things running in your absence is smart. What sort of plan? It is really pretty simple. It would entail
- Having a written document that explains what needs to be done, every day, week, and month
- Having someone trained who is familiar with the duties outlined in the document
- Having that person legally able to handle things like banking and legal matters
- Having disability insurance so that you gets some income while out of the office
Getting back on the bicycle after some time away isn't really so hard to do. After all, you already know how to ride so you just have to climb aboard and do it.
Do you have a story of taking some time off from your business, and how you successfully got things back on track? Consider offering a guest post for the Self-Employed blog today!