Beat the small business blues

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One of the toughest things about starting a new small or medium sized business, especially an online startup, is that it can be disheartening to go days, weeks or months without any action - conversions or new customers. This can serously affect cash flow, not to mention morale.

At times like this, it's easy to give way to worry - "How am I going to cover the payroll? Will the lights go out?", and so on. But this is when it most important to put your head down and get on with productive work. After all, problems are things you see when your eyes aren't on the prize... I know, I know; easier said than done!

Here's a list of things that you can do to positively affect your situation when things are going slow:

1. Get blogging

I know this is probably the last thing you feel like doing when it seems like no-one cares. But, if you take the position that blogging is marketing, and you have set things up properly so that blog posts can be shared socially, you will find that blogging often has one of the highest Returns on Investment, ROI, in the long run.

By taking the opportunity to contribute to your site's SEO and PageRank, you build a reservoir of quality content that will serve you in the future when you might not have as much time on available.

2. Write expert articles

Writing expert articles in your niche is something you should do regularly. Again, when things are slow, this is a perfect opportunity to show off what you can do (it's the next best thing to being paid for actually doing it).

Writing expert articles or guest blogs helps to get your name out there. A potential customer might read the article and come looking for you. You never know.

3. Solicit customer testimonials

Nothing breeds success like success itself. Take this time to find past or present customers and get them to share their thoughts on your blog, site, products or services. Plaster these up on your site so that people coming to read your blog can see that you are succesful... or at least succesfully satisfying customer requirements.

If you think customers would be willing to write a review of your site or service, why not ask them? One of the best ways to get new business remains word of mouth.

4. Make new contacts

With a clear schedule, why not take a bit of time to look into who the players in your industry are. Find out about them. See who's nearby. Find out if there are meetups, gatherings or events that you can attend. Go network.

By increasing the number and range of connections you have in an industry, you increase the chances of making strategic collaborations or simply having a new friend send business your way.

5. Find ways to motivate

Don't slip into despair and toy with the idea of giving up. Have faith in your abilities and what you are doing. Having confidence is something that shines through and puts potential customers and clients at ease. Being disheartened and desperate does the opposite.

The moral of the story is really to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Take the bad times and use them to aggresively market, network, grow your reach, reputation, visibility and move forward. It's not easy, I'll admit; but if it was, everyone would be a millionaire.