Most businesses have slow seasons or times of the year that just aren’t as busy as others. One example is the retail industry. Summer is often a time when retail-based small businesses see a slow down because their customers are often on vacation or enjoying the outdoors and not necessarily thinking about shopping as much.
These slowdowns can have an enormous impact on business, and you can see that as you research seasonal stock trends, and discern just what an economic impact the time of year can have on a business.
So if you’re a small business, how can you survive your slow times?
As mentioned above, one of the reasons a lot of businesses and in particular retail businesses tend to slow down in the summer is because all their would-be customers are outside enjoying the warm weather. So why not take your business to them?
There are a couple of ways you can do this, including participating in local, seasonal events and festivals or hosting your own outdoor event.
You want to put yourself front and center in plain sight of customers and clients, which can mean getting outdoors as much as possible during warm weather months.
If you’re a veteran in your industry, you may already recognize the importance of being prepared and understanding seasonal trends, but if you’re a new business, doing some research can go a long way. Go back years or even decades and look at general industry trends in your business.
This will help you better prepare for a potential seasonal slowdown, and then you’ll be more equipped to manage things like cash flow if it does occur.
Also important is to consider the potential for a slow season when you’re developing your yearly plan. As you’re setting up projections for revenue and your goals, think about what peaks and valleys might occur, and prepare for the worst when you’re doing that.
A lot of businesses will suffer during downturns because they try to hide it from their vendors and their bank, as well as investors and other people they have money-based relationships with. Rather than trying to hide it and stay afloat, be open and honest about your situation.
Everyone around you will appreciate it, and you won’t lose them when times are a little tough. If you’re honest and upfront you may even be able to negotiate on some things with your vendors and suppliers.
If you’re prepared for your slow season, you can look at it as a very good time to get organized and be better prepared for when business picks back up again. Slow times are ideal for performing an audit of your business, and analyze what’s working and what isn’t.
You can make sure that you are operating in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible, and evaluate how your employees are doing. If your staff could benefit from additional training, this is a great time to do that as well.
Look at slow times as having their own unique value in terms of strengthening your business.
Slow times are tough, but preparation is key to surviving them and using them as an opportunity to thrive.