Every business can experience one or more slow seasons, but experiencing them doesn’t have to have negative consequences. If you can anticipate any down cycles, you can adjust costs and make changes to level out your revenue stream.
As you create a business plan for 2020, let’s review a few ways you can anticipate and manage through slow seasons.
Find the patterns
To help withstand the slow periods, first, you have to be prepared for them.
What are the predictable pauses? Maybe right after the holidays there’s a major drop off for your business. Perhaps the change in season causes changes in customer traffic? Is it possible that right after a big sale, your store gets a lot more returns than new business? Look back at your data for any patterns that can be tied to a specific event.
How are your leads shaping up? Are there a lot of:
- Potential clients that haven’t given you a yes or no.
- Hot leads that have grown cold.
- Leads that haven’t been re-engaged.
If so, is this a sign of a coming slowdown?
What’s the buzz in your business communities? Insights from industry publications, peer blogs, and local chamber of commerce can help you see red flags. If they’ve been through this before, their advice is invaluable!
Use the downtime wisely
Once you identify the signs of a slowdown, make a plan to have it work for you, not against you.
- Adjust your budget: Make sure you’re setting aside enough cash to keep operations alive during those dips in revenue.
- Create excitement for your next peak: Just because the business is going through a slow period, doesn’t mean you should be dormant in your marketing. This is the perfect time to create buzz for any upcoming event or sale. Use social media to keep up your interactions with your customers.
- Find ways to save money: Should you make adjustments to your inventory? Is it appropriate to consider seasonal and temporary staffing? Should you be open fewer hours to save on operational costs? If you have enough data to make these kinds of decisions, it’s worth implementing them.
But before you do anything drastically different for a slowdown….
- Don’t panic: Cris Burnam, President of StorageMart, is correct when he says that ‘”the wrong thing to do during a slowdown is to make radical changes that only provide for short-term gain.” Coupons, sales, and downsizing may not be the best solutions and could harm your business in the long run.
This leads me to the best way you can use your downtime wisely…
- Visit with your bookkeeper/CPA: We are here to help you review the books, identify coming slowdowns, and decide what slow season cost-saving ideas make sense.
Best of all, a visit with us this year will help you better prepare for the next, so you can concentrate on staying profitable all year long and in the years to come.