With summer winding down and fall quickly approaching, your small business may be approaching your off season. Seasonal shifts in business are a reality for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, and there is no secret sales plan or magical marketing strategy that can defy the seasons or the laws of nature. For example, if you own and operate a ski slope, then it’s impossible to keep snow on the ground in the summer. However, even if you can’t do anything to reverse a slow period or an off season, that doesn’t mean that you should take a break from being an entrepreneur. In fact, your slow season may present new and potentially lucrative ways to reconnect with customers and reestablish business relationships.
A Seasonal Roller Coaster
If your small business experiences seasonal upswings and downswings, chances are that your professional life becomes a roller coaster ride as well. When your business is “on” during a busy period, your primary focus is to both sell and service your existing business. Everything else may just have to fall by the wayside, especially if an aspect of your business hinders your ability to take full advantage of your existing business and customers.
Reassess And Regroup
As your busy season or period winds down, it’s only natural that you and your employees may be mentally or even physically exhausted and on the verge of burning out, and taking a break is only natural. However, this time can also be used to catch up on correspondence and business relationships that “fell by the wayside” in the preceding months, such as emails, social media contacts, and mail. Use your downtime to catch up with existing customers, business acquaintances, and potential customers. Leverage every lead and contact you have in order to generate and nurture new or existing customer relationships and business partnerships before your business begins to wind up again for the next seasonal upswing.
In the middle of your peak season, your business may be popular with both locals and tourists alike, and when everyone is breaking down your door, there’s often no need to distinguish between these different types of customers. Depending on the nature of your business, an off season can be very different as it becomes vitally important to leverage the opportunities you do have to generate business or even just goodwill in your community. If your off season represents a collapse of your business to the point that you operate under reduced hours or even temporarily close, consider ways you could organize local events, parties, or special “exclusive” events and temporary sales during your off season. Even if these activities result in little or no revenue, the goodwill you generate in the community can result in a boost to your business, including indirect but invaluable referrals through positive word of mouth.
Reconsider Your Resources
Finally, consider ways you can leverage your existing resources during a slow season into new opportunities. This can be as simple as altering your off-season schedule or as complex as adapting an entirely new business strategy. If you have enough resources to comfortably weather the slower months, and if you believe that altering your brand or business could dilute or even damage your existing brand, then you may not need to do anything special for your off season. However, if you find yourself struggling to maintain the viability of your business during a slower period, consider leveraging your resources such as a brick and mortar storefront or developing an entirely new product line in order to generate new sources of revenue.