How to Survive a Slow Season in Business
There are certain times your business will have less activity and bring in less money. Depending on the type of product or service offered, this slowdown can last anywhere from a month to a few. As a business owner, it’s a good idea to be prepared for this natural cycle sooner rather than later. One of the best ways to keep your sanity during a slow season is by having a solid business plan in place.
Predicting the Slowdown
When developing a business plan, the first thing you need to think about is the type of clientele you expect to attract. This projection is made from the kind of good or service offered, and the peak time you believe it will be utilized. For example, if you own a landscaping business in the suburbs, your target customers are working people who don’t have time to keep up the yardwork. Outdoor businesses typically peak in the spring and summer. Therefore, your slow season is winter. You can shut down operations for the winter or come up with an alternate plan. Perhaps you can ask those same clients if they want you to plow sidewalks and driveways after it snows.
Once you determine the time or times your business will see a natural downturn, you can reduce your costs by starting the month before. You may minimize staff shifts, inventory and even hours. This reduction may help ease the lower revenue coming in during that time.
Reboot and Revamp
Throughout the year you may have had many ideas you wanted to implement, but there was never a good time to introduce something new or fix something when you were busy. During a slowdown, your business plan may be to step back and assess how things have been going. Will you be able to finally renovate the storefront or add more products to your inventory? A slower time allows you more time as a business owner to do some of the behind-the-scenes work required to grow. Offer staff training or upgrade technology during these slower seasons, so you are ready to ramp back up.
Keeping your business strong through a slowdown comes down to having a business plan that includes every possible scenario. Knowing when your business will start slowing down and having a plan to cut costs in advance are two things that will help you get through the rough patches. Having an alternative plan to stay busy during this time will also keep your business fresh and the profits rolling in.