Is Christmas one of your busiest times of the year? If so, you might be heading into one of your quietest periods – January and February. Even if this doesn’t apply to your business you might still have periods of time throughout the year where trade dips. How do you survive these quiet business periods, and how should you spend your time?
Surviving Quiet Business Months
This is all about planning, which means you should review things like your cash flow, staffing levels, and stock levels to ensure they are all optimised for a period of lower sales. You should consider putting a cash reserve aside to help you trade through lean months, but you should never panic. The best approach to dealing with quiet business periods is to make them as short as possible, and to use the time well.
Here are some things that you can do during quiet periods that will improve your business and help you take full advantage when sales start to pick up again.
- Take Some Time Off
It is important that you take time away from the business, and quiet periods are an ideal time. You can recharge your batteries, spend time with your family, and generally get ready for getting back into it when the time is right.
- Catch Up – 25%
For most people in business there are normally about 25% of tasks that don’t get done. These are tasks that are considered secondary priorities. In other words you would like to do them, but they get shunted down the priority list. A quiet business period gives you an opportunity to catch up. Here are some things you might have moved down the priority list that could be done now that it is quiet:
- Update your website or social media strategy
- Clean out your office or workspace
- Update your database and filing system
- Catch up on correspondence
- Develop New Ideas
Quiet periods give you the opportunity to plan diversification strategies, develop new products, or come up with new ideas.
- Build Relationships With Clients
Make sure you keep in touch with clients during quiet periods, even if they are not placing orders. You should continuously build your relationships so that you are front of mind when it comes time to make a purchasing decision.
- Chase Unpaid Invoices
Many people don’t like chasing unpaid invoices so it is easy to move the task down your priority list in favour of something that is more enjoyable. Quiet periods, however, should be used as times to get the money in.
- Create New Marketing Campaigns
Quiet months are also ideal for planning your medium-to-long term marketing strategy. You should make sure you have effective plans in place to take full advantage of the busy periods, getting as much work as possible done during the quiet months when you have time.
You should also develop and implement marketing strategies that help to shorten quiet periods. This could be through social media marketing, sales initiatives, or events.
- Evaluate Your Business
Make time to sit down with your accountant during quiet periods – when you are not under as much immediate pressure – to evaluate your business. Look at the strengths and weakness; evaluate initiatives, products, or services that have worked and those that haven’t; look at your cost base; evaluate your skills and staffing levels; etc. This will help you make good decisions to improve your business overall.
- Get Ready For The Upturn
Most importantly, make sure you are fully prepared for the time when sales increase. Don’t wait for the improvement in business to start placing orders, making decisions, or increasing staffing levels. These are examples of the sorts of things you should do – or at least plan – while you are quiet.
If you would like to talk to an advisor to help you plan for quiet months in your business please contact Gilroy Gannon today.