Slowing Down for Summer
Unless you’ve got a business that caters to the holiday herds, chances are you’re going to notice a slowdown of activity from Christmas through to as late as the end of February. So how do you protect yourself against the inevitable summer slowdown? Read on to discover some useful tips and strategies on planning, foresight, and careful management, to help you get through until business picks up.
Master Your Budget
Planning is everything. Instead of waiting until the quiet season hits, look at how your business has performed in past years and take the seasonal fluctuations into account when making your yearly budget. Work out your bare minimum operating costs every month and make sure you have set aside some of the money you earn during busy times to pay for expenses when your cash flow is reduced.
Knowledge is power. Gather as much information about your business as you can – look back on your financials to see exactly when those quiet periods are, research your competitors, know your industry. The more information you have, the more prepared you can be.
Once you have figured out your bare minimum operating costs, you then need to look at where you can cut costs further. Maybe you can reduce business hours and staffing, cut back on advertising, reduce storage costs, talk to your power and internet supplier about a reduced rate for a few months. Although be careful and don’t cut back too much that it might make it difficult to pick back up when the quiet period ends. It’s a good idea to talk to your accountant for advice on where you can afford to cut back and what you need to keep up.
Perfect Your Timing
Planning to survive, and even thrive during the slow season requires some creative thinking and attention to timing. Before the lull arrives, put in some extra effort to sell off some stock or lock-in future contracts to create revenue that will keep you afloat. Leveraging your existing clients by offering exclusive deals and promotions for them to take advantage of during those months is a great way to increase sales right before a lull. As the quiet season draws to an end, consider an aggressive, early marketing campaign to beat the competition and draw in new customers. Offer promos for early sign-up and emerge from the slow season with some forward momentum.
Expand Your Offerings
Not all businesses have to experience a slow down over the summer months. Is there a way you can broaden or diversify your products and services to avoid a slump? Though it may not be achievable for all business types, apply some creative thinking to identify what complementary services you can introduce that will be in demand at this time of year. Be mindful though that you and your staff will need a break, so don’t go too crazy and offer more than you can deliver.
The silver lining of a business slowdown is that it is the perfect time to get to all those things you never find time to do when it is busy. Use the time wisely to evaluate your business plan, review processes, see what is working and what needs improving, research innovations in the industry, look at your branding and marketing strategies – all those juicy things that are essential to growing your business.
You can also use the time to tidy things up from a busy year. Finish off any filing, tidy out the office and organise your desk. Get ahead on that pesky admin work and come up with an awesome plan of action for the year ahead. And make sure you take that much-needed break so that you can relax and recharge!
If you would like to know how you can prepare for quiet seasons in your business, then get in touch with us here at Accountants Plus. We will be able to provide you with lots of great advice to get through and strengthen your business for when things pick back up again.