Image courtesy of Raya Amyuni Hindi
Image courtesy of Raya Amyuni Hindi
If you run a business that sells gloves of ice-cream, then you will notice a huge variation in sales depending on the time of year. You would also notice the same thing if you sold Christmas cards or Easter eggs and it could have an effect on the way that you do business. However, even if you do not sell something that is obviously seasonal, you may still see some trends across different times of the year and you need to know how to manage that.
To start with it is important to recognise what trends there are in your business. If you have been trading at least a year then you will be able to take a look at the accounts and track when sales were high and low. The longer that you have been trading the more information you will have to be able to compare. You may notice things like sales increasing near to the holiday season or sales decreasing in school holidays when people are more likely to be on holiday than spending money. There are many possibilities and recognising the trends is an important place to start.

There may not be significant difference, but if there are, it is a good start to your planning. You may be able to think of reasons for those changes, which are not seasonal, perhaps price changes that you enforced or things like that so consider whether the changes are seasonal or not. If you think that they are, you may not be able to explain why, but it does not really matter, you just need to make sure that you use the information wisely.
Knowing when sales and high and low will help you with your stock control. You will be able to prepare for times when sales are high by making sure that you have lots of stock available and vice versa for when sales are low. You may also be able to control staffing levels at that time – if changes in sales are significant then taking on temporary staff members when it is busy means that you can easily let them go when it is quiet.

You can also plan your workload around these times. When it is quieter that is a good time for you to have time off or even take a holiday, get your accounts up to date, do some research, consider expansion plans and things like that. Although you may do things like this all the year round, it could be useful to know when you have more time to do them and plan around that. If you have quiet times which are putting a strain on profits, then it could be a good idea to think about whether you can sell something else which will do better at this time of the year. This may mean branching out into something completely different or it could mean that you will need to think of a way to increase sales of your item all the year round.