No matter what sector of business you are in, you will probably find that your work comes in ebbs and flows. You may experience a month or so where you are exceptionally busy – for example, if you work in retail, this could be around the festive period. But equally, you probably experience the occasional week or month where business seems to drop off the radar entirely, and you struggle to make ends meet. For the most part, this is natural and can be linked to some external factors, such as the time of year or a dip in the local economy. But if you find that it is happening quite regularly, you may need to take action. Regular sales lows can immediately hit your business for the worst, and you could even end up taking a loss at the end of the year as a direct result. This is the last thing any business owner wants to see in their annual reports, so it’s vital that you make a real push for business and traffic during these times. Here are a few steps you can take to help you manage the natural ebb and flow of business, so you can keep your company relevant at all times.
Devise a plan in advance
As the saying goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail. In business, you always need to be one step ahead of the game so that you can be ready for almost any eventuality. In some cases, this is merely common sense. The retail scenario mentioned above is a perfect example of this. If you run a retail business or an e-commerce website, you will probably find that your peak business time is around Christmas. Naturally, as a result of this, your sales are pretty likely to drop off in a big way immediately afterward, and you don’t have to work in retail or business to know that! Therefore, start planning what your strategy is going to be for January before the year is out. This could be a selection of discount offers or unleashing a much-coveted product you know your customers won’t be able to resist. But whatever it is, it’s all about timing; so make sure you get it right.
Up your marketing game
During a notoriously slow sales period, you may wonder if there is even any point in rolling out a big marketing campaign. After all, clients and customers often need a lot of persuasions, and if they don’t want to buy, they won’t buy, right? Wrong! As any business professional knows, there’s no such thing as a bad customer – only a not-up-to-par marketing campaign. The first thing to consider is whether you are going to focus on organic marketing or paid for marketing, or a combination of the two. In times of urgent need (such as in a sales lull), paid-for advert marketing is a pretty fail safe option. You may want to try outsourcing your Pay per click management, so it’s something you can put on the backburner once this sales period is over. If you are going to go down the organic advertisement route, make sure you have a crack team of marketing experts around you, as you will need a campaign that gets people talking.
Cut your overheads
Your priority during a sales lull should be to do all you can to get the business back on track and over the hump, with plenty of positive action. However, if times are extremely tough economically, you may have to rethink your approach slightly. Take a look at your company’s outgoings and find out what you could cut back on for at least this short period, to save money. If you’ve got into the habit of using company money as part of a ‘social fund’ for your staff, perhaps put your weekly Friday night drinks on hold until you are back in the black again. Or, make a detailed assessment of things such as your office energy bills. The vast majority of offices waste a lot of power and therefore money every week, just due to simple things like paying for a tariff they don’t need, or leaving computers on standby. Issue a message around your staff to be vigilant with things like lights, water and running office equipment. It might seem petty to you at first, but rectifying these issues could benefit your company in the long term too.