Don’t Focus on competition
For much of the country, winter means freezing temperatures, piles of snow and icy winds. People hunker down and cuddle around heaters for warmth. Winter months can be hard on everyone, including small businesses. Whether people are hiding from the cold, attending holiday events or being frugal after excessive holiday spending, they’re not visiting your business or requesting your professional services. During the winter months, many businesses and entrepreneurs experience a lull in sales and consumer traffic. Fortunately, you are not the first person to deal with a business slump. There are lots of ideas available to help you through the slow months.
Make a plan
If you’ve noticed that sales typically drop below normal in the winter months, make a plan for your business during those weeks. It’s normal for a business to go through high and low periods. Your business will be more successful overall if you look at the bigger picture and plan accordingly. Manage your yearly budget so that the finances you earn when you’re flourishing are available to balance out the slow months.
Cut your spending
When your business is hurting, cut expenses. Take a realistic look at your budget and decide what your business can do without for a few weeks or months. Maybe you can wait to replace those dated light fixtures or the squeaking floor boards. These decisions should be practical, but not excessive. If you try and save money by turning down the lights, consumers might think you’re closed and be turned away.
Planning for your business to move forward during periods of low consumer traffic is smart, but don’t anticipate problems. Business owners who assume that there will be a dramatic fluctuation in sales create their own misfortune. If you use a lull in revenue to become idle with your business promotions, it will only contribute to the slowdown. Actively pursing ways to engage consumers during slow business periods supports your bottom line.
Take advantage of the slowdown
If your business regularly experiences a slowdown in the winter months, take advantage of it. Use this time to update your store with a fresh coat of paint or tackle that project you haven’t had time for. Engage with your internal publics and boost employee relations. Review your systems and protocols. Evaluate your business plan for the new year. Just because business is slow, doesn’t mean you’re not working. Downtime is a great opportunity for you to strengthen your business for the coming months. Using your slow periods to your advantage will set you up for success during the busy season.
Engage on social media
Don’t freeze on your social media engagement when business gets slow. This is a great opportunity for your business to build consumer relationships with current and potential clients. Update your business accounts across each social media platform with the latest photos, employee bios and company profile. Spend more time thinking of creative content that will resonate with consumers. Promptly respond to questions and comments from customers. When business is slow, an active social media presence will engage consumers and attract their business.
Seasonal promotions and targeted messages are another way your business can move forward through a slowdown. Figure out exactly who your consumers are, and from there you’ll discover the most effective way to reach them. Based off of this information you can strategize about what deals and offers would entice people into doing business with you. Maybe hosting a special event is how you reach your consumer audience. If you do a little research, you’ll be more successful attracting consumers.
Many businesses and entrepreneurs experience a lull in revenue during the winter months. If you are facing a slowdown, there are many options to keep your business moving forward. Whether consumers are staying in to avoid the cold or are stressed about finances after holiday spending, you will have to work harder to draw people into your store during the winter months. Bundle up and get creative with your winter business strategy.