As a small business owner, you’re going to encounter many bumps in the road such as a lack of capital, disgruntled employees, and increased competition. One hurdle many business owners don’t think of often is off-season lows. Whether your business is seasonal or not, you’re going to experience periods of time when your business slows down and sales trends decrease.
But just because you’re not working 10 to 12-hour days doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. After all, when you’re a small business owner, there is no such thing as taking a day off. You should think creatively and use these “quiet” moments to rejuvenate and really think about your plan. Because next month you won’t have time to brainstorm and develop new strategies -- you’ll be too busy ringing up holiday sales.
Below are several ways you can make the most of your off-season:
1. Offer Special Promotions
Off-season is the perfect time to offer up special promotions to those savvy shoppers who take advantage of off-peak deals. If you have more than one product or service, you might consider bundling them at a discounted price to help attract consumers and generate more small business sales.
2. Visit Tradeshows
When you’re elbow-deep in paper work during peak season, you don’t often have the time to travel to tradeshows. During your off-season, however, you have time to hit up the expo circuit, which allows you to network with others within your respective industry, generate high-quality leads, spread awareness about your brand, and hopefully generate some buzz.
3. Introduce New Technology
It’s common for small businesses to hold off on installing new technology—such as a phone system or a new email marketing platform—because they think that it will disrupt the normal flow of business. During your off-season, however, things are much slower, making it the perfect time to work out the kinks.
4. Create a Rewards Program
A great way to boost your small business sales is to launch a rewards program. For example, “buy one solution and upgrade to premium for 50% off” or “buy X product and get three free premium features.” These types of deals can substantially increase sales because it encourages prospects to spend more with you. It can also give you a leg up on the competition that might not offer similar programs.
5. Clean Your Marketing Database
If you don’t regularly cleanse your marketing database, chances are it’s riddled with outdated and/or inaccurate business contacts, which can negatively impact the effectiveness of your sales and marketing campaigns. During your downtime, take the time to scrub your marketing database of old business contacts that no longer fit your target market. Doing so will help ensure you start fresh when business speeds up again. (Hoover’s free Data Health Scan can help with that.)
There’s no doubt that your business will experience off-season lows. Rather than take this time to rest, use it to your advantage and help plan for the long-term by implementing some of the suggestions listed above. After all, it’s rare that you have time to do much of anything when running a small business.
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