Almost every business has a slow season. Ice cream shops go slow during the winter, while tax preparers and other businesses have less work in the Summer. No matter what your business is, you need a period of time for work to slow down.
Slow seasons are actually a good thing. It’s an opportunity for you to focus on how your business is structured and plan out any changes. The busy season leaves you no room for reorganizing or adjusting your business. That’s why the slow season should actually be a busy time to look at your business and make decisions on how to move forward.
The slow season gives you lots of opportunities to improve your business. Here are 4 tips on making the best of your slow season.
Most businesses rely on machines (even if it’s just your laptop) in order to run. Whether you work alone in your home or run a retail store, you have machines that need regular maintenance.
The slow season is a great time for looking through everything you have and checking to make sure they are all running smoothly. Many small businesses end up failing because they manage to lose equipment they need and weren’t prepared to lose. Having a period where you can conduct maintenance on your machinery saves you a lot of money in the long run.
It’s not just physical maintenance you need to worry about, but financial maintenance as well. You need to make sure that your business can handle an audit from the IRS at any time. The best way to be prepared is by conducting a self-audit.
Spending time with your business expenses and making sure everything is accounted for properly is critical for providing security and stability to your business. Not conducting a self-audit is kind of like driving without a seatbelt in that you could still be safe, but should something go wrong, you could end up severely damaged.
Develop New Products or Services
Any business should spend time making sure everything they offer is up-to-date and effective. The slow season is a great time for looking at what you offer, and see where you can add new things to sell or to improve on why you already offer.
Your competitors are always thinking of ways to get ahead, and if you aren’t constantly innovating what you have to offer, you will fall behind.
Even the best products or services can’t be enough to save a failing business if there is not clear organization and efficient workflows throughout your business. You should always have some time dedicated to taking a big picture view of your business structure and making sure that it’s as efficient as it can be.
One example is trying to figure out if you have enough employees or if you need to hire more. Taking a little bit of time to find out how many people are working long hours can help you make that decision, but if you’re too busy just trying to catch up with customers, those kinds of decisions tend to fall off.
You also want to look at how responsibilities are structured and making sure that everyone knows what they need to do, are comfortable with their workloads, and are being efficient with their time. This may require you looking at data from your busy season and reflecting on how well it went. If you don’t have this data, then the slow season is a great time to get measures in place so that you can collect all the data you need.
The slow season is a very important time for any business. Having a little bit of room to focus internally rather than externally is what keeps your business happy, healthy, and efficient.