When business is slow, it's important to take note of what may have changed recently (analyzing trends) and what was going on in your business last year at this time (year over year comparisons). Looking at the data can help you realize whether your slow down is a result of the natural progression of your business or the result of changes to your business or the overall market. If you're unsure about changes that you've made recently or about something going on in the market, ask your customers how they feel about those new services or the restructured pricing that you implemented. If you've recently changed your product assortment and the feedback is positive, your customers might just need time to catch up with you and realize that you have new items available. You can promote your new items both within and outside your typical channels to provide exposure for those new items and a little boost to your overall website traffic. If on the other hand, the feedback is negative, you will know that you made a misstep and you need to course correct. Get your brand back on track quickly, apologize to your customers, and invite them to give you another try once you're confident that the problems are resolved.
If you run a cyclical or seasonal business, you will naturally experience periods of growth alternating with slower times. Summer is traditionally a slow time for both products and service businesses. When you know that business will be slower, that is the perfect time to test and change your systems and processes to improve them with minimal customer disruption. With fewer customers that will be immediately impacted by your changes, you can adjust your onboarding or ordering process to improve your overall efficiency and help you respond to more customers and clients when business picks up again. When you do test new improvements, take the time to ask your current customers how the new process works for them. That feedback from a few customers will help you determine whether these changes can be implemented long-term for all of your customers and clients. Ideally, you want to put all of your new systems and processes in place before your business picks up again so that your new customers do not straddle between the old and new systems.
Finally, whether your sales are slow as a result of the natural cycle of your business or changes in your assortment, maintain your focus. When business is slow, it's easy to lose focus and get distracted by shiny objects or to avoid working because you don't want to deal with slow sales. Instead, make the most of this time. You can edit your marketing plan and create or update your strategy for 2017. Create content in advance. Source new distributors or vendors for your backup items. Learn to use the full functionality of your payment provider or accounting software. Do the work that you don't have time to do when your phone starts ringing again.
Still not sure how to make the most of your downtime? Reach out. We can help.