12 May 5 Solid Tips on Staying Profitable After the Holiday Season
With Christmas, New Year’s and even Chinese New Year’s coming to an end in January, most businesses would expect their profit to slow down and become a little less active. This is even more obvious for seasonal businesses, for example, Christmas tree decorations, firecrackers, and Chinese New Year cookies.
But just because your business is going through an off-season phase, it does not mean that you have to slow down with it.
Here are some ideas to fill in the low-profit months productive for you.
1. Find other niches
Your business might be “seasonal” to the majority, but certain niches may have windows of opportunities all year round.
For example, if you sell fireworks, your typical busiest period would likely be the weeks around New Year and Chinese New Year. But it may be worth finding a market for customers who need fireworks beyond those celebrations. With Ramadan upcoming in April, you can also take this opportunity to package these items in festive colours and packaging for Ramadan and try to promote your product to this atypical group.
Worst-case scenario, you sell a little, which is better than nothing until the next peak period, and best- case scenario, you have become the brand that this new group of people associates with for their festivities.
2. Diversify your business offerings
Your sales don’t have to come to a complete halt
during off-seasons. No matter what type of
business you own, there is bound to be a way to
expand beyond your current market. In fact, the
slower times of the year are the best to channel
your lumpsum earnings to strategize for expansion
One common item which peaks in sales for
Chinese New Year is the Chinese Meat Jerky, more
often known as Bak Kwa (肉干). Since this food
item is commonly made with pork, you might want
to consider opening a sub-company which makes
Halal versions of it so that you can appeal to a
larger market apart from just Chinese New Year.
3. Find smart ways to manage money
If the business is really slow during the off-season, perhaps you can consider taking steps to reduce your spending.
When store activity is on the quiet side, consider reducing your staffing. This can be achieved either by only hiring extra help for the holiday seasons or encouraging team members to take time off.
Another aspect to consider if to reduce hours of operation to only the most profitable times, either by shortening opening times or days open.
One other thing to note that people often miss is to look at your vendor or solution providers to see if you can downgrade to a lower plan for the time being.
The key is to be smart with your money management, but not frugal!
4. Solidify your presence
Ask past customers to review your business online, like and share your social media pages, and sign up for promotional newsletters. Contact satisfied clients and ask them if they are interested in referring your products or services to someone else for a reward, such as coupons or discounts.
People may not be ready to spend money on Christmas gifts in July, but they would still be open to winning them. Use a contest to collect email address and you’ll easily build your list of leads for the busy seasons. A bonus from that is that you’ll gain reach and engagement.
Want another example? Use this time to plan your marketing campaigns early, for instance, plan your Diwali advertisement video and photoshoots way before it’s even close to the season. This is a smart trick to keep your hands free for the business aspect when the celebration comes closer as you’ve already got marketing materials in hand and ready to go.
5. Evaluate your business’ performance and plans
Off-peak seasons are the perfect time to assess the performance of your company last season. Ask yourself and your team: What went well? What needed fixing? Are there any trends that we should take note of for the upcoming peak period? Concretize the results and determine how you want to move forward from now on.
Some of the things you should look into are:
Staff: Did you have enough hands to handle customers during the busy months? Did any of them shine or underperform?
Inventory: Which items sold out faster than you could restock? Which one got the most returns and complaints? Is there a need to introduce a new product next time?
Maintenance: Are there any wear and tear from the busy period that needs fixing? Are there any renovation issues that may affect the store presentation?
Your business may be seasonal, but your commitment shouldn’t be. Every single day can be put to good use in order to have a business that is constantly growing and profitable.