Slow Times In Business

There comes a time when every business experiences a slow time. Depending on the type of business this could be a very big problem or it could be the time of the year.

Let’s imagine you are operating a restaurant, which has been open to the general public for a couple of years. In those first few years you had a lot of support from family and friends, with the expectation they would refer new customers to your restaurant.

Slowly there was a decline in the daily customers coming along to enjoy lunch or dinner. Your revenue was suffering and you knew that if something did not change you would be out of business before years end.

What could you have done to be more aware that your marketing was not reaching the customers you wanted and your sales had plummeted?

It is difficult as a relatively new business owner to keep an eye open for any challenge, especially if you are working completely alone, or rely on a partner of sorts to assist you. But the reality is you have to be prepared to do all of the work involved in running a business including measuring the success of all of the tasks involved.

  • Family and friends are wonderful when they support you, but don’t rely on them forever.
  • Offer a reward of sorts to your referrers, whether they are family, friends or new customers not known to you before. A coupon for a free refreshment. A points card so that when a customer has accumulated enough points by purchasing a certain amount of meals they are entitled to a free meal.
  • Don’t spend any money on advertising until you know the demographics of your would-be customers. Some people prefer to read the flyer pushed through their door, others prefer to read online advertising. Ask trusted businesses owners how they advertise, and the success of their advertising strategies.
  • Measure the performance of your business with key metrics each month, such as the number of customers who use your restaurant, etc.

The above tips have to have a strategy connected to them, it’s about being aware. None of the above ideas work if you are not systematic and only check on the facts and figures now and then.

If your business is slow because your target market are also experiencing a slow time due to the time of the year, i.e. Summer or other such related time of the year, then this is a chance for you to play catch up.

Your revenue is not declining, you have planned ahead for these slow times, but what do you do when these slow times occur?

  • Check your business plan and goals; do you need to add something that will compliment your business in the future?
  • Do you need to purchase any new equipment, or IT related software, new laptops. Research and ask questions before moving forward.
  • Refresh your advertising, marketing, social media, anything that showcases your brand. Customers are getting tired of seeing the 'same old'.
  • Attend more networking events that may offer you a chance to gain new clients, or education that will assist you in your business.
  • Book that holiday you did not have time for.

Slow times, when you have planned ahead for them are a great way to plan, prepare and prioritize for the busy times ahead, and of course adds to your 5-year plan.

The most important thing to remember is to ask yourself questions, such as why is my business not as busy as it was? The alternative is that your business has become even busier. In both cases being aware of changes in your business allows you to work on solutions. Don’t leave it too late or you could find you are overwhelmed, or in the worse possible case, no longer in business.