While some businesses see seasonality as a negative phenomenon, some businesses can find an advantage amongst the challenge; small improvements made during your off-peak season can be used to drive higher sales once the next busy season begins.
Time to invest in staff
Developing an appropriate staff strategy not only allows you to keep track of how many people are required to be working in certain seasons but also ensures that you have the exact type of person working when you need them the most. It’s important to retain those staff who work best under pressure so once the off-peak season approaches, consider providing opportunities to your staff by training them in other areas, perhaps by giving them more responsibility or even ask them for suggestions they may have to improve the business. Investing more heavily in your staff is likely to result in higher productivity once the busy season rolls around again. Making the most of your staff and understanding them better will keep you (and them) happier and more productive.
Rethink stock control and supply chain strategies
All but the smallest businesses should be experimenting with innovative stock control and supply chain strategies, and the off-season provides an ideal low-risk time to do this work. By investigating and carefully developing new processes during this time, you may be able to try an entirely new strategy without compromising customer satisfaction. For example, you may consider outsourcing another aspect of your production process – the off season is a perfect time to try this out. On the other hand, you might opt for a conservative stock control strategy during peak season. If your business has traditionally relied on a large margin of safety stock, peak summer season is not the appropriate time to switch to a just-in-time inventory model.
Peak season is also a good time to ensure that your stock control system is working effectively. Consider scheduling a data audit to ensure that your inventory records are accurate and can be relied on to produce next season’s forecast.
Optimise your marketing strategy
The off-peak season is the ideal time to test out new marketing strategies and customer acquisition ideas. Make the most of any idle staff time by researching marketing strategies and keeping a close eye on customer satisfaction metrics. By promoting your business heavily in the off-peak season, you are not only trying to keep profits up but also have more time to develop future promotions that you may like to try out during your busy season. Evaluating how things are going may not be at the top of your list when its busy but it’s those small details that your able to pick up on when you focus that all add up to promoting successful business. Once the busy season approaches, you have some new strategies that have been tested and evaluated all ready to go.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.