Expecting Quiet Times? Then You’d Better Read This
by Simon Rodger & Andy Brown (3 Min read|intermediate)
Is your business seasonal or do external factors influence your customer’s behaviour? After running your business for a while you might be able to see quiet times coming. Good for you – but foresight isn’t everything! Turn foresight into action and lead your business in the right direction.
Besides the 3 C’s (Costs, Cash flow and Cultivating) from last week’s Blog Post – How to Survive Quiet Times and Benefit from the Experience, this article will provide you with guidance and ideas to prepare and manage foreseeable quiet times to benefit your business.
Expecting Quiet Times? – Prepare for it
Even if your business is not seasonal, quiet times can often be predicted. Simon Rodger, CEO of Johnston Grocke states, “it’s the responsibility of the business owner/manager to guide the business through quiet times, and this becomes much easier if the quiet times are predictable so make sure you are prepared in advance!”
The right staff contracts
We don’t mean to come across non-employee-friendly, however, full time employees are often a significant and inflexible cost. If your business structure allows, it may be wise to have some casual staff on your books, so you can increase and decrease their hours (and your costs) according to your need. Depending on your business, outsourcing is another option.
Reduce stock holdings
Andy Brown, Business Services Partner advises, “If you run a business that sells inventory, an option in quiet times is to run your stock levels down and defer new acquisitions or seek extended payment terms.”
Simon Rodger adds: “To provide a boost to revenue or increase turnover of stock (especially old stock), consider discounting and sales campaigns.”
Make the most of the downtime
Another option, which can be very rewarding is to utilise your staff’s expertise and spare time by getting together to brainstorm business improvement ideas. For example, identifying ways to differentiate your service or product offering to appeal to customers is crucial for any business and many don’t leverage ideas from staff enough. Think outside of the box and try to find other ways to generate income or manage expenditure, for example identifying alternative usage of your facilities.
Another use of ‘down time’ is to critically rethink your business strategy. Tools that might help you would be the development of a SWOT-Analysis in order to clarify your businesses status quo regarding its strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, conduct market including competitor research to identify possible Threats or emerging Opportunities.
Once you have a clear understanding it will help to lead your business into the right direction. Work out next quarter’s business, team and individual goals and create long-term success.
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