For a lot of small businesses, January is part of their “slow season”. A lot of their customers are taking this time to recover from the holidays, and pay off their credit card debt. That means traffic in your store (or website) will be down.
If you have already exhausted your ideas to bring in more traffic, and are just looking for ways to stay productive when the store is empty, here are a few ideas.
1. Manage Inventory
Depending on your business, you count your inventory daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. This is a great time to check for discrepancies in your counts, send back dead stock to your suppliers, or set aside items for clearance.
2. Reconnect With Old Customers
I don’t mean push them for sales. Instead, be more subtle. Send out thank you cards (especially those who spent heavily in December. Call and ask them if they need help with an item they bought. It’s also a good time to update your contact details; make sure you have a current email address.
3. Building improvements
It’s never a perfect time to do repairs, especially in a busy store. If you’re going to tear things apart and make a mess, it might as well be when you’ll offend the least amount of customers.
4. Train staff
If you have staff, it’s almost a guarantee that one of them doesn’t know 100% about your products or policies. Take this time to run mini-seminars about current and upcoming product, as well as the policies and machines that are integral to your business.
5. Connect With Complimentary Businesses
Does it feel like you’re the only one who isn’t busy? Call up some other businesses in your area and talk to the owners, especially if they are in a similar or complimentary field. For example, if you run a flower shop, call up the candy store. If they’re slow too, maybe you can join forces for a Valentine’s Day promotion.
I know these aren’t always glamorous, but they’re what you complain about when you’re too busy to deal with them. Take care of them now, and your business will run smoother when you’re busy again.