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What to Do When Business is Slow

June 27, 2013
Make the most of slow times.

Make the most of slow times.

If you’re a small business in Arizona, you know there’s a slow season. It happens every year after winter visitors go back north to get out of the blazing summer heat. Most businesses start cutting back on staff work hours or even business hours in order to save some money. While this may be appropriate, why not take the opportunity to re-focus on other areas to grow your business? Read on for a few ideas.

How did your business do during the busy season?

Now is the perfect time to evaluate the first quarter or two of the financial statements, on your own or with your certified public accountant, and draw some conclusions. Questions to think about: How are you doing compared to last year? Which segments of your business are thriving and which need attention? How much cash are you keeping on hand for emergencies or for the slow times? Your tax accountant can help you answer these questions and also evaluate whether you are withholding enough or too much for next year’s tax bill, based on how much profit the business is making and what is most likely for the remainder of the year.

How are you marketing your brand, and is it working?

Marketing is key to building your business, so it is critical to focus your efforts here and measure your success. Questions to ponder here: What avenues are you using to market (social media, word of mouth, daily deal sites, paid advertising)? Which method is producing results, i.e. bringing in revenue? Who is responsible for marketing decisions and should it be someone else? Which organizations does it make sense to be a member and which should we part with? These are excellent questions to go over with a third party- your business partner and/or employees, or your business coach, or all these people together in one room. When business is slow use the time to re-focus your marketing and you may be able to improve your bottom line during this time!

Are you on track to meet your business goals by the end of the year?

You did make goals for the year, right? Strategic planning is crucial to the continued growth of your business. As Jim Rohn once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. While you may not go out of business right away if you don’t have any goals, it is virtually impossible to judge whether you  are making progress if you don’t have a target. Here are some questions: Does your company have a mission statement? What is your purpose for being in business? Do you have a few long-term (3-5 years or more) and short-term (1 year or less) goals broken down into monthly and weekly objectives? Do you create a to-do list at the end of each day for the next day and stick to it? Are you using the SMART goal system? At Acceler8 we meet with many of our clients in the fall and help them to answer these and other questions for the upcoming year. Having a strategic planning meeting and being held accountable throughout the year will greatly increase your chances of having a profitable year.

Now is the best time to evaluate your bottom line and how you will not only survive, but thrive when business is slow. Remember that this is a season, so it is temporary. Why not use the time wisely by planning a successful rest of the year with your team and business advisors?

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