Putting Your (Brand) Game On Even During Off-Peak Season
There’s a lot you can do so can you be ahead of the competition
Just like moods, your business has its own periods of highs and lows. Both times offer their own sets of opportunities, challenges, and learnings.
Months following the holidays can be a slow time for retail, especially after the Christmas rush. Many businesses also feel the dry spell by quarter three (retrograde?? ghost month??). This is mainly because of big expenses for school in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the rainy season can also make shopping inconvenient.
To grow, you have to maximize these periods. And since the peak season is already well accounted for, what other things can you do during lean months? Here are off-season business ideas (you’re welcome).
PLANNING: LOOK BACKWARD AND FORWARD
Define your brand for what it is today
Dedicate time to review your vision and mission. See how you’re defining your brand today against competition. If your product’s somewhat similar to what is offered in the market, ask yourself: how can you tweak it to look better on store shelves? Can you add new functions to make it more useful in your customers’ lives? Also, supporting your products with after-sales service might just give you an edge.
Product development is also a necessary part of planning that gauges what your customers need tomorrow and the day after. In a dog eat dog world, there is always a way—but it does take a lot of strategizing.
Set non-profit milestones
Your vision today drives the future of your business. Your goals should be clear to you and your team.
You’ve probably covered needs for monetary goals. But don’t forget to define non-profit milestones, too. An example is having regular activities that will build up your team spirit. Set up workshops or training that’ll help them become more productive.
Find ways to improve customer experience
Customers look for more than just quality products from your brand. In this age of instant gratification, exceeding expectations is goals. This opens up possibilities of word-of-mouth referrals and thus, potential new clients and positive reviews online.
Reexamine past issues
Planning also means that you need to reflect on the past. Look back and see what mistakes can be corrected. Did your staff constantly bump into each other during the rushed days? Maybe it’s time to review the structure. Plan for better workflow.
ENGAGEMENT: COME CLOSER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Listen to your customers
You might not hear much from your consumers during the off-peak season, but if you lean in closer, there’s a lot to listen to. Don’t just come close to sell though. Talk to them to get to know their desires, frustrations and expectations. Online and offline social listening is an important skill to invest in for your business.
Map out where you can meet your market
You can set up events where your target market hangs out. It can be in the mall during weekends, or near the restaurants they frequent after work. Events don’t have to be grand, but they should be well-targeted.
If your products serve several market segments, the lean season gives you the time to fine-tune an activity for each group.
For service-oriented businesses, show them the extra mile and greet them regularly without hard-selling. A simple greeting on Christmas Eve and then following through with useful home organizing tips or shopping hacks are welcome.
Plus, engaging with them is now made easier through Globe myBusiness' Amber platform. It allows bulk SMS with your brand’s sender ID.
Top-of-mind awareness means your customers think of you first in your industry. Producing engaging content on your social media channels will make you visible to your target market. Content also helps them remember you even when they are not yet ready to buy your products. Reach your potential buyers better through Globe myBusiness Facebook Ads to make sure your efforts don't go to waste.
The added bonus is that you can turn these sessions into priceless research data by subtly asking your customers what they love and hate.
The information will trickle down to product development as well. It comes full circle as you let your customers sample new products during events.
BACK-END IMPROVEMENTS: BUILD BETTER SYSTEMS
Improve your physical store or office systems
Running a business certainly isn’t glamorous on the back-end. Just think of all the paperwork that quickly turns into backlog. With extra hours to spare on lean seasons, you can slowly tick these items off. You can even improve your scheduling so you wouldn’t constantly dread these tasks.
It’s also the best time of the year to evaluate back-office set-ups. Manage inventory, rearrange stockrooms, modernize warehouses, or do construction if necessary.
Set up digital work systems for your team
Aside from physical improvements, now is a good time to set-up efficient work systems for your team. Here are examples:
Automate budget and administrative trackers through apps.
Secure transactions with myBiz Wallet.
Build a work-anywhere lifestyle through cloud services.
Set up feedback systems with your customers
Learning new insights from your customers will also improve your administrative efforts. Set up a loyalty system using RUSH Rewards. It's a customized solution that collects all your customers’ details into a database as they receive rewards. It helps you stay in touch with your customers, too.
Replying to inquiries is another administrative task best automated, so maybe it’s time to sign up for those management tools you had been eyeing.
TRAINING & TEAM BUILDING: STRENGTHEN YOUR PEOPLE
Sign your team up for training
A strong structure is only possible through the people who build it. That's why learning must never stop. During the off-peak season, some of your employees’ unproductive hours can be invested in training.
There are many options out there from half-day classes, online certificate courses, or even inviting an expert friend to talk during a work gathering.
Make time for team building
Get to know your people and bond with them through team building activities. This way, your employees will feel comfortable with you and their teammates. Understand each other's differences, especially if there had been past issues, and strengthen friendships.
Sharing sessions are great for discovering solutions to problems. These can boost employee morale when done regularly and openly (without favoritism or biases).
Now that you’ve got lots lined up during your business’ off-peak season, don’t forget to take a breather. The most important takeaway from the lean season is a re-energized team ready to hit those business targets!
Learn more business tips that will support your business whatever the season.