We’re smack-dab in the middle of summer, and for many small businesses, sales and other activity might be closer to the valley than the peak. It’s the “slow season.”
That might be okay for people who need to take a couple of weeks for some R&R, but it’s not okay for those whose livelihoods depend on steady work and a steady flow of income. They’d much rather see their busy season extended as much as possible. Here are some ideas for doing just that:
• Research your seasonal customers. If you find out what your customers do, where they go, and what they buy when they typically aren’t visiting you, you might just be able to tweak your services and products to cater to their needs and wants a few extra weeks out of the year.
• Keep the cash coming. Offer some buy-now-save-later specials before your peak business period begins. Perhaps with discounts as incentives, encourage your loyal customers to pay in advance for things they’re sure to require later.
• Use the phone. Provide the personal touch by calling your customers. Ask them how you can help them or about the quality of service you’ve provided recently. Tell them about the new merchandise you’re bringing in. Promote an open house or other special “storewide event.” A customer who wasn’t thinking about patronizing your business before the call might visit you afterward.
• Market your expertise. As a business leader, you’re gutsy and you’re confident in what you know and what you can do. Put yourself on the market for trade shows, seminars, and workshops, and sell that expertise. And don’t forget: Promote your trade with cards, brochures, samples, and links to your Internet and social media sites.
column by BAXTER TROUTMAN
BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Arcadia. A citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.