Many businesses experience a seasonal sales dip, but three simple actions can help iron these out.
There are some industries and trades that have obvious trends and sales patterns. For example, the wedding industry will have a sales peak during the summer. Similarly, gas engineers will experience their biggest sales volume during the winter months.
However hidden dips can also occur when revenue and sales activity is left untracked. From a financial viewpoint, being unprepared for such an event will affect cashflow. I often come across business owners who cite lack of time as a reason for not tracking sales activity, but this process is vital in business. It’s the first of my three actions to fix the sales dip before it happens:
1. Keep records and review
I urge you to keep a record of your sales activity by month, as far back as you can. The more data, the more valuable the insight. A spreadsheet is all that’s needed, with columns for the month alongside sales volume and revenue.
Use this data to create a year on year performance chart, this is a really simple and visual way to spot trends.
I went through this process with an English Language school who fortunately had kept attendance records for the previous 5 years. When we looked at the years side by side we spotted a recurring sales dip each May. With this insight we planned a marketing campaign to attract new students for May, thus ironing out their sales dip.
2. Look forward as well as back
Just as important as reviewing what’s already happened, is tracking advance sales. This is known as your Order Book.
For example, a client of mine who is a wedding photographer does just that. Each time a sale is made for a future wedding, the revenue that wedding will attract is attributed to the month it will come in. That way, he knows well in advance how the coming months/year looks and can plan for any gaps.
3. Plan ahead
I’ve alluded to this already, but of course the reason for tracking past and future activity is to enable marketing planning, the aim of which is a revenue line with no major sales dips.
I’ve gone into more detail about actions to achieve this in my next blog: 6 Marketing Tips for Seasonal Businesses.
As ever, if you need any help implementing my advice, why not contact me for a free new business review? I’ll spend two hours with you giving you professional coaching and will leave you with actions for immediate implementation.