What to do in the Off Season
Almost every industry has a busy season. This is a time where many clients are trying to book your services and it becomes a little easier to get a great contract! For most businesses, however, that increased customer volume isn’t a year-round guarantee. Customer demand for many services comes and goes in waves, often depending on the season or time of year. This means that any business that experiences a very busy season will also experience slow business, or an ‘off-season’.
There are many examples of businesses and industries in daily life that experience off seasons. While wedding planners experience a surge of clients in the warmer spring and summer months, they are often less busy during colder times of year, because winter weddings are less popular. Fitness clubs and personal trainers see increased business in January when everyone makes New Years’ resolutions about fitness and before the summer when people are setting swim wear goals for their beach vacation. The fitness business slows down in the fall when people resume regular working hours after holiday time and school begins again. Florists, food vendors, construction workers, farmers, and many other industries all experience a change of pace when the seasons change.
Having lots of business is ideal, but experiencing an off season doesn’t have to be a bad thing! There are many useful ways that business owners and freelance workers can spend their industry’s down time that will be beneficial later!
Expand Your Knowledge
- You have time to do some research. Are there any industry-related articles or publications you’ve wanted to read?
- As long as you can still balance the business that you do have, the off season is a great time to take a course and expand your skill set!
- If you are brand new to the industry, is there any opportunity to shadow a more experienced professional that you can take?
Investing time into improving your knowledge and skill is a great use of your off season time. The experience you gain through your work during busier months also helps you improve in leaps and bounds, but the off season affords you the time to do beneficial things like gain additional qualifications.
Research Your Market
- Have any studies related to your industry been conducted that you could learn from, in preparation for your next busy season?
- Is there any type of feedback you’ve received from customers that you might consider making changes to your services based on?
- Is there anything that has become more popular or in demand within your industry that you aren’t already offering?
- Is there anything about your current marketing campaign that you’ve been thinking of changing?
The extra time that you have in the off season can be useful for taking a look at your clientele and making sure that you’re offering what they want and need. You can use this time to assess whether you’re still targeting the right groups, or whether a shift needs to happen in what kinds of services you’re offering and how you’re performing them, in order to keep up with market expectations.
If you’re not set up with website analytics yet… this is a great time to start! Read this for more info: A Beginner’s Guide to Web Analytics
Investigate New Strategies
- Are there any advertising tactics that you’ve been considering?
- Are there any changes to how you go about providing a particular service that you’d like to try?
- Are there any materials, like business cards or websites, that you’ve been meaning to update?
Using your off season to make changes to or update your business can be extremely beneficial. This allows you to adjust strategies and functions that you probably wouldn’t have time for during your busy season, which puts your months of slow business to maximum use.
Write a Blog
- Do you already have a blog that you’ve been meaning to use more ?
- Does your existing blog need a makeover?
- Have you been thinking of starting a blog, but never had the time to get the idea rolling?
- Have you been storing blog ideas away for a chance when you have more time to dedicate to them?
Writing a blog maintains your presence in the industry, even during slow seasons when your business isn’t extremely active. Clients that aren’t seeking your services right now because they’re not ‘in season’ might still be interested in reading about what your company has to offer. Writing attention-catching blog posts can spark the interest of prospective clients that might use your services when the busy season arrives again. Blogs can be a lot of work, but they are a great investment, and keeping them active during slow business periods generates attention for you in preparation for your rise in customer volume.
For more information, read this article: How to Write a Blog
- Are there any industry-related conferences or conventions that you (or your team) can attend?
- Are there any businesses you’ve been considering working with that you can contact or begin researching?
- Are there any events happening that you might become involved in as sponsors or supporters as a marketing, advertising, charity, or networking opportunity?
Continuing to network, even during times of slow business, keeps your name and brand on the scene. If you can stay active in your off season, clients and other businesses won’t have forgotten about you by the time your industry hits peak season again.
You might be interested in this: How to establish solid vendor relationships
Being Pro-Active is Key!
Letting the slow business season get the better of you isn’t beneficial to the growth of your business. Instead of feeling discouraged by the lack of demand, put that time to use elsewhere and build up your brand in preparation for when the seasons change and more clients begin demanding your services again.
Through activities like networking, blogging, attending conferences, and taking courses, you can use your off season to positively boost your business. Work on projects that you didn’t have time for earlier in the year and generally put work into maintaining your company’s image and reputation. This kind of effective use of your off season will benefit you in the end!