There are many things we love about autumn; crispy leaves underfoot, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and an excuse to stay in bed a little longer at the weekend. What isn’t so great about this period is the slump in sales that many retail, leisure and hospitality companies experience in the wake of summer and the build up to Christmas. But no matter how disheartening this downtime may be, it’s important that you and your employees stay motivated.
These quiet terms certainly aren’t exclusive to the aforementioned industries either. Many other sectors will be feeling the backlash of a widespread need to save some cash and hold back on the spending until it’s time to indulge in a festive splurge. No matter the nature of your business, slow sales mixed with short nights and cold mornings make it pretty difficult to be motivated to do much more than curl up under the covers and binge watch every boxset Netflix has to offer.
This is why it’s more essential than ever that you and your workforce have some procedures in place that will help keep morale up and motivation high even when sales are low and customers just don’t seem to want to part with their cash. We’ve put together some expert advice to get you started because slow sales shouldn’t mean a compromise on service. Rather than moping about and mindlessly sipping your PSL, you can use the time constructively to better your business and we’re here to show you how.
Use the time to train your workforce
As with most things in life, it’s always beneficial if you can try and put a positive spin on a negative situation, which is exactly what we’re encouraging you do here. One way you can turn slow periods into a positive is by using the time to train your workforce and even set about learning a new skill yourself. You’ll need less hands on deck than during busy peak periods so capitalise on this by developing the skills of both yourself and your employees.
Training is an important part of business development and enriching the knowledge of your workforce will not only better the service you offer to customers and clients, it will also leave staff feeling motivated to put their new skills to good use. Now is also a good time to conduct some mid-year reviews and evaluations to establish what has been working well and what needs improving in time for the next peak season.
Use the time to develop your marketing approach
As well as focusing your attention on the development of your employees, slow periods are also the perfect chance to revisit your marketing plan and equip yourself with some new tools for the coming months. Evaluate and analyse what has been working well, what your customers have been engaging with most and what methods have reaped the most profitable rewards, then identify what hasn’t been successful and why.
Ruling out weak strategies and experimenting with new one will enable you to fine tune your digital approach just in time for the influx of online shoppers. Experts are predicting that the ecommerce market will rake in a whopping £1bn over the Black Friday weekend next month so you need to ensure that your brand is fully in touch with its digital demographic. Invest some time and energy into making sure that you know what marketing techniques are going to best make up for this mid-season slump in sales.
Take some well-earned time off
As well as using the time to make sure things are tip-top at work, clear a space in your diary for some hard-earned rest and recuperation. Time off is equally productive as working long hours so now is a good time to cash in on some head space. After a busy period like summer, you are likely to be feeling a little burnt out and the thought of facing the festive frenzy could be pushing you closer and closer to meltdown.
So abandon your to-do list for a week or so and give yourself the chance to regroup, recharge and reimburse your motivation supplies in time for the peak season. You’re going to need your energy over the next few months so now is the perfect time to stock up. Failing to do so is not only damaging for your physical health and mental wellbeing, it is also likely to have some serious consequences for your business in the long run.
Provide flexible working hours for staff
There’s nothing that can boost morale quite like an early finish, which is why we recommend offering your staff flexibility around their working hours during these quieter periods. This will enable them to benefit from some time off too and mean you can work with a group of well-rested cooperative employees rather than a team who resent you for making them work long hours when sales are slow.
Taking advantage of this tactic will not only make for a more motivated workforce, it will also allow you to save some extra cash on unnecessary wages that can then be spent on preparing for the festive season. For more advice on making sure your business is ready for the peak period, check out our tips and tricks right here.