How Your Small Business can Benefit from Slow Periods
The Canadian business landscape is incredibly diverse, and every business, no matter their size, has experienced slow periods at some point. Getting through them isn’t always easy and they can put a serious dent in your cash-flow. On the bright side, you’ll likely find that you have more free time on your hands that you can leverage to positively impact your business.
Gather testimonials and reviews
This is one area that business owners usually don’t have all that much time for. For small businesses especially, building a strong rapport with your customers is invaluable. By having a bank of testimonials at the ready, you can easily refer prospective customers to them when needed. In addition, motivating your customers to review your business online (Facebook, Yelp, Google, etc.) can be the difference in bringing in a new customer or losing them to the competition.
Get involved locally
One of the many upsides of owning a small business is becoming part of the local community. Small businesses thrive on word of mouth, so getting yourself into the right circles is key to your success. Local fairs and trade shows are some of the easiest ways to do this. They not only help put you in contact with the community but with other local small businesses as well.
Feeling sporty? Get involved with a local minor sports team. It’s a great way to give back to the people who support you, not to mention a great marketing opportunity. If these options aren’t right for you, refer to our handy guide to local community sponsorships for more ideas. However, you choose to approach getting involved locally, just getting out there and talking with your potential customer’s face-to-face will go a long way.
Eliminate areas of inefficiency
Take the time to dig into some of your spending habits and you may just find some efficient ways to cut your costs. Start by looking at the bills you pay regularly, like your utility bills. Find out if you’re doing everything you can maximize your energy efficiency. The Ontario Ministry of Energy has put together this great guide helping small businesses save energy.
Once you have a good hold on the big bills, shift some of your attention over to the small ones. Spending for items like paper, ink, staples, coffee, etc. may seem like an insignificant cost on the surface but if not tracked, it can add up much quicker than expected. By keeping tabs on all of your business essentials, you won’t have to worry about letting the small things slide. Keep in mind, cutting costs isn’t always without risk., as we mentioned in our guide to avoiding common cost-cutting mistakes.
Review (or create) your business plan
Regardless of how your business is performing, you should set some time aside to regularly refer back to your business plan and see of changes are necessary. It’s very likely that during your typical day to day operations you won’t spend much time analyzing your plan so take this opportunity to get it up to date. Depending on how long it has been since you have made changes, the work that will need to be done will vary.
Tim Berry wrote a fantastic piece called Updating Your Business Plan for Entrepreneur magazine that can help you figure out what areas will need the most attention should you need some guidance. It’s possible you’ve never taken the time to create your business plan. There’s no better time than the present to get cracking! This guide will walk you through the writing of your first business plan and will help your business to keep moving in the right direction.
Sometimes all you need to get you through a slow period is a boost to your cash flow. A Merchant Cash Advance is a great option for businesses that experience slower periods or drops in sales due to seasonality. The repayment term on an advance is flexible; a small percentage of your daily sales is withheld until the advance is paid off. You pay back faster when sales are strong and enjoy smaller repayments when sales are slow. Learn more about how a Merchant Cash Advance can help your business.