Hopefully the Great Recession is over for your small business or ,even better, maybe it didn't impact your business much in the first place. Even as the economy begins to recover, many small businesses sometimes experience an occasional slump. It might be due to the seasons (think garden shops in the winter or ski resorts in the summer) or some other reason. Eight Tips for Surviving A Sales Slump in Entrepreneur provides the following ideas that might help your small business in a slump:
- Shed staff.
- Cut other spending.
- Manage cash flow.
- Think of new uses for your resources.
- Ramp up marketing.
- Think of ways to extend your season.
- Team up.
The article gives lots of good examples for these eight tips, but as I read the article two local examples came to mind of point 6 above about extending your season came to mind. Ted Drewes is a South St. Louis landmark that has been in business in the same location since 1941. During the spring and summer the parking lot is jamb packed on weekend afternoons and at night. So what does a frozen custard store do during the cold winter months? Ted Drewes uses the empty parking lot to sell Christmas trees and does a great business.
A similar example is a local garden shop about a mile from my house that has been in business since 1967. They do a great business during the spring, summer, and fall. What they do is very similar to Ted Drewes since they sell all kinds of Christmas decorations, lights, artificial trees, etc. I've been in there many times during the holiday season to buy bird feed, and they seem to do pretty well during what would otherwise be a very slow time of your for them.
I thought of a local example of point 4 above about new uses for your resources. I saw something on a local news show that I thought was very clever. Doggie Day Camps have become quite popular in the St. Louis area. The piece was about one company that lets people pay to use their facilities with their pets outside of their normal business hours. Both owners and their pets were having a great time on a Sunday afternoon in the winter. Not only did they make a little money during a time they would normally be closed, they also get some good will from the pet owners and maybe some future customers as well.