January, or Januworry, as it’s come to be known in SA, is a month of new beginnings, clean slates and New Year’s resolutions. However, for small business owners, it can be quite the opposite.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Day, consumers spend money preparing for festive events. From buying gifts for family and friends to getting together ingredients for holiday feasts, the season of giving (and consuming) truly kicks off in December.
With spikes in foot-traffic and sales over December, the turn of the month tends to be a bit quieter but still presents the opportunity of a clean slate to make the most of your business year.
5 Ways to Beat the Post-Festive Slump
1. Capitalise on Themes
January is known for being the month of New Year’s resolutions and fresh starts. Adopting themes is a great way to attract customers while showing that you support their new lease on life. So, if you can respond to consumers’ needs as they step into newer versions of themselves, you’ll be well on your way to making your January successful.
For example, one of the most popular themes of January is healthy living. After a period of festive feasting, people like to kickstart the New Year with some healthy habits like clean eating, exercise regimens or giving up smoking. If your business responds to this niche, you could very well capitalise by offering package deals or discounted rates.
2. Clear Out the Shelves
Running a business is all about trial and error. Sometimes things work, and sometimes they don’t. So, don’t lose heart if some items are just not getting sold while others are flying off the shelves. It’s just a matter of testing the waters and seeing what works.
In January, you should rather shift focus on what you can do with the old stock, even if it means making a little less profit than you expected.
This tip is probably one you’ve heard of many a time before – and with good reason. Clearing out old stock is the easiest way to give customers what they want (an irresistible deal) while making space on your shelves for new inventory that could be sold faster.
Remember, trial and error, folks!
3. Offers and Discounts
Speaking of package deals and discounted rates, keep in mind that money is usually tight in January as everyone gets back into the swing of things after the holidays.
Yes, the same can be said for small business owners so it’s not always possible (or practical) to offer massive deals when you’re having a slow month.
But, if you’re able to bring down your prices or offer a couple of sweet deals, like the infamous 3 for 2, go for it! Just make sure you’re not offering more than what you can afford.
4. Prepare for an Influx of Returns
Over the holidays, many people would have received a bunch of gifts and realistically, there are bound to be some returns.
Customers may have received gifts they don’t want or that don’t fit, or they may have purchased items for themselves that did not meet their expectations. Being prepared for returns can help a small business maintain a good relationship with its customers and ensure that it’s able to handle any issues that may arise, smoothly and efficiently.
This can help to preserve the reputation of the business and encourage customer loyalty.
To prepare, make sure you:
- Have a clear and fair return policy in place
- Train your staff on your returns policy
- Are prepared for increased traffic.
Keen on learning more about providing exceptional customer experiences? Start with this blog!
5. Reflect and Review Your Business Goals
January is the best time to reflect on the year passed and review the goals you’ve set. In entrepreneurship, things change very often, and you’ll need to be agile and adapt to these changes to keep your business thriving.
Contemplating what you’d like to achieve in the year ahead will help you assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments.
Reviewing goals on a regular basis can also help you:
- Stay on track and ensure that things are moving in the right direction
- Identify areas where the business may be falling short
- Allow for course corrections.
Don’t Just Survive, Thrive!
January can be a challenging time for small businesses, but with the right strategies and mindset, it’s possible to survive and even thrive. By taking a proactive and adaptable approach, small businesses can position themselves for success in the new year and beyond.
Good luck, small business warriors. We’re rooting for you!