Business rarely follows a linear pattern. There are days when the lobby looks like a ghost town, and others when the same room looks like a tin can. Supply, demand and interest fluctuate and your business needs to be ready for the low season and peak season.
Luckily, most companies can tell you when their busiest time of the year is. This allows business owners plan and prepare for that particular time each year. Otherwise, a sudden influx of customers can make them fall right on their backs.
Whether you’re a new business gearing up for that first push or an established company trying to get more efficient, there’s almost always something you can do to better plan for busier seasons. Here are some tips that may help you in the near future:
1. Set up automation
Any tasks or processes that you can automate will make life a lot easier once the business starts to take off. These tasks will continue to run without any control. Instead of hiring more people to support these processes, they can help control the rush while they finish the work themselves.
Think about what aspects of your business can be automated if they haven’t already. For example, many scheduling companies have automated scheduling. Customers can view booking options and create their own appointments without the need for additional employee attention. Instead, employees can focus more fully on the customers who attend their meetings.
Paperwork like invoicing and record keeping is another example of automation that works for businesses of all shapes and sizes. There are also automation tools for managing projects, supply chains, and even human resources. Experiment with some solutions and see what you can do to ease the burden on your business.
2. Create projections
One type of automation that can be extremely helpful during the busiest months is data analytics. All you have to do is set up a system or connect software that constantly monitors the data your business generates on a daily basis. This can include everything from sales data, customer demographics, social media reach, and even price changes for the materials you use.
With this data at your disposal, you can make forecasts and forecasts for the coming months, focusing on the busiest seasons. Based on previous data, you can see which of your products and services are most in demand during high season. With this information, you can focus on producing and preparing what you need for the expected demand.
At the very least, use this upcoming busy season to build your data. When the next busy season hits, you’ll have enough data to make accurate business guesses and action plans. The more data you have, the more effective it will be when incorporated into your strategy.
3. Get your staff in order now
If you have a general idea of when your busy season is, you should start putting together your staffing calendar now. If you wait until the last minute to try and make a schedule, you are likely to run into a lot of resistance. You will have employees who have already made vacation plans, who cannot work extra shifts, and who have already received a vacation permit.
Start preparing for the busy season as soon as possible. Ask who is willing to work certain shifts and consider increasing the number of people you have on duty in one day. Sure do not overwork any of your employees unless they specifically ask for overtime hours. Otherwise, you may alienate some of your best workers, making the next busy season much more difficult.
One option that many businesses like to use is hiring part-time seasonal workers. For example, delivery companies like Amazon and UPS will be hiring drivers to work during December, when package volume is at its peak. This ensures they have the roster they need to handle an influx at work without having to create a long-term commitment with a bunch of new hires.
4. Stay competitive
Your business won’t be the only one making plans for the upcoming busy season. Any other company in your area and industry will make similar drugs. You can’t just wait for the busy season to come along. You need to take advantage of high consumer activity and stay competitive in your field to get your fair share of the market.
Consider how you can make your business stand out from the rest during the busiest time of the year. Let’s imagine that you are a clothing store that gets very busy right before the new school year. With so many families looking for school clothes, how do you make your threads stand out? If you have planned your promotion well over the summer, you can launch it right before the fall of the year – with full efficiency.
Other levels of competitiveness are pricing, stock availability, store hours, and customer service. The more you can improve these aspects of your organization before the busy season hits, the more successful you will be when it finally arrives.
5. Start exercising early
If you work in retail, you know how crazy certain times of the year can be. Black Friday is one of the best examples that the busy season is a completely different animal than a typical work day. You can’t expect a new employee to handle this pressure without some training, and you shouldn’t want them to try.
If your busiest season is during the summer, don’t wait for the beach weather to improve. start your training. Use the slow winter months to give your team the preparation they need to face the challenges ahead. Trying to adjust to training during the busiest time of the year just requires more stress and fatigue.
There are many different training modes that can be useful even for full-time employees. Customer service training is always good feedback, especially when the high stress of busy season makes it hard to keep your composure. You can also offer sales training or instruction on how to use a new system that you hope to integrate before high season.
6. Take care of the little things
There are many small details that may not be considered important to your business, but are important nonetheless. These little things often go by the wayside when your business shuts down due to activity. These small details can quickly add up and become a big nuisance if left unchecked.
Instead of dwelling on the minutiae during your busiest hours, set aside time during your quiet periods to move forward. Do a spring clean, finish organizing your files, and clean up your office before it gets too busy. Even the simplest things can save a life when you’re too busy to even think about the little things.
Nothing will stop the busy season from stepping on the threshold of your business. How successful you are depends entirely on how you planned and prepared during the previous months. Get started today so that when your busy season hits, nothing will stand in the way of reaching new heights.
Featured image: Photo by Taryn Elliott;
Fast 6 Ways Companies Can Plan for Busier Seasons appeared first on Calendar.