For some business owners there is a clearly defined "slow" or "off" season in your business, am I right? That time of year when things come to a complete, or almost, halt. I know some of you may be thinking "ha, yea, right, there's no off season for me".
Well let's look at it a different way - I love baseball, so let's pretend your business is your favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, okay - my favorite team. Baseball is almost a year round sport as its official season runs April to October. In 2016 the final game of the World Series was in November - November! So that in itself shows that baseball season is pretty long, and follows similarly to wedding season right? But did you know it pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in February? Yes its true! Now, of course not all teams make to the World Series and most teams are done by September or early October, but still, February to September is quite a long time. Heck April to September is a long time. Here's a breakdown:
- Feb-March > Spring Training
- April-Sept > Regular Season
- Sept-Oct > Post-Season
- Nov-Jan > Off-Season
Now tell me that doesn't look like your business calendar year.
Well maybe not that exact monthly breakdown, but you probably can relate to feeling that there's not much off an off-season for you.
Are you overwhelmed with feeling like you need to work even harder during your off-season?
If you're at the top of your business game, and I know most of you are, you either still have weddings planned through November or are gearing up for big holiday product sales. Then you need and want time off, but you don't want your business to get..uh, rusty right?
You've heard me say it a million times - what you do now impacts your business 3 months from now. Answer me these questions:
- Are you launching a spring product line in March?
- Isn't engagement season Thanksgiving - Valentines Day?
- Do you want to have wedding booked starting in April or May?
- Will your clients need engagement photos for their Save the Dates?
What are you doing now? Are you ready to do something different?
I can see heads shaking yes.
I'm not saying you can't take significant time off during the slow season, because you should definitely take vacations! But there are some simpler, smaller things you can do - baseball players still workout and eat healthy during the off-season, because they don't want to show up rusty to spring training.
Now is the time to stay top-of-mind for potential clients. You've created so much content in the way of your events, photos, products, testimonials that you could be set for months to come. It's time to get it all squared away now, so that your business doesn't stop just so you can take a season to breathe. How, you ask?
There are several ways actually and doing them now, will set you up better for next year.
Whether you're a wedding planner or photographer, product-maker, or course launcher, you should have new photos and content from this year that you can use to update your website. By keeping your website fresh, you'll be showing clients that your work is not stagnant. It's also the perfect time to write some blog posts - hello, SEO! Are you wondering what to write about? I'm sure some of your FAQs could be turned into longer blog posts explaining more of the why behind your answers. Blog about your favorite moments from different weddings, or things you've learned that you want your potential clients should know.
Stay in touch with past clients and other vendors. Send Christmas greetings & New Year wishes to your couples. Are you a photographer? Do a mock-up of a Christmas card they can print or offer a an additional print for Christmas. Send past customers a small discount off you're spring line or prepare to host a giveaway.
Schedule out your social too! Put those photos to work - detail shots, favorite photos, special moments that you've captured. I suggest at least once a day to start and use a planning tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Later. Once you get in the habit of scheduling this out, it will begin to take less and less time each month. If you stay a head of this now, you might even get months scheduled at a time and not have to worry too much during your busier months.
One last thing, during the slower times, pick just 2 days a week to respond to new client inquiries & make sure you put that in your email signature or auto-responder.
I promise you, if you keep doing some work during the off season or Spring Training, your business will see it in the months to follow.
Who is ready to get started?