How Can I Account For an Unpredictable Slow Business Season?

April 1, 2012

I count on high winter traffic to contribute to my shop’s annual revenue, so this year’s mild winter hit my shop hard. How can I account for business slumps I can’t predict?

Robert Spitz, vice president of production for Management Success!

In business environments, that situation is called a condition of danger. Things are not happening as they normally do, which causes business owners to create an emergency plan. You have to simultaneously reduce expenses and pursue other avenues to build your revenue stream.

Have an emergency financial plan in place to curb the negative effects that reduced revenue can have on your business. Identify all of your shop’s expenses, and cut out the waste. Immediately eliminate any financial spending that is not essential to your business operations or marketing efforts.

Identify other possible revenue streams to capitalize on outside services of collision repair. Anything you can promote to catch customers’ attention is beneficial because you can upsell once they’re in the door. Heavily promote things such as paintless dent removal, detailing and glasswork. Even if you outsource your glass services, it’s still important to promote because you can advertise that you’re a one-stop shop. Using Internet-based marketing tactics—such as your Facebook page, YouTube videos and email campaigns—can help to get the word out at low cost.

Offer services that you already have the skills and tooling to do. Diversifying too much is dangerous in these situations because it changes your business model and requires investment in equipment and technician training.

Unfortunately, there are no easy, quick solutions to this type of problem.

Don’t ease up on marketing efforts just because winter is around the corner. The secret to collision repair is to advertise like mad when you’re slow, and advertise even more when you’re busy. Shops should take what happened this year as a learning experience, and improve next year by maintaining constant marketing initiatives.

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