T’is almost the season….
The last 2 years have been so long yet have gone by so fast. With busy days filled with meetings and work, time sure is flying. Before you know it, we will be in the 3rd quarter of 2021, with most SMMEs in South Africa ramping up to get ready for the peak season. Every business owner knows that the season flies in as fast as it flies out, so you need to be prepared as much as possible. Take in previous learnings and new ways of operating to account for the shift in client behaviour.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the peak season.
Know your business!
It’s always a mystery as to how the holidays will go. Will it be a bumper season? A slow one? You might not know for sure, but you can understand many of the critical indicators that will tell you the health of your business. A few things to look out for are budget parameters, breakeven points, and vulnerabilities to sudden change. Once you know what they are, then you’re in a much better position to take advantage.
Fix the issues now.
You should work on your business’s vulnerabilities and constraints before they become a crisis. When things are slow, you have time to notice the problems within your business. If you acknowledge and improve them now, they will not be as troublesome when your business is busy. For example, if you have staff issues, process bottlenecks, or infrastructure problems, fix them now.
Set a goal.
When you set goals, it will help you to know where you are going. The plan must also be communicated in the business world in a way that is acceptable to everyone. Once people understand and appreciate the goal, they will know what they need to do and gear up to achieve it.
Get the Team and Suppliers on board.
It is risky to leave it to the last minute to hire seasonal staff and suppliers. You want to make sure that they are qualified and have the right attitude. Spend some time on these, testing them for competence and attitude.
What’s the backup plan:
With recent events like the pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing, business owners need to be agile and adaptable. Have a “plan B” ready in case the peak season doesn’t peak. Back to the first point, if you know your numbers and business well, you’re easily able to offer discounts, promos or incentives to prompt sales.
Every year, after the new peak season sets in, we hear every business owner say that they wish they were more prepared, that they had planned better, and the list goes on. Some businesses may not be able to anticipate surprises, but with a solid plan and foundation in place, it will help you adapt and respond to any surprise that comes your way.
Wishing our dearest South African SMMEs a prosperous peak season. May your targets be reached, and your challenges be minimised.