If you’re looking for some ways to refresh your growth strategy, your company's slow season may be just the right time to do so.
When business is busy, it can be difficult to think about optimizing to achieve greater outcomes. A slow season, whether that be in the summer or any other season, is an opportunity to reassess your business plan, structure, goals, achievements and operations, and to identify ways you can improve your business.
1. Revisit your business plan.
Think of your business plan as a living document. You can revisit it and update it as your business, clients and growth strategy evolve.
One way to do so is to verify you're still targeting the same customer and evaluate your competitors. The best business plans are built around your customer's needs and experiences. Learning how to improve business starts with them—as they grow, so should your offering.
If your competitors are shifting or trying something new, make sure you understand why and if there are takeaways that could be valuable to your customers. You may want to assess your customer personas and create new ones, as needed, then integrate these changes into a more comprehensive business plan.
2. Revisit your customer touch points.
Your customer touch points are the places a potential or existing customer comes in contact with your brand. How your customer engages with the product or service you offer can change. Just like the customer personas in your business plan, a quarterly review of your customer touch points is among the small-business growth strategies that can make a big impact.
Use the slow time to update your business processes for efficiency. Work out the kinks and check if there are new ways to streamline.
Ensure that you are meeting your target audience where they are today by:
- evaluating your partnerships to understand if the collaboration still resonates with your audience.
- setting aside time to read and respond to press, reviews and other media that can leave an impression on your customer or potential customer's experience.
- reviewing your website, newsletter and/or blog to remove any outdated content or attend to outstanding items to improve your customer's experience with your offerings.
- reviewing your content and social strategy for relevancy.
Staying attuned to the pulse of your audience helps you stay ahead of the market. It can be helpful to lean on your customer's feedback and let their valuable insights inform your growth strategy.
3. Try a new marketing strategy or create your own momentum.
If you're asking yourself, “What is a business growth strategy I can implement to stay top of mind with my customers?", you may want to try a new marketing strategy.
There are simple but effective ways to create an ongoing relationship with your audience so they are up to date on your offerings and think of you when opportunities arise. Email marketing, newsletters and brand awareness through social media and retargeting campaigns are an engaging way to gain the attention of new and existing customers.
Another growth strategy is to build momentum by launching an innovative experience or product catered to the needs of your audience. Doing so during a slow season can give you time to develop and test the idea without the extra pressure and stress.
At my female-focused branding and marketing agency Tote + Pears, we created MORE, a space for working parents to find support and community through a series of family-friendly networking events. This gives us a chance to connect our audience with some of their most valuable customers—working mothers.
A slow season is the perfect time to provide a memorable experience for your customers and connect with them more meaningfully.
4. Update your processes.
It can be hard to get organized when you're scrabbling to put out fires. Use the slow time to update your business processes for efficiency. Work out the kinks and check if there are new ways to streamline.
You may also want to take the time to update your financial processes, as well. Business funding can be tight during a slow season, but with the right systems in place, you should be able to maintain the working capital you need to move forward.
Consider checking your card benefits and see if there is something new you can implement to save some cash while you wait for business to pick up again. Using your card instead of checks or ACH payments also allows you to keep cash longer.
The slow season doesn't have to be bad news. Instead, it can be an opportunity to focus on business growth strategies that can enhance your offering. Take advantage of the extra time by focusing on the people who make up your market and the slow season may actually add value to your business.
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