For many businesses in Southwest Florida, summer is closely correlated with a seasonal slowdown in customer traffic. This reduction in business and revenue is due to the annual dip in total residents, many of whom only reside in the area from about October – May. We affectionately refer to these seasonal residents as “snowbirds.” While the summer slowdown can feel detrimental to profit, there are many ways businesses can take advantage of this season to improve future performance.
Take advantage of a reduction in traffic to complete site maintenance, equipment upgrades, and housekeeping tasks that would be too inconvenient during busy times. With a reduction in customers, closing a percentage of a traffic area or even the entire business for a short period of time won’t incur the loss it would during the busy season.
Much like physical improvements, now is also a great time to work on personnel or procedural improvements. Utilize downtime to train employees, improve processes, and document operating procedures. These internal tasks can save you time during the busy season, especially if you need to bring on new hires.
It may be hard to think of holiday promotions in July, but now is the time to do it. Avoid last-minute scrambling which can produce sloppy or insufficient work by planning out Q3 (July, August, September) and Q4 (October, November, December) while you have the down time. Need some ideas? Check out our previous blog “5 Ideas to Boost Your Holiday Marketing.”
If you’re going to do it right, annual planning is a task that takes time and dedication. So why would you plan for 2022 at the end of the year when you’re busy and potentially taking time off for the holidays? Instead, take the time now to perform a mid-year review, plan Q3 and Q4, and strategize ways to improve performance next year. Planning for next year during the summer slowdown can ensure you have the time and focus needed to create thoughtful and impactful plans.
Perform a Competitor Analysis
Another suggested use of downtime is performing an in-depth competitor analysis. While you should be keeping tabs on your competition on a consistent basis, an annual or semi-annual in-depth review of your competition can give you valuable insight on opportunities for improvement and threats to your positioning. While you may think you know what your competition is up to, it’s important to go beyond what you can learn through their public-facing communications. There are also tools available to help you track what your competition is up to.
Things to review:
- Media mentions
- Public mentions
- Reviews on third-party sites (positive and negative)
- Common keywords
- Organizational structure
- Product/service offerings
- Unique value proposition(s) (UVPs)
This well-rounded audit will give you a better idea of which areas you’re winning or losing compared to the competition. Use this information to capitalize on areas you’re winning and close the gap in areas you’re losing compared to the competition.
Need help overcoming the summer slowdown? The PTE team has 15+ years of experience helping clients across the country conquer annual lulls.