Handling seasonal slowdowns needn’t be a major headache. Not if you plan well and get creative! Here are a few pet business tips to help you sail through a slow period and reduce the impact of the next one.

Let’s face it; seasonal ups and downs can be a real drag. Yes, a slow period gives you time to reflect and plan but it can also cause you grief. You might be left wondering how long this lull will last and whether the business will ever pick up again.

However, by understanding the ups and downs of your pet business you can make the most of the quiet times (instead of freaking out!).

Pet business tips: getting to grips with seasonal slowdowns

Seasonal slowdowns are the norm for most businesses. Yet, this doesn’t mean you have to sit back and accept a decline in sales and cash flow. If you plan well for periods when business is generally slow, you can help even the flow and avoid sending yourself (and your finance manager) into a spin. Here are x proactive measures you can take to help keep business booming all year round.

1. Be proactive

The first step in being proactive is to recognise when your business tends to slow down. Is it during summer or perhaps over the winter period? Also, find out how long the slowdown lasts and what financial impact this has on your pet business.

Use your quiet period as a time to think and innovate. Send out a questionnaire to your customer database to ask how you could improve your service. For example, dog walkers who find business drops off during winter might offer an indoor exercise service. It may well be that people with senior dogs don’t want to expose them to the cold in winter, but would be happy to see their dog exercised indoors.

2. Get ahead

Do you feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail? Make the most of your slow period to re-organise, get on top of your accounting, get up to date on your paperwork, or make those client follow-ups you’ve been putting off. By catching up and getting ahead, you can reduce your stress and enter your busy period feeling 100%.

3. Practice self-care

Sure, you might think that taking some time out for yourself will be detrimental to your business but that’s not true. Burnout, stress and depression are common—particularly in the veterinary industry.

Using quiet periods to look inward, assess how you are feeling and your ability to cope is vital. Doing this will help catch any potential issues early on, rather than letting things escalate. So, next time business is quiet, allow yourself to sneak off early to catch up with friends. Taking your personal wellbeing seriously will help you keep things on track when business gets busy again.

4. Increase your marketing activity

Of course, if you don’t currently market your business perhaps you should! Consistent marketing is a great way to keep your pet business top of mind.

However, that doesn’t mean you suddenly need to come up with robust marketing spend. There are lots of low-cost ways to promote your business. For example, you might consider using Instagram to boost your pet business. This is a really easy way to connect with new and existing customers and promote your products or services. Plus, why not think about creating a newsletter for your business. This is not only a good way to inform your clients, but you can also use it to gather useful information. For instance, you might use a newsletter to invite your customers to fill in a questionnaire about your business offering.

5. Diversify

When times are slow, why not consider how else you can share your expertise or benefit your customers. For instance, a dog trainer might consider creating an e-book containing useful training tips for pet owners. Meanwhile, pet sitters can consider what other needs their clients may have. For example, offering an overnight or weekend service.

What pet business tips do you have for surviving seasonal slowdowns?

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Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure for the past 12 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals.

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