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Managing your business’s slow season

The following post is from Katie of Making This Home and Gadanke:

Managing your business's slow season

This time of year is always our slowest sales season at the Gadanke journal shop. Chances are, if you are a blogger or retailer outside of tourism, it’s your slower season, too. From a business perspective, this quieter time is a huge blessing. That sounds crazy, I know. A slower season means less money. But here’s why I’m so thankful for this season:

1. A slow season brings fresh perspective for evaluating your work.

Here’s your chance to step back and look at your business. What’s working? What could work better? I remember the panic I felt in my first year when sales dipped during my slow time. I quickly found that the slower time was the perfect respite. I mentally evaluated our entire journal production process (everything is handmade here), and I quickly saw where we had room to improve. I got us better tools, sourced a nicer 100% recycled paper, and updated a few writing prompt journals.

2. Use the slow season as an opportunity to learn as much as you can.

Here is your chance to improve your skills and learn new things. Order a few books online, find a new blog, or listen to podcasts. (I recently started listening to The Lively Show with Jess Lively, while my husband is learning the programming language, Django.) I’m also getting brighter, more attractive photographs snapped of products, like I did with our best-selling baby journal.

3. Try new things during your slow season.

Test that social media idea you’ve always wanted to tinker with. This year, I ramped up Gadanke’s presence on Facebook. I’m finding what works best for me and what my customers most enjoy. Then when school starts and people start reaching more for their Gadanke journals, I have these storycatching resources established. Posting useful nuggets and prompts will already be a regular part of my routine.

4. Use the slow season to stock up, plan your strategy, and get ahead.

Running a handmade shop makes this aspect of the slow season essential to my business’s success. We restock our inventory with products people love (like the mother-daughter journal) and phase out older products and color variants to keep Gadanke fresh. It’s a great time to plan your editorial calendars, marketing plans, and update your online content for the coming months.

5. Enjoy yourself.

This one might just be the hardest of all. Embrace this place you’re in. Keep working, of course. But know that this is your chance to enjoy where you’re at. Spend a little extra time with your family. Play in the kitchen more. Ride your bike. Read novels. You know – do more of what’s fun. You can work soon enough.

How do you make the most of your slow season?

Katie Clemons is a storycatcher and journal crafter. She helps people celebrate their stories with her award-winning writing prompt journals at Gadanke. She also blogs at Making This Home about simple, handmade living from a vintage airplane hangar in Montana.