The Payroll Blog

News, tips, and advice for small business owners

empty restaurant

New Year, Stale Sales: 4 Tips for Making the Most of the Post-Holiday Downswing

Posted On
Stephanie Davis

The holiday season has come and gone, presents have been unwrapped, your tree is down and decorations are away, and you’re nearly a month into 2018. 

But while your small business is gearing up for the new year, your consumers might not be as ready to dive right in. While December is known for being a big spending month, particularly in the consumer space, the same cannot always be said of January. 

People are curbing their spending in light of holiday sprees and gifts received and many aren’t dining out as much due to endless holiday leftovers and new year health resolutions. As a small business owner, how do you deal with this slow season? We have a few ideas to find the upside in this natural downswing.

Start Your Spring Cleaning

Time moves fast, especially in retail. Spend some time evaluating your inventory and getting prepared for the next season. January is a great month to start clearing out winter inventory to make room for spring. In addition to winter apparel, early Valentine’s Day gifts, Christmas décor, watches, and linens are also common items people shop for every January. If your small business sells any of these items, this is definitely the time to get some sales going.

Offer Creative Promotions

It’s going to take a really enticing deal to thaw the January spending freeze. By getting creative with your promotions and offering something people will want, you can increase your sales. Did you sell a lot of gift cards or e-gift cards during the holiday season? If you have the e-mail addresses of recipients, send them an email with a special promotion to entice them to spend their gift card or consider purchasing additional items, or to reach a broader audience post your message on social media for all customers to see.

December is a big month for going out and dining at restaurants. When January hits, people want to spend more time at home and recover. This is a great time to offer a new takeout deal or a “New Year, New You” healthy meal special if you are a restaurant owner. This could work for both carry-out and delivery—and January might be a good month to test out delivery as a service if you don’t offer it already. Even though you may have fewer people in the restaurant, you can still get sales from the people dining at home.

Start a Loyalty Program

People love to be rewarded for their spending and have the opportunity to earn free items in exchange for their purchases. A common practice with loyalty programs is to offer something free after the 10th purchase. For the month of January, think about decreasing this to five purchases. By setting a smaller, more achievable goal during that month, you may be surprised by the traffic you see coming in your business.

Bottom Line

After the success of the holiday season for many small business owners in the retail and restaurant industries, it can be hard to deal with the sales slump that can occur in January. Seasonal downswings are common, and if you know that this is a historically challenging time for you, there are ways that you can prepare in advance of the next cycle. At the very least, this would be a good time to get some brainstorming and planning done to increase sales during the rest of the year.

Do you have advice for going through a slow sales slump? Tweet us @SurePayroll.