Planning to profit from the post-Christmas lull

CHRISTMAS is traditionally a busy period for most businesses, but so too is the trading lull in January considered something of a tradition.

While many business owners take the opportunity to go on holiday, those who need to stay trading have to find ways of getting customers through the door.

Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis said the quiet time following Christmas could be a good time to try and attract customers.

“A lot of businesses shut down through that period so it’s not a bad time to promote your services,” he said.

Mr Etrelezis said one way for businesses to cash in post-Christmas was to make the most of the money people received as gifts.

“A lot of people are given money for Christmas so perhaps make a special offer to turn that Christmas gift into your service,” he said.

“Another thing is handling the extra holiday time that people will have. This is a good one for hardware stores and the like because they can make 2003 the time to get those jobs around the home done.

“There should also be a build up for the back-to-school exercise.

“Some companies do that well and it’s

not just stationery anymore; it’s sports shoes, equipment and all sorts of things.

“With the back-to-school build up it’s also a good time to have your computer checked. Computer stores could make a good offer of free check ups and build from there.

“Given January is normally a family holiday time, businesses need to try and offer family type things. Grow some promotions that target the family.”

Magenta director Melissa Lekias said January was a good time for businesses to try and build on relationships with existing customers.

“Try to get your existing market base back in through exclusive and special offers,” she said.

“Try and drive offers through Christmas that are redeemable through January.

“People are also out and about in January so it may pay to look at outdoor advertising to attract their attention.”

Core Marketing Group managing director Yvonne Wrenshaw said it was essential for businesses to gain as much information on their customers as possible.

“You need information such as what induces your customers to buy, what their demographics are and what their psycho-graphics are,” she said.

“With this sort of information you can decide whether it is worth advertising in the quieter times.

“After all, if your customers are away on holidays, no amount of advertising is going to make them spend money with you.

“By knowing your customers you can also work out what sort of offer will entice them to buy in the quieter periods.”

Ms Wrenshaw said it was crucial that businesses planned for such quiet periods, and gaining market information was a vital part of that process.

Mr Etrelezis said the quiet time through January was also a good chance for businesses to catch up on their planning activities.

“Use some of that quieter time to be a bit more busy on the strategic side of the business because you are normally too busy at other times of the year to do it,” he said.

“Put a plan in place that allows you to target contacts and prospects at regular times through the year.

“Also, you should consider taking the chance to enjoy that quiet time yourself.”

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