Many small businesses have been struggling during the last 18 months and for reasons none of us doubt. Some have used this time very wisely by restructuring, by economizing, by rethinking how they do business, and by investing in infrastructure and inventory. These are all worthy pursuits at any time but have proven especially productive during this uncertain period. If you know your business will come back, taking care of those things you can't so easily accomplish when it's business-as-usual makes perfect sense.
There are many, however, who have not had either the luxury or the foresight to carry forward. We've all seen 'CLOSED' signs on business doors, all over the country. But just because they have not been cash-rich doesn't mean that there hasn't been much these businesses could have done; and that's the tragedy.
WAYS has been on a mild hiatus simply because so many WAYS clients, and potential clients, have been. People don't like to pay for business consultants when they're convinced they're 'going to go under anyway'. Now with the coming of autumn here in the Northeast, WAYS is again available to those who recognize that this season is a building season for the marine industry, just like the COVID shut-ins and lockdowns have been for so many others in the business sector. NOW is the time to take stock of what you do best, look after areas that need improvement, rethink employee functions and schedules, upgrade facilities and reconsider product lines and services.
In general terms, a season-susceptible business like boating in areas like the US Northeast should schedule sort of like this (dates can be adjusted to suit individual cases):
- perform winterizing work on client boats
- winterize facilities; pull docks; set bubblers; inspect all roofing
- sell off remaining shelf inventory
- build as many boats as possible! - taking each one to highest level of completion before options
- perform the 'worst' (indoor) boat-repair chores for clients
- repair all facility boats, docks, etc.
- upgrade facility interiors
- conduct physical inventory
- stock online sales channels with product
- restructure staff schedules in anticipation of spring
- plan season-opening sales and events
- complete annual tax-return tasks
- interview potential staff
- perform 'make-ready' work on client boats
- advertise boats for sale
- conduct season-opening sales and events
- prepare facility for summer (set docks, etc.)
- train new staff
- clean whole facility!
- conduct business in retail, service, online
- schedule winterizing service for clients
- facilitate management vacations!
Too little-appreciated is the plain fact that, logistically, the autumn/winter season is clearly the best time to take advantage of a slowdown of actual work for clients and to do all that you can for the business itself. Wise professionals will leverage this opportunity to develop plans for a smooth spring and summer season.
WAYS can help with what needs to be done, when it can be done, how it can be done, and how much it will cost. Get in touch soon! And in any case, have a pleasant and profitable 'off-season'!