Devan Moonsamy 

One of the biggest challenges most companies face at the start of the year is the lack of revenue. After an incredible month of sales in December, the month after can prove to be disappointing as most people are cash strapped. 

This puts businesses under pressure to use creative ways to stay afloat. Besides staff being left with little work and management panicking about the slump in revenue, the issue with the month of January is that it is beyond our control.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell if the January slump will last longer than it should. Another contributing reason for this would be the fact that the Covid-19 virus is still operational and people are still being infected. 

As a small business owner, it might be the most difficult time to get by, because sales or not – bills must be paid. This also shows us that businesses are also forced to reassess their strategies and work harder to make January a positive month for sales. 

Instead of allowing the month to take its course surely a plan of action can be implemented to improve the outcome of an unpredictable sales month. If the usual ideas are not showing results thus far, it’s time to try something new. 

But what can be done to improve the situation? How can January be turned around to be profitable for your business?  

Capitalise on the ideas of themes. The start of the year means resolutions and people connecting with a new version of themselves. Use the start of the year to focus on that aspect. If your business offers fitness or diet and habit changes this is a great way to attract customers. It is also the time for people to give up things like smoking or sugar etc. If your business offers these kinds of products then changing your front display to showcase items that support the changes is a great way to get things going. 

A lot of times stores have products that have been difficult to sell. This would be a good time to mark them down and have a bargain table. It will aid customers who are looking for a good deal and help you clear out products that have not been selling.  You must look at your cost and make the necessary price adjustments so that even if the bargain table is working, other items around the store can attract the customers attention. 

It is also a good idea to evaluate if prices can be kept the same from December. Having an extended sale can be beneficial in terms of foot traffic to your store. Customers who may have missed out on your deals in December might take the chance to buy in January if the sale is extended. 

This is also a good time to create more presence with online shopping. Offer free delivery. Businesses are always improving their online presence and running a theme of free delivery for January can guarantee more products being purchased. 

Reward your loyal customers. This means ensuring those that have always supported you are given a chance to maybe have access to new products first. This can also mean enhancing their shopping experience by offering them a further discount for being loyal customers. 

As much as we are encouraging strategies to bring in more money you may also use the month to look at getting the store in order. Look at things like rearranging shelves, stock takes and other admin tasks that might not be able to be completed during the busy period. This can also be a great time to get staff familiar with product knowledge and ways on how to improve customer service.

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute. 

The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

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