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Bouncing Back After Busy Season

BY KAREN GUZMAN, CRS; IDENTIFICATION PLATES
AWARDS AND PERSONALIZATION ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

 

RELAX NOW, THEN PREPARE FOR LATER

(June 28, 2019) Phew. Busy season is winding down. By now, I hope your business’s bank account is as full as your energy reserves are empty.
Whether or not you’re actually taking one this month, know that you’ve earned yourself a vacation—or at least some quality time at home.
And remember that busy season—that hectic time each spring when orders come in faster than you can fill them—affects many of the retailers and suppliers in our industry.

For those without any school- or sports-related business, spring is a little more sedate. The rest of us brace for April, hire extra help as needed, and consign ourselves to working extra hours. It’s especially hard on our small business retailers who have to work nights and weekends to keep up.

This month, however, is when it all pays off. The orders start tapering off, giving you a little breathing room, and the money starts rolling in for all of those orders, even for the ones you had to invoice (and re-invoice) the school district for.

I hope you can pause to pat yourself on the back, appreciate the spoils of your hard work, and promise that you’ll have a plan to manage next year’s busy season. Then, I want you to make it happen.

How? If busy season is what makes or breaks your business, you need to diversify. If busy season means your dog doesn’t recognize you, then you need to diversify. If you spend April worrying that busy season orders won’t come in and May worrying that they won’t ever stop coming in, you need to diversify.

Diversifying will increase your income outside of busy season, enabling you to relax a little next spring without the worry that you’ll destroy your business if you don’t work weekends. Diversifying also reduces risk. Right now, if the majority of your business comes from one customer or one industry, you run the risk of losing your business when you lose just one key contact. The retirement of an athletic director for a big school district could create chaos in your business if you haven’t diversified among many different types of clients. (One method for diversifying is to expand the personalization processes you offer—and the feature story in this issue might help you do just that.)

Give yourself the ultimate reward of a busy season that can’t break you. Start looking through our resources (including Insights—I encourage you to check out Ed Levy’s article in this issue on seven time-management tips you won’t want to live without—association webinars, the Member2Member Forum, expo education session recordings, and more) to find out more about the customers, industries, and niches you’re not serving. Find out now how to use the equipment and staff you already have to personalize products that will appeal to additional audiences at other times of the year—and how to market those products.

I’m not going to pretend change is easy, but it can be exciting if you approach it with an eye toward the opportunities presented.

Busy season probably had you playing Annie, singing “Tomorrow, Tomorrow” whenever you thought of anything beyond filling urgent orders. But tomorrow—the end of busy season—is on its way. Use your momentum to ensure you and your business continue to thrive!

Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

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