Does your income plummet during the holidays? Here is the top 10 Strategies for overcoming sales slumps. (part 1 of 2)

Highs and lows are just a part of your business that makes a profit from your pouring passion. Whether you are selling, teaching, or both— your income will benefit from using some of these 10 strategies. We will be discussing strategies one through five here and the rest in part two— soon to come!

All businesses are seasonal to some degree. Your annual highs and lows will differ based on the locations where you offer your fluid art and workshops. For most of us, during the upcoming holidays, the people in your area will be spending their money on things other than your classes. This can create a seasonal low in your business that can cause financial problems unless you assertively take action now.  

There are some exceptions to Christmas lows, for example, there are some retail businesses that make so much profit during the holiday season they can operate at a loss for the rest of the year. Maybe there are approaches we can take to make more, not less income during the holidays

Basically, entrepreneurs solve problems for their customers. What kind of solutions, you ask? When someone finds a present for their hard-to-buy-for loved one, that is a solution! When we provide entertainment for a Christmas activity, that is problem-solving for our customers!  

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

To start overcoming your business’s seasonality, implement some of these strategies:

  1. Diversify
  2. Hosting Christmas parties and charities
  3. Christmas themed classes that solve problems for your students
  4. Establish partnerships
  5. Take a needed break
  6. Use your knowledge of your flat seasons to keep an eye on your cashflow.
  7. Pre-sell in three ways
  8. Follow the money
  9. Use your downtime to focus more on promoting your business
  10. Improve your products and services!

1. Diversify

Look for new opportunities. Almost every business can find another product or service to offer during their off-season. You will want to choose new products/services that complement your existing products/services. This will help fortify your brand throughout the year. 

If people in your area spend money on Christmas presents instead of on their own hobbies and enjoyment, consider having more art ready to sell for Christmas. We all know our art takes extra time to cure so plan accordingly. Remember that your “brand,” or reputation, is attached to everything you do. This means going to the extra effort of adding a dust cover, COA (Certificate Of Authenticity), and nice framing— all of which will reflect well on your teaching fluid art business.  

To further capitalize on the retail side of your business, also offer Christmas Gift Certificates for people to give as Christmas gifts. This is easier than you probably think! Jump on Google images, search “gift certificates” for examples you can make easily.  Hand number and sign each one you sell and keep records on a simple document on your computer. Or step it up by creating a nice image using a free account on canva.com    

Promoting the sales of your gift certificates can include buy-one-get-one specials. Such as Buy a $50 gift certificate for your friend and you get a $25 one for you free! Suggest amounts that cover your lower-priced classes but also give them opportunities to pay more to upgrade to your higher-priced options. You can decide what you will allow them to spend them on: Just your classes, your art, or any other products such as frames, mixed paint kits, varnishing services, etc.   

2. Hosting Christmas Office Parties and Charities 

These holiday events can take place in your studio or you can bring them to your students. Open your studio to offer a real art-making experience or enter a co-op agreement with venues you already teach at.

Another way to keep customers flowing into your business all year is by hosting other types of events. To make your events have more of an impact on your community, you can partner with local charities.  

Charitable giving is up during the holidays so get in on the action by offering support services to charities in their fundraising efforts. This doesn’t mean volunteering your services and giving away your paint and supplies. Charities are used to the idea that fundraising events have costs associated with them, so while some may diligently ask you to give or lower your rates you should not feel like you have to.  

Here’s a small-scale example. Participate in a charity’s market or fair. Have a walk-up Make-N-Take art project and your art for sale. A larger example is offering a class to their membership/followers. The charity markets it through their email list, host the location, handle enrollment and payment. You bring supplies and teach it on the day.  

3. Christmas themed classes that solve problems for your students.  

Remember you are in the business of solving problems for your customers.   

Offer specialized classes with Christmas themes to give the art they make as gifts to their loved ones.
You probably already have Christmas themed class projects in mind, such as:

  • Ornaments both 3D and wood cut-outs.
  • Christmas door hangers
  • And helping your students make multiple Christmas presents for their loved ones. Instead of them making one item they can make three, five, 12 or more of the same project with the intention of giving them as gifts.  

This now taps into their gift-giving budget while rationalizing why they can take your class! We do this naturally every year— buying ourselves something while we are gift shopping! 

4. Establish partnerships 

With another business to help cross-promote you can turn a larger profit in your slow season. For example, you can offer coupons or special offers to each other’s businesses. Essentially, you can send customers to each other.

Some of these 10 Strategies will take more time and more connections. Start now by building JV (Joint Venture) Partnerships for the next Christmas season. Establishing these new partnerships takes time so while your classes are decreased seasonally is a great time to pour energy and effort into building for the future.  

When you’re looking for a partner, you want to find one that compliments your business. This increases the chances of customers visiting your business from your partner’s business. For example art supply stores, art centers, galleries, and studios. Also, gift and home decor stores.

You also want to make sure that the business you partner with shares the same business values as you. For example, you want them to share the same customer service standards as your business. After all, you don’t want customers to go to a business you’re recommending and have a bad experience. That may reflect badly on your business, which is not what you’re hoping for.

5. Take a Break!

You’ve been working hard during your busy times so learning your highs and lows helps you to schedule your vacations and other breaks in a smart way!  

Shut down for a bit— you’ve earned it! It’s a tough balance sometimes between keeping your momentum going and resting. You can successfully do both by keeping the right attitude. You need breaks for variety and rest for a healthy lifestyle.  

Just remember that the highs and lows can also work in your favor. Rest while looking forward to hitting the ground running when your break ends! 

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