|January is typically when customers tie their purse strings to pay off the holidays. You can change that.|
January is typically a good month to introduce product lines, whether to experiment or launch a full rollout of new merchandise, according to some small-business owners. In the food industry, for instance, the month is typically associated with healthy eating as many consumers look to take part in new year's resolutions to lose weight. That leaves open an opportunity to introduce fresh, unique products catering to this consumer.
Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, an online document filing and research assistance service for small businesses, also takes advantage of the new year. Her business helps start-ups and small firms form limited liability companies or corporations as well as offers a host of business services, such as online document filing and research for business licenses, trademarks and copyrighting licenses. "January tends to be busy for our industry" as people look to start new or change the structure of their business to coincide with the calendar year, Sweeney says.
Sweeney's slow season tends to be in the summer. Last year, she used the time to prepare for her busy season and to carefully create the fee-waiver promotion. Sweeney's well-planned promotion is a good example of how to take advantage of a slow time to prepare for the next busy season. It's not always about getting a new customer, she says, but preparing for when customers are ready to act, ensuring they become long-term customers. Other businesses look to order fresh inventory and stock up for the next busy season. Dana Norman and her partner, co-owners of CardSmart in Plainview, N.Y., are fairly new to the card business. They bought the store this past summer, so they have yet to go through a full 12-month business cycle. Norman is using the January downtime to organize and value leftover inventory for tax purposes. She's also dividing leftover Christmas stock into categories -- merchandise left over from the prior owner from lines the partners don't want to keep selling will have a "50% off" sign above it; merchandise they could bring out for future use is selling for 25% off. "After the rush of Christmas our inventory was pretty much wiped out," she says. "What we've been doing is re-ordering merchandise that we're going to continue to carry, ordering for Valentine's day and packing up all our Christmas cards." To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski
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