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The Holidays Are Tough On Many Businesses, But Here’s How To Get Through

While many SMEs and some bigger companies brace for the Christmas cashflow slump--because of that 'holiday feeling'--there is no reason to resign themselves to a tough two or three months if they exercise some initiative.

Irwin Hau, the founder and director of Melbourne web design agency Chromatix and the Australasian MarTech SaaS start-up ConversionCow, urges businesses to take the initiative and make hay while everybody sleeps.

"The business-to-business sector largely falls off over December and January, while that same fatigue can set in during the post-holiday period for the retail industry (after the rush of November and December). The reaction by many is to accept that it will be a tough time to be in business--particularly for B2B when lack of sales in January comes home to roost in February.

"While you may not be able to rescue your entire holiday period, if you take action, you can salvage enough to make it through it," Hau said.

"Most importantly, do not give up. If this is your toughest time of year, it is not the time to go on holiday--unless your relationships or mental health need the downtime. Otherwise, it's time to work."

Hau acknowledges that his message may not be popular, but getting stuck in is, for many, a better alternative than the stress and anxiety that come from very little or no income over the holiday period.

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He offers the following ideas:

1. Pivot

An expression made famous during the COVID-19 lockdowns; pivoting means to seek related but alternative income streams.

"For example, a retailer may offer a pop-up store near the beach or host a family fun event with prizes to attract people. An accounting firm may offer a paid online webinar teaching other business owners how to overcome the cashflow crunch typical of the holiday period."

2. Partnerships and joint venture

Hau said nobody should have to go through the holiday alone, which also applies to businesses.

"Start meeting with your suppliers and other companies that service the same target market as yourself to talk about partnerships and joint ventures. These will create opportunities for you both to generate new business over this period--or even more business when things pick up again."

3. Maximise the few

There are fewer opportunities over the holiday period, which means that every business should maximise the opportunities they do get by going the extra mile to engage, communicate and impress--in other words, work harder to convert.

"One action may be to optimise your website to improve conversion. For example, ConversionCow allows you to deliver custom messages at the right time, target customer engagement, and display the best sales pitch of your business on a single pop-up page.

"However, regardless of how you maximise your conversions, at least do something," Hau said.

Proactive engagement and innovation are critical.

"Businesses can navigate this challenging time effectively by pivoting to alternative income streams, forming strategic partnerships, and maximising every opportunity. Embracing these strategies, rather than succumbing to the seasonal slowdown, can transform a traditionally tough period into a time of opportunity and growth," Hau said.

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