In web design (as in any industry) you'll see slow seasons. Summertime is our slowest few months. Typically we have a rush at the first of the year as though everyone has set a New Year's resolution to fix their websites; then at the end of the year it's as though everyone is in a rush to get their website ready for Christmas sales. It's typical that in June, July & August you can find our team on the golf course or floating the river (a Texas tradition).
Financially though, slow times can be devastating to your team and business. So how do you survive the slow seasons in the web design industry?
First be sure this slow spell is not due to anything you've done or not done. In other words - look back in your sales to last year and see if the same slump occurred during this time. If it did - at least you know that it's not some dip due to your team, but that being said, how can we change things? Here are three steps to not only survive the slow seasons but to thrive during them.
Step 1 - Plan for It
If this is consistently your slow season - put it on the calendar. Schedule a team-building trip and get away for a bit to brainstorm ways to grow your business and improve your team communication. If you can plan for the downtime - your lead developers could book a family vacation and your development calendar will stay on track. There are all sorts of ways to spin the down time, but planning for it and giving your team a head's up will keep everyone from going into a panic when there's no work for them on Monday morning.
Step 2 - Get Creative
We find ourselves networking with summer youth code camps and other tech events just to keep our name out there and keep our teaching skills up. There's nothing like an eight year old to show you a new php loop that humbles and excites you all at once.
There are ways to make money in these camps too. Your developers could get paid to teach. Hold your own summer code camp, or put on an SEO Summer Seminar for adults.
Another way to get creative with your time is to re-connect with old clients and see if they're ready to spice up their old content? Maybe they'll hire you for a website makeover, or for a new feature that they're looking to add.
Step 3 - Budget for It
This is the part that really makes or breaks your business during down time. We wouldn't survive slower times without residual income from our existing clients. Support package fees can carry the financial burden for your entire team if you've consistently sold them as you've launched new websites.
Overall don't panic. Get creative and use the slower time for education, rejuvenation, and improvements. Your business can only get better if you've got a game plan in place for thriving in slower seasons.