Here are 8 ways for HOA vendors to stay productive and develop their business during downtimes
Running your own business is satisfying but also a constant challenge. Hopefully, you stay busy, but there might be downtimes. Whether you’ve lost a client, you do seasonal work or there are natural lulls in your industry, you may experience periods when the jobs are few. How you respond to such downturns can make or break your business.
VendorSmart℠ offers eight tips for how to stay busy and thrive during slow times.
1. Run a sale
Sales are a great way to boost income or book extra jobs with HOA communities or condo associations. Companies can promote high-inventory products or use discounts or special offers to urge clients to book a particular service. A winter maintenance special, for instance, is a good tool for suggesting off-season jobs that clients might overlook in the busy summer months.
2. Reach out to current and former clients
Slow periods are a good time for a company to up its customer service game. They might connect with current clients and see if there is anything they need, or follow up on a past project to see if there are any issues. It’s a good idea to schedule a meeting to discuss upcoming projects or needs that will develop once spring hits. There is no rule that says companies can’t contact past clients, either. Maybe they’re unhappy with their current vendor and would consider coming back.
3. Keep marketing services
HOA vendors should never stop trying to find new clients. Lulls are a great time to either develop or expand marketing efforts. Often when they’re busy, they might be too busy to think about signing new contracts. They can use the off-season to take some of these steps:
- Create an ad campaign
- Build a social media presence
- Attend a conference
- Plan networking events that target local associations and community managers
- Update the company website
- Start a blog to share the company’s expertise and improve SEO results
Anything a vendor can do to promote the business is a good thing.
4. Audit the business and finances
Another way for a vendor to make use of free time is to study the company’s books and conduct an audit. Maybe the company spent more money on supplies or equipment than it imagined. Maybe it spent more time on a project than expected. Vendors should take an honest look at the health of the business and decide if changes are needed. It’s also a good time to update accounting software or human resources systems so things run more efficiently.
5. Identify ways to cut costs
Downtimes can be uncertain, but they might also force a company to make needed changes. Perhaps it’s time to find a new supplier or renegotiate a contract. What about other business expenses like equipment, software, internet or phone service? Is it time to think about buying a building versus leasing space? Should the company look at moving locations to find more affordable rent? These are all changes worth considering to make a business more efficient and cut down on wasteful spending.
6. Add new services or programs
Maybe it’s actually time for the company to expand and add more services. If there’s an idea that the vendor has put off, it could be time to pull the trigger and make it happen.
7. Start preparing taxes
Chances are you don’t enjoy preparing taxes. However, a slow time at work is the ideal time to get a head start on next year’s filings. The company can take advantage of the time to organize receipts and files. It’s also a good idea to consult with a CPA or tax attorney to see what the company should save and what it can claim as business expenses. Tax laws change all the time, so vendors should make sure they’re compliant with current regulations. They might also want to review payroll taxes, which are often overlooked by business owners.
8. Budget for downtimes
If the business has natural lulls or is seasonal – meaning the vendor won’t be working during certain months – it is wise to take a hard look at the finances and plan accordingly. Forecasting and budgeting can prevent cash-flow problems. Vendors should pay attention to spending patterns and know when to cut back on expenses. Lulls in business can be alarming, but they also present opportunities to expand or change your business for the better. If you’re looking to find new clients, VendorSmart℠ can help by connecting you to community managers and HOAs looking to hire service providers. We can also help you manage bidding and RFPs, and stay on top of compliance documents. Contact us to get started.