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More Sales, Greater Profits, Less Hassle During Your Peak Times
By William McCurry   Printer Friendly Version

Two gas stations on opposite corners. Both sell at the same price. One does 100% more business over Labor Day weekend. What's the difference? One was ready for "peak season" the other was just ready for "business".

Every company has some period of time when their business "peaks". There are simple steps to follow to get your organization capable of maximizing peak seasonal operations. All that's required is a commitment to think ahead, plan ahead and be prepared.

First, determine the slowest period of the year. Usually this would be the lowest sales volume week. Compare that to the highest volume week. The relationship ("ratio" for you math whizzes) between these numbers is the "speed-up factor" needed. An example is the Hallmark Card store with second week of July sales totaling $2,200. The week before Christmas generated $15,450 in sales. In this case the speed-up factor is seven times. (15,450 divided by 2,200 equals 7.0)

The correct way to view this is to say, "During the week before Christmas we must operate seven times faster just to stay up with the customer flow."

Once this factor is determined, analyze each aspect of your daily operations multiplied by the speed-up factor. Let's assume you operate the above example Hallmark Card store. Examine routine functions such as sending someone to the bank each day to get change for the cash register. If this takes 10 minutes for the Hallmark Card store in July, it means committing 70 minutes for the same function the week before Christmas. This is wasting the equivalent of 70 minutes in peak season. Your job is to find ways to eliminate the need for daily trips to the bank. This includes changes in operations during peak season. Perhaps during those heavy times you increase the amount of change you keep on hand. Maybe you hire an armored car service. Maybe you hire a trustworthy part time person just to take care of this one chore. Find a way to eliminate spending the equivalent of 70 minutes during your peak season doing a mundane task that can be delegated by a comparatively unskilled person.

Next look at how you can prepare the operational areas. Ever notice a quality high volume restaurant? As soon as a table is emptied, they immediately reset it, ready for action. The materials (table cloth, silverware, etc.) needed are neatly stored nearby in adequate quantities. Think through the supplies and materials you will need for your peak increase in business. You can't afford to be chasing down office supplies, forms or toilet paper during peak season. Order those well ahead of time. If you do not have storage space, arrange with your vendors for scheduled shipments of materials.

Look at your "action area". For a ski resort this would be the equipment rental area. For a retail store this would be the cash and wrap area. Where in your organization do customers bottleneck and tend to wait for service? Now, examine what tools and equipment you have to expedite customers at that point. How neat, clean and streamlined is the area? How much "stuff" has accumulated around the area making it hard to professionally handle increased volume? The solution: move away what isn't used daily. Store them out of the way. As a rule of thumb, things that are needed daily should be within arms reach. Things needed less frequently can be stored in drawers or cabinets nearby. During peak times, having clean clear uncluttered working space is critical.

Have your team prepared for the increased pace. Meet with them well ahead of the season. Ask them to list frustrations from the last peak season. What is their solution to those frustrations? Insure your co-workers know you want to make peak seasons more fun and less stressful for customers and staff. Their buy-in and support will make the difference. Listen to their suggestions. Find ways to implement their ideas.

These are the details, which will allow you, increased sales and lessen the tension on your organization and customers. Plan ahead to exceed your sales goals with happier customers and more importantly a less frazzled team. Implement your plan for your success today!

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