There’s a reason you can’t bet on a horse race from two weeks ago. Because it already happened! It’s the same reason you can’t buy home insurance after the fire. Or the reason Halloween candy costs more on October 27 than it does on November 5. It’s all about timing.
Timing is one thing that all recretainment businesses understand. We generally operate on calendars, deadlines, and special events. This is actually a plus for our industry. People want to enjoy the services we provide, they want to be entertained. You can send out announcements, reserve the space, and order food to sell, however, it’s really hard to host your Pond Hockey event in the summer.
Yes, I’m being a little obvious with my examples. The important take away is that businesses have cycles. It may follow a calendar. It may be longer than a calendar. When I worked in college admissions we worked on an 18 month cycle. We started with Juniors in the spring (because they take their entrance exams). Then we encouraged summer visits. That lead to the fall of their Senior Year our big application time. Followed by Winter visits and spring decisions rolling into fall enrollment. It was a cycle dictated by their high school calendar.
If we started providing the “decision” information at the time they were Juniors our efforts would be wasted. Psychologically they are not in that phase. Believe me, the entire class, as a group, moves through this phase. It is rare to have an outlier that knows what college they will select at the beginning of the 18-month cycle. It’s been a while since I worked in admissions, my hunch is the prospecting cycle starts earlier now.
Learn to follow the pattern of your customer cycle and most important, get ahead of it. Your most effective efforts will come when you’re able to plan. I think one of the downfalls of the “instant” society we live in is that it’s instant, we tend to be operating last minute, because we can. I’m guilty of it too. It’s the “oh shoot” moment… when you realize that it’s a holiday tomorrow… and you can post something online about it. It works, but would it have been more effective if you ran a 2 week countdown with specials along the way?
PS: if you love my post… give it a “like”!
1- Identify your business cycle, and it may be different for each profit center. But is it a calendar year, school year, holiday cycle? Or is it independent for each person? Work backward from the sale to your first “touch point” with the customer.
2- Now… get ahead of the wave! Don’t create social media posts the night before… Plot dates on a calendar, create countdowns, start planning!
3– Install our app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)
Listen to Episode #85 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast