Sailing With Times And Seasons Of Business Life

The eagles, they say have a keen sense of seasonal variation and they recognize the flow of winds and they would align with the wind direction as they migrate to experience rebirth and renewal.  In this process, they use less energy and soar higher and faster and deeper into the mountains. Nature! You would say! Okay then. 

When you fly, especially across continents, quite often you’d hear announcements from the pilot that expected flight time will be shorter as ‘we expect to be assisted by the wind as we are flying in the wind’s direction’.  At times like this, the plane uses less energy, move faster and lots of cost savings.  Technology, you might want to say.

Well then, we have technically harnessed nature’s own to our benefits. The issue here is how do we use this concept of seasons and times for the business benefit? At every point in the life of a business entity, there is a reference in time. A new start-up; Ten years in business; Mid career; Third quarter of the year; Year end; and so on and so forth. 

There is certainly a reference in time an entity can recognise.  The timing of the entity determines a whole lot.  What sales or marketing strategy to deploy. What payouts are needed? What to keep steady on and what to ramp up on and what to slow down on.

Seasons are extended periods of time during which similar conditions prevail.  Business-wise, we can tag periods of recession as a season.  Boom times are seasons also. Sometime in the natural weather or climatic conditions during which there is a significant change in demand and supply, could be tagged a business season as well, i.e. winter and summer times etc.

 Different times and seasons comes with different business conditions, they come with opportunities, pressures, higher cost of production and several others.  Specifically, they distinctly impact product demand and consumption and of course, sales.

Here is the issue, we do need to first recognise the peculiar times and season of our business entity.  Our distinctive business times and season may not be same as those we generally know. I suggest you evolve it, recognise it and use it.  Identify the peculiarity around these times and seasons.  Check for consistency. Break it down to the minutest recognisable bit. 

In our photo business, we have time of the day when there are no customers calling at all, at other times, we have a rush and then it trickles down.  The business would need to look at what flexibility it can build into its schedules to maximize staff availability. Seriously consider a good flexi schedule and get Staff motivated by providing reasonable time off work for Staff, this way both Staff and the business gain and you have increased motivation.

Generally the business will have to craft its tactics around the times and make strategies around the seasons.  What Staff numbers do you need? What operational issues do we need to be put in perspective in view of customer response and volume at different time of the day? What numbers do you need at start of the day’s business? What is the best shift system to put? How many Staff should be on long term contract and what figures should be on short-term seasonal contracts? What advert campaigns should we embark on and when? Should the business spend financial capital on advert campaign during peak season or rather engage in promotions?

When should the business focus energy and resources on operational efficiency as opposed to external advertorials while risking getting overwhelmed and appearing clumsy, sloppy and unattractive to first time customers.  Capitalise on the times and the seasons of your business and more effectively spend your business capital. 

Share your thoughts, are there truly distinctive business times and seasons? How is it for you? Career-wise, does the tendency to want to take time out during peak period deplete your value and performance rating? Does it come across to your Bosses as a sign of laziness and seen as avoiding work? What’s your view? Tell it!!!

Akin-Longe, Business consultant and Managing Director of T&D Presss Ltd, Port Harcourt.

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