THE BLOG
10/15/2014 10:08 am ET Updated Dec 15, 2014

How to Avoid the Ups and Downs of Unsteady Sales

One of the most frustrating problems of running a business is uneven customer flow. One month, traffic is booming, sales are great, and income soars. The next month, your staff is bored to tears and your office has tumbleweeds rolling around​.

Some business owners search far and wide to nail down a cause for these ups and downs, blaming the economy, their employees, the competition, or even the weather. Others decide that it is simply the nature of the business, to be slow some months and busy other months, and they accept the feast or famine cycle as a "part of business".

While these reasons may indeed cause ups and downs, what I see more often than not is that the frustrating dips in sales have to do with your marketing approach​. Yep, if you're like most business owners, you're approaching your marketing from the wrong direction. But, don't worry, there's an easy fix.

Here's what I mean...

Most small business owners use marketing as a solution to a problem.

Let's use James as an example. James owns a bakery. He bakes everything from wedding cakes to apple pies to doughnuts. He has a small staff of 3 people.

As fall approaches,​ business gets slower for James. It gets so slow that he starts to worry about why people aren't coming into the bakery. Has the quality declined? Is there a new bakery in town? His staff is bored, and the bakery is starting to collect dust.

But, James is smart and he recognizes that he needs to market his bakery more effectively to bring in customers. So he purchases a few local advertisements, gets active on social media, and writes a few blog posts about some of his new items. He even decides to host a Halloween party for his neighborhood and he makes some special Halloween treats to sell.

The marketing begins to do its job and as fall turns to winter, business picks up. Customers start coming through the door more regularly, cakes and pies are sold, credit cards are swiped and all employees are back to work.

Things get so busy, in fact, that a few tasks start getting pushed to tomorrow. Since business is good, marketing activities are among those tasks that just don't get done. The local advertisements don't get renewed, no more blog posts are released, and social media activity comes to a screeching halt. James gets so busy with new customers that his marketing takes a backseat.

After a couple of months, business slows down again.

You can start to see the ups and downs forming in James's bakery. Because James is using marketing as a solution to a problem, he is unconsciously creating spikes in his sales.

You cannot just use marketing when business is slow. If you want steady customers and consistent sales, then you need to use marketing consistently, not just as a solution to a problem. Marketing must be a non-negotiable part of your day-to-day business activities.

Marketing can't get pushed to tomorrow. It must get done every day. If you make marketing one of your core business activities, a daily priority, your income will reflect that consistency. So, create a schedule and stick to it, so it gets done every single day.​

And​ remember, you don't have to do it alone.

Enlist the support of your whole team. Marketing doesn't need to be a one man show. Everyone can be involved. Divide tasks among your whole office to be sure everything is done on time, like clockwork. Marketing is just as important as bookkeeping, answering the phones, and locking the doors at night. It should not be forgotten, overlooked, or put on the back burner.

So many businesses struggle with inconsistent sales and unreliable income, particularly when they're first starting out. Consistent marketing is how you create consistent business success.

This will also build on itself. When your customers hear from you consistently, you stay at the top of their mind. The more regularly you communicate with your audience, the stronger your bond will be and the more effective your marketing will become. The very best thing you can do for your business is to regularly market your products and services.

​So, instead of using​ marketing as a solution to a problem​, u​se it as a daily tool to create that steady stream of customers all businesses deserve.