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Is there such a thing as a ‘slow’ period in business anymore?

Andy Bristow of Bristow Holland discusses how seasonal business trends seem to be changing…

It’s rare that we blow our own trumpet, but in this instance, we’d like to make an exception because the nature of the subject has prompted a discussion point we’d like to share.  This September has been our best on record since our inception in 2013.  Historically for us, September figures are not as high as other months because of the quieter summer months that precede it.  But in recent years, the summer months have become busier and busier for us, with this summer not really having slowed down at all.  Many of our clients and suppliers have also shared that they’ve been busier than usual during their so-called quieter months.  This has prompted the question:  is there such a thing as a seasonal slow period in business anymore?

Traditionally, businesses seem to go through trends in terms of busy periods.  These trends vary from sector to sector and can be dependent on the nature of the business offering.  But are these seasonal business trends less prominent than in previous years?  The most common slow periods that the B2B sector experiences are summer and Christmas.  However, year-on-year, many B2B suppliers are finding that business is more consistent throughout the year as a whole, with fewer seasonal peaks and troughs.  Our bumper figures for September 2017 certainly support the view that seasonal business trends seem to be changing. 

So why are seasonal slow periods on the decline?  One theory is that our increased connectedness to the office via smartphones and tablets has resulted in more people performing basic work functions while out of the office and, in some cases, while on annual leave.  With constant access to our emails, no one is ever really ‘out of the office’ anymore.  While this may not be ideal from a work/life balance perspective, it means that from a business point of view that projects don’t get put on hold while the person responsible is physically out of the office because they can still be involved remotely.  As a result, projects aren’t held up or ‘put off’ until after the holiday periods. 

From a recruitment perspective, holidays give people time to reflect and this can often be a motivating factor in starting the search for a new job.  The rise of social media means that people are constantly online and it is playing an increasingly important role in the recruitment process.  You could be laying on the beach dreading going back to work, have the realisation that you need to make a change and begin your job search right there and then on your phone.  This is certainly a contributing factor to increased enquiries and applications during what were previously the traditionally quieter summer months, resulting in higher placement numbers for the months following this key holiday time. 

Our increasingly successful Septembers illustrate that for us a business, our seasonal trends are declining.  Which has sparked our curiosity about whether this is the case for the B2B landscape as whole.  Is it the case that times have changed and therefore so has the business landscape, resulting in shifts to seasonal business trends?  Have you experienced similar changes? Let us know, we’d love to put our theory to the test…

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