Every company goes through some period of lull when there is a significant drop in business activities. Print business in Nigeria is structured in such a way that after a busy season that often occurs between October and December of every year companies often experience some lull in business for some months before things begin to pick up again. During this period a lot of owners of print shops just seat down doing nothing. A recent visit to some print shops in shomolu LAGOS, Nigeria reveals that print business is currently experiencing some lull. Shomolu in LAGOS happens to host the highest number of print shops in Nigeria and often experiences hyper printing business activities particularly during print peak season (October to January) every year.
Print shops in Shomolu also handled most of the print jobs that were used during the just concluded National elections. So, visiting Shomolu few months after the last print peak season and the National election, you could visibly see the lull in business as most print shops were either closed or those who are opened are not engage in any form of print production. True, there is indeed a lull in print business, which I believe will hopefully pick up again in the next couple of months after the swearing-in of President Buhari and several State Governors in Nigeria for a new term on the 29th of May.
While we wait for this to happen, Printers should not close shop or seat idle in their shops doing nothing, there are other business activities print shop owners could engage in.
I will share a few of them with you
Maintenance of Machines: During peak season of printing business, print shops often don’t have time to maintain their printing machines. And because of the heavy use of these machines during this period, they often undergo heavy wear and tear. Therefore a period of lull in business provides the best opportunity for you to carry out complete overhaul of all the printing machines in your shop. This will help position your print shop in a good state when business picks up again.Training of Staff: The skills of your production staff often affects the quality of print jobs that come out from your print shops. For you to sustain quality print production, you need to continuously and consistently upgrade the skill of your production staff particularly as you acquire new machines and introduce new processes in print production. Print shops when busy often find it difficult to release their staff for training. Therefore, the period of lull in business provides the right opportunity to train your staff to upgrade their skill in preparation for the time business activities picks up.
New Business opportunities: Owners of print shops often do not have time to engage in certain activities like browsing the Internet, reading print business journals, attend exhibition and workshops etc that will expose them to new trends and opportunities in print business. Access to new trends and opportunities will equip you with the ability to constantly reinvent your business and keep it relevant in the face of ever changing business environment. A period of lull in business provides a print shop owner or executive the best time to take advantage of these platforms mentioned above to gain insight into new trends and opportunities in print business
New Perspective for your business: How your business is viewed by your customers often determine your level of patronage vis-a-vis your profitability. Print shops are patronized during peak season not because they are good but because of availability. The image of your print shops is very crucial if you want to remain in business. Many print shops are characterized by poor print quality, poor delivery time etc. A time of lull is when to deal with these issues. It is also time to go around and visit your competitors to see what they are doing differently with a view of guiding you to repositioning your company to compete favorably in future.
Socializing and Networking: A period of lull is a time where business owners and executive spend time to socialize and network at various levels both within and outside their industry. The truth is, your network will ultimately determine your net worth. So you need to expand your network by reaching out to more people. You can do this by joining and be active in your industry associations and several other social clubs that will project your interest and business.
Conclusion: A lull in business activities may not be negative after all. It is what you do during this period that matters. It can actually be a time where more value is added to your business. Therefore, we must take advantage of such moments to advance our businesses. For print business in Nigeria that experiences more predictive lull in printing activities especially after the December print season you can actually plan some of the above suggested business activities for this period.
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