Prepare for the Slow Months

Fall is upon us, winter is fast approaching, and you are busy catching up on repair work, planning for DEMA or even a well-earned vacation after a busy summer with few days off. You also need to take time out to plan your inventory for the winter.

Why in the world would we be concerned about our winter inventory now, you ask? It’s simple: During those slow months we all tend to slow our buying or even cut it off entirely. We just don’t order much, or even worse, we don’t order at all until business picks back up in the spring.

We all have a little money in the bank due to the influx of new students, dive travel, and equipment sales. So let’s take a bit of this cash and stock our shelves for the winter business. If you don’t have an item in stock, how likely is it to lose your sale? I would say that you are much more likely to lose it to online sales than to complete it with a special order, and we never want to miss a sale, especially during the slow months.

I’m not saying that you need to overburden yourself with inventory, but when you write an order in these early fall months, add an extra regulator or two. The same goes for BCs: order an extra or two medium, medium tall, and large because these are the most popular sizes. You might want to build your inventory of wetsuits while you have some cash flowing in, especially in the same sizes mentioned above. These extra pieces of equipment will enable you to not find yourself in an out-of-stock condition and miss a sale in October, November, December, January, or February.

Don’t leave out the rubber goods either. Christmas will be here before you know it, and masks, fins, snorkels, and knives all make great gifts, especially for those who are going to receive a gift certificate for a scuba class.

This added inventory has another benefit. By filling up your shelves and peg hooks, it will give you a “ready-to-do-business” look. Things always sell better from full shelves than from half-full shelves.

While we have some cash in the bank, take a little time out between regulator repairs, and cylinder fills to build your inventory for the slow months ahead. This way you will not be in an out-of-stock condition when you have that potential sell in January or February.