Did you have a good season? What might make next year better?

As we move into autumn, things are starting to slow down. So while the highs and lows of the summer are still fresh in your mind, now is the time to plan for a perfect 2016.

Do the numbers add up?

Some people love going through their books with a calculator, some people hate it. Either way, the numbers probably give a more accurate picture of where your business is doing well and where it needs to try harder than anything else.

Not just the figures that you send off to your accountant, though. Not just profit and loss, income and costs. If you have the right sort of figures in front of you, they’ll show you the strengths and weaknesses in your business and give you a good idea of how to improve next year.

Everyone’s books are going to give them a pretty accurate idea of how many pools they installed, how many saunas and how many spas they sold.

But if you keep a record of how many leads and enquiries you received, how many people came into your showroom, then that can tell you a great deal more.

If you are converting a good proportion of enquiries into sales – let’s say one in four or above – then you’ll benefit from marketing designed to get the number of enquiries up and increase footfall in your showroom.

If you are falling beneath that level, then perhaps you need to look at your sales techniques and maybe even your pricing before you look to improve your marketing.

That all-important ‘margin’.

The reason to be in business is to make a profit but, oddly, it’s sometimes possible to lose sight of that fact.

Some customers will try and drive a hard bargain and it can be difficult not to go along with that and to wave bye bye to a sale. But before your profit margin becomes actual profit, it has to pay for all the expenses that your business incurs.

If you don’t protect your profit margin, you aren’t looking after your business.

People will always value customer service and be prepared to pay that little bit extra for it. That might mean that you are adding first-rate design ideas to their installation or that you’re technical knowledge and after-sales support makes them feel that bit more comfortable with their purchase.

Whatever it takes, it’s usually better to look after your margin than to go chasing turnover at any cost.

A little light reading.

OK. It’s all very well to say ‘improve your marketing’ or ‘protect your margin’, but how exactly do you do that?

There is certainly no shortage of business advice books out there but how many of them are pertinent to the wet leisure industry and your business?

You can learn the secrets of highly successful people or discover what it takes to be the CEO of General Motors but is any of that likely to help you sell one more spa?

Over the last couple of years we have been building a digital library – well, at least a pretty big bookshelf – full of stuff that is specific to the wet leisure industry and written to help and advise people just like you.

A lot of industry members are already using the site and benefitting from the information that’s there. If you are not yet one of them, go and have a look.