Fall is my favorite time of year, which I’m pretty sure the internet defines as “basic”. Yeah, I like a good pumpkin spice latte, but that’s not the only reason. In Arizona, fall means that our 3-month prison sentence is finally over. It’s time to go back outside for 9 months of hiking, hunting, camping, poolside barbecues and late nights with friends and a bottle of wine around a fire (the fire being solely for s’mores, never by necessity).
But ever since coming on to the Wilderness Athlete team, fall has meant something new to me also. The annual sales slow-down (insert dramatic music here).
Let me give you a little insight into the Wilderness Athlete sales cycle. I’ll draw you a graph –
January – New Year’s Resolutions – everyone is refocused on weight loss and achieving fitness goals.
May – “Oh crap, it’s getting hot outside. What’s that Recover & Hydrate product from WA I used last year?”
August – Everyone stocks up (last minute, might I add) on essentials for your hunt. H&R, Altitude Advantage, Re-Bars, etc…
September – YOU ALL LEAVE
October – December – Slowly, you trickle back in from the wilderness, ready to re-stock your supplement cabinet and recover from whatever adventures you found.
We know why this happens. Our customer base is made up of archery hunters – the rugged type who take to the mountains in search of adventure and dinner. You stock up in July and August, and then you go off the grid (and we like that about you)…
Now, over the years this cycle has drastically improved. As our company has grown, we’ve brought on a lot of new customers outside of the archery industry, and outside of the hunting industry all together. This has helped offset this trend a little bit. August isn’t quite the outlier it used to be anymore, but September 1st still marks the beginning of a slow down.
But with decreased activity comes an opportunity…
I’m a huge proponent of “deep work”. Work that can only be done when you’re able to pause the distractions and focus on what you’re doing for hours at a time. The fact is, our team cannot do deep work from April 1st – August 31st.
The customer service team doesn’t have time to do anything but answer phones and emails. The marketing team is constantly working to help the Working Athlete sales team accomplish their goals, while juggling the Wilderness Athlete marketing plan. The logistics and warehouse team work tirelessly to make sure your orders make it onto the UPS truck in time. On top of all of that, half of us are traveling any given week for events, meetings, trade shows and more. It’s a cluster.
There is no time for planning, no time for strategy, and rarely time for focused, meaningful work.
This year, we plan to use our “fall break” in a couple of very meaningful ways:
1. Everyone goes hunting (Oprah voice: You get an elk! You get a deer)– Okay, this isn’t new. We’ve done this every year. But as our team grows, it seems like the September/October calendar is 100% booked with hunts. Someone is hunting everyday, which is awesome. At WA, our team gets unlimited vacation. I hear sometimes that they are nervous to use too much, in fear that the rest of the team might judge them. But it doesn’t seem like this fear effects them as much in September. Hmmm, funny.
2. We’re working on some new, thought-provoking (hint, hint) products that will blow your mind (another hint). The product line that we’re finishing up this fall is 100% out of our wheelhouse. It’s like nothing we’ve ever done before. Good business practice tells us to stick to what we’re good at, stay inside our box, focus on our core competency. Well, this product line doesn’t do any of that.
We’ve been using ourselves as test-subjects for the last couple of weeks, and the results are in. This line rocks. Our formulator has done it again. Now it’s time to figure out labels, packaging, launch plans and more. I can’t wait to tell you more about these products.
3. We’re having babies. Okay, not all of us. And yeah, we don’t have as much control over the timing of this one. But we have three Wilderness Athlete babies on the way. Ashley, our Creative Director is expecting Wesley in November. Douglas, one of our web developers and his wife are expecting their baby boy in December. And Evangeline Paulsen, who many of you have talked to on the phone, is due in February. We’ll pretend that everyone planned this to happen during the slow season.
4. We’re making the 28 Day Challenge bigger and better than ever. Starting in January, you’re going to see some awesome changes to the 28 Day Challenge, and we’re so excited to kick off the New Year with this launch. We’ve been spending a lot of time talking to customers, gathering information and feedback and taking a serious look at the current Challenge. If you want to be a part of this conversation, send us an email and let us know what you like about the Challenge or what you’d like to change.
Annually, I use our September slow down as a reminder to slow down myself and take more time for family, friends and personal growth.
And then at the end of the day, God laughs at our plans. As I write this, we’ve had our busiest, most profitable September yet. We’re ahead of our goals, we’re bringing on new employees and making huge progress on multiple ongoing projects.
In conclusion, I hope all of you are enjoying your September to the fullest, spending an ample amount of time outside and with your family. We can’t wait to hear about your adventures when you get back.