By now the ball has dropped and you’ve wished everyone a Happy New Year. The Christmas decorations are put away and eBay looks like a Ghost town. A virtual gust of desert wind blows tumbleweeds through the dusty circuit boards of their many servers. Soon even that breeze may die completely as the Winter doldrums set in. Every business has it’s cycles. Typically this time of year features the slowest sales of the year coupled with the fewest buying opportunities for new antique inventory items. Outdoor flea markets are closed, no one is having garage sails and many auction houses close down for a week or two while they do inventory and take a vacation.
The doldrums need not be unproductive. It’s all in how you use the time. There is a ton of things a dealer can do to make use of the time. Start with taking inventory. It’s not just a dry exercise in counting stuff. You can take the opportunity to rearrange and categorize items fro easier access. I used to find things I had forgotten I had. You may also identify the dog items that should be cleared out to make space for more proven merchandise. Have a clearance sale and get rid of these turkeys. Your profits won’t soar but you just need to have some cash flow right now.
Catch up on your accounting. It will soon be time to file your taxes anyway and it’s easier if you lay the groundwork ahead of time. As you look at your sales records try to identify the profit makers and include them in your marketing plans.
If you sell on eBay set up a little photo shoot area to take pictures or scan the items You are looking to auction off soon. Stock up on packing materials. Christmas can yield a lot of peanuts and bubble wrap if you let friends and relatives know that you would be happy to take them off their hands. Update your software now while you can spare the time to work through the set up that often accompanies new programs.
If you have a space at an antique mall strip it out and put in as much new merchandise as you can. It’s also a good time to revisit picking sources you haven’t seen for a long time. Keep in mind that just like you a lot of dealers are discounted the stuff that doesn’t work for them. Some of that stuff may be niche market items that can be had cheap and moved on to your established repeat buyers.
Of course if you are a collector and not busying yourself with all these business concerns, get out there and go shopping. It’s a great time to bargain!