Prepping For the Pre-Season Boom

Inside Archery Staff

Business may be relatively slow as we speak, but given another month or two, eager and increasingly demanding bowhunters will began flowing into your shop, looking for the latest gear to help boost 2020 success, a complete replacement of their current rig or seeking a bow technician to mend the wear and tear inflicted during the previous season. The pre-season rush is a highly-anticipated period of the selling season because it makes cash registers sing and a shop bustle, but are you truly prepared?

I’m a firm believer in getting ducks in a row well ahead of  schedule. I detest dealing with anything last minute that could have been addressed weeks or even months before. One of the largest potential pitfalls of the preseason rush is failure to schedule enough help. Your employees may be entitled to vacation time, completely deserving of some time away for going the extra mile, or even have a coveted hunting tag in their pocket, but the pre-season rush is the worst time to find yourself shorthanded, resulting in subpar service and/or employee burnout and flared tempers.  

As a one-time archery-department manager I found it vitally important to carefully map out vacation days and detailed work schedules and inform effected employees of those dates weeks ahead of time. This helped head off misunderstandings, hurt feelings and/or bad morale. When you employ avid bowhunters who understandably want to spend time in the woods, every effort is made to be even handed and considerate. Providing ample time to plan around work schedules is the only way to introduce that fairness. I scheduled meetings and discussed both employee desires and store needs, doing my best to juggle schedules around school, personal hunts and even day-care concerns. Seniority and above-and-beyond work ethic were rewarded to the best of my ability, but often compromises were unavoidable. Better to get this out of the way sooner than later.    

Creating a long-term plan many weeks ahead of anticipated busy seasons, printing out copies to distribute amongst employees, and even having employees initial work sheets as a show of agreement went a long way toward heading off scheduling conflicts and later arguments. You may also need to hire temporary workers to complete menial tasks like daily shop cleanup, product restocking, basic shooting-lane maintenance and oversight or arrow fletching. This leaves your most seasoned hands available to sell and service customers’ equipment.    

Now is also the time to prepare your shop for the coming assault. The slow days just prior to the preseason rush is a great time to give your store a thorough cleaning, moving cabinets and benches and merchandize racks to clean nooks and crannies that daily cleaning misses. 

I also liked to take this time to tidy and reorganize work spaces. All the odds-and-ends fletchings, inserts, nocks, field points and associated items are gathered and sorted back into appropriate bins or drawers. Tuning tools are returned to their proper spaces, and tossed-aside worn or broken tools replaced. The bow press might need a shot of grease, the arrow cut-off saw a fresh blade or the fletching jigs a good scraping and acetone wipe-down to remove accumulated adhesive. Before the impatient crowds arrive, some demanding instant service, I wanted all my shop tools tiptop and ready for action and all work spaces cleared of clutter that presents the potential to slow production or cause frustrations during  stressful periods. The preseason rush is no time for your bathroom plumbing, just as an example, to develop issues. If there is upkeep that has been neglected, do it now. 

A quick check of past inventory records might also reveal particular items that you came up short on the previous year, giving you an opportunity to pre-order extra stock. Like a great general, the most successful shop owners thoroughly prepare for battle and forms contingency plans for anticipated problems to assure a winning strategy that helps make the highly-anticipated seasonal rush come off as smoothly, and profitably, as possible. 

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