slow season

8 Keys to Getting Through Slow Season

Bruce Ackerman is the founder and CEO of Printavo, a business he started in 2012 after growing a print shop in college.  Since that time, Printavo has grown to help shops all over the world get organized and streamlined. He previously held a position as the head of design for Avant. Ackerman also produces content for Printavo's blog, which covers topics of shop management and efficiency. You can contact Ackerman at

"Slow season" will happen at some point in your business ownership. Always expect the best, but plan for the worst. The number one key to get through the bumps in the road is to make sure you have built up your bank. The last thing you need is a temporary closing, or to let employees go prematurely. Instead of checking out during the slow season, spend some time cleaning house.


Get your employees pulling squeegees and reclaiming screens. Teach your screen printer how to process orders. This will create more transferable employees when your shop gets busy. 

Continuing Education

Get comfortable with various printing methods. Invest in your staff and send them to classes on four-color process or discharge printing. Trade shows or a manufacturer's facilities are great places to get continuing education for your staff. 

Customer Engagement

Spend an entire week visiting customers, calling them, and letting them know how much you appreciate them. This may sound like a lot, but if you organize a plan it could boost your sales and create loyal customers. 


Your production staff can organize the ink room, clean presses, and fold shirts. Get your shop looking spick and span. Have your artists clean out useless files and artwork from their computers. 


Sit down with your team and make a strategic plan for the next six months. Details. Details. Details. Talk openly, set goals, and spend time identifying where you need to go. Shops often don’t do this because they are too busy. Here is no excuse.

Form Community

Go outside the box here, open your doors, and have a little fun with a community event. Maybe you want to do a poster printing workshop, or try out live printing at the Labor Day parade. 

Sell Sell Sell

Read about Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Instagram Ads, and try a campaign. Print out flyers and leave them around the local hotspots. Email local prospects. Send out e-coupons. Print T-shirts for your team to wear around town. Do anything and everything to generate additional sales.


Whether it is a vacation, a family day, a lunch outing, or go-carting with the staff, make sure to enjoy yourself and appreciate the business you are running. It's important to re-energize and break from work to best serve your employees and customers.