Did you know: People have been using almanacs since the medieval ages? There are records of almanacs all over Asia and Europe that date back to the first few centuries. From farmers or meteorologist to healers and business owners, almanacs have been essential for planning and preparing for the year ahead.
Why we use almanacs
Almanacs have been around for centuries because, to put it simply, they work. Most people are familiar with The Farmers Almanac, but did you know this little book has been in publication since the 1790s?
For more than two-hundred years, farmers have had access to the publication, which is filled with a record of the previous year’s seasonality. This record provides farmers with weather patterns, rainfall measurements, and records heatwaves, which they’ve used to know when to plant and even how much to plant. In short, they’ve used the almanac for centuries to make better, more informed decisions about how maximize their yield.
If you run a small business, The Farmer’s Almanac isn’t very helpful. That’s why we are incredibly excited to launch the first-ever Small Business Almanac. Instead of flying blind, small business owners will be able to benchmark their sales performance against other businesses in their industry or state. Check it out here, and come back every quarter for updated data.
“Our purpose in launching the Small Business Almanac is to help entrepreneurs put their business performance into context and illuminate how consumers are spending at local businesses in general.” – Toby Scammell, Womply’s founder.
How the almanac can help you run your business
Let’s say we have two business owners: one owns an independent retail store and the other a local restaurant. Today is Tuesday, which means the next four days will be the best days of the week for the retail store owner, but Saturday and Sunday will be their two slowest. The restaurant owner, on the other hand, will make nearly 60% of their week’s total revenue over the weekend.
While much of that information may seem obvious, especially to business owners in those industries, this is just a small example of how we use trends and seasonality on a daily basis to make more informed business decisions. Restaurant owners already know the weekend is their money-maker, so they make sure they have their best staff on hand. Depending on the weekend, they may even put more staff on the floor. But if a retail store owner were to follow the same business plan of the restaurant, they’d be misallocating their resources.
This may seem like a rather simple example, but it illustrates an important point. In many cases, business owners are relying on overly generic information when making important business decisions, especially when it comes to revenue trends and seasons. With the almanac, you can dial into revenue trends in your state and your industry to compare apples to apples.
Put your business in context
Let’s take the example one step further. Using the same tools available in the Small Business Almanac, let’s look at retailers in Maine.
When we look at all 50 states and then look at the average year, we see that November and December account for less than 20% of the year’s total revenue. In Maine, however, those two months account for 36% of their annual revenue. That’s more than January, February, March, April, May, and June combined. There’s a good chance the average retailer in Maine didn’t know that their industry was so vastly different from the national average. While the national averages provide better context than nothing, the closer you can get to home, the more accurate and powerful those insights will be.
The idea of the Almanac is not to provide a step-by-step guide to the year’s revenue trends but to provide better context and expose seasonality. With this kind of insight, the local retailers in Maine can invest their marketing efforts more effectively. Whether they want to try and bolster summer sales with more marketing or they want to save their resources for their holiday advertising, the Almanac helps them make those decisions with more accuracy and insight.
The Small Business Almanac is the most powerful tool small business owners have ever had to illustrate how well sales are doing in their industry and their states. It provides the context and tools they need to benchmark their business better than ever before. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the almanac and see how businesses like yours did last quarter.
Womply also provides tools to help business owners understand their own business better. Rather than leaning on the trends of your industry in your state, you can measure your own progress week-over-week or year-over-year. If you’d like more insight into your business, you can request more information here.