Our business is typically dependent on marketing budget which faces severe downside during the last quarter and holiday period.
I was wondering if there are ways that can be implemented so as to cover at least operational expenses like by offering some discount to clients, etc.
We generally use this period for product development, training, planning, etc but with very little business, everything sucks. How do we motivate team?
Try to brief the employees, there is only one month for dark side, however never lose hope and look at the other people who has nothing in life and thanks to the God instead what they've got!
Unfortunately, as this appears to be a recurring situation, you are either not budgeting for additional marketing expenses to carry you through this period or you're lacking a different or additional product/service capable of providing income during the holiday season.
If you are spending this time doing product development and planning, perhaps you can connect with your customers to see what else you can provide them? They may have a "seasonal" need (or problem) that you can service (or solve).
Without knowing your product, market segment or customer base , offering more focused advice is difficult.
Eric is correct. If you know this decline in revenue is predictable on a cycle, then it is your company's fault if things "suck" in the office. If you are really living hand-to-mouth where you cannot ride through the lean month(s), then it is a lack of planning that incorporates this known factor into your budget and activities. But that's fixable.
It's very difficult to make people buy stuff when they're not ready. It's not about discounts either, because if you start offering a cyclical discount in the slow period, those who can will wait until the discount, and you'll lose profit you would have gotten from the same customers who would have spent more if they didn't know a discount was predictably coming soon.
There are a lot of businesses that have seasonal differences. You can do this. But look at it from a longer view where you see the company in a year chunks, not quarter by quarter chunks. Sure you can watch the patterns, but plan to have the fat quarters carry the lean ones.
If you have not already, learn as much as possible about the decision funnel your customers follow and look at how you know they're influenced to make a purchase. Are they planning ahead so they make their purchases at the beginning of the budget year with fresh dollars, which carries them through to the next year where it repeats again? Is the size of what you sell encouraging a specific buying pattern? What other related service/products are associated with your product that could be sold at times offset by the usual initial purchase? Are there subscription opportunities for payment that makes revenue more steady?
As Eric said, it's very difficult to assess which path may lead you to feel more confident about revenues without knowing more about your business.
Use Data Analytics, if you have the data. 5 year, 3 and current year, for sales to hours needed to cover. Cycle in purchaser pay periods, align the weekdays, schedule the hours accordingly, Find the peaks and buy media push for best returns on media dollars. Build that funnel. Talk and motivate employees, up-sell, multiples. Customer service, your future depends on it. Modify repeat, tune process. Keep it simple. :) -tim