Seasonal businesses fulfill unique needs for customers, but it can be tricky to survive your off-season if you don’t plan ahead well. From lawn care companies to Christmas businesses, these necessary industries can thrive year-round with just a bit of forethought and planning.
Use Your Off-Season to Strategize
If you run a seasonal business, you’re probably swamped during your busy season. It’s probably not the best time to be making plans because it’s prime time for making money instead. It makes sense, then, to devote some of your off-season time to strategic planning. If you’ve been considering new growth opportunities, the off-season is the time to make decisions and get started. If you’re thinking about new working capital sources, get it done when your workload is reduced. You’re much more likely to set yourself up for long-term success this way.
Cut Back During Slow Periods
Think of how you can cut back on your expenses during your off-months. It might mean limiting your staff or hours, if necessary. For example, if you run a boutique in a tourist town that doesn’t get a lot of winter traffic, you may not want to be open every single day of the week. Instead, focus your energy on catching weekend visitors. Depending on your industry, you may also want to temporarily renegotiate some of your vendor contracts to better reflect your current needs.
Mange Your Inventory Smartly
Think about the best way to handle leftover inventory when transitioning from your peak season to your slow season. Is it costing you money to store leftover items? Does your balance sheet look too heavy with unused inventory? If either one of these situations is true, it may be worth doing a clearance sale to get rid of old inventory. You may sell at cost or even for less, but you could improve your overall financial health of the business.
Test Out New Ideas
Think about how you can branch out your seasonal business to reach your audience over a longer period throughout the year. If you’re a flower farmer, for example, whose business usually ends with the first frost, think about what you can offer your customers beyond your typical growing season. Maybe you can make evergreen wreaths instead of bouquets, or host a workshop for aspiring farmers. Whatever business you’re in, take a new idea and test drive it on a small scale during your off-season. If it seems to catch on, you can continue to grow this new segment of your business model to help grow beyond your usual busy season.
You can absolutely be successful when it comes to running a seasonal business. Plan your expenses in advance and don’t be afraid to try new ideas.