Is Your Business Seasonal? How to Utilize the Off-Season to Benefit Your Small Business
Many small businesses are seasonal in nature. When your off-season hits, you can take a sigh of relief, but don’t rest on your laurels! Smart business owners don’t think of slow times as an “off-season”; they take advantage of this time to strengthen areas of their business that need it most. Here are things to do in your slow season that could help your business in the long run.
- “Measure Twice, Cut Once.”
This adage is one that Entrepeneur.com writer Stephen Sheinbaum lists as a crucial tip for seasonal businesses. “Look hard at every element, from inventory to staffing, to avoid tying up cash unnecessarily during quiet months,” Sheinbaum said. “And don’t forget to take advantage of slow stretches to prepare for the peak season.”
Your “slow season” is the prime time to plan and prepare for busier times, to maximize your effectiveness and to reflect on every detail of your business. Analyze your past successes and failures, and plan on applying your newly gained knowledge to busy seasons ahead. Preparedness takes time on the front end, but it can save headache, frustration and money down the line.
- Remain top of mind with your customers.
You’ve worked hard to earn your customers; you need to work to keep them. Although your products or services may not be on customers’ minds during the off-season, they will be again within a few months. Sending e-newsletters, staying active on social media and appearing at events in the community are great ways to keep your business in front of customers and prospects. It may not have an instant impact on sales, but when customers need your product or services in a few months, your business will be top of mind.
- Consider diversifying your offerings.
This option isn’t right for every business, but you can use the off-season to consider expanding your product line to bring in revenue in the slower seasons. Take a gardening shop, for example. Business is booming in the spring and summer, but it is difficult to sell flowers in the dead of winter. As a shop’s owner, you may consider adding other products with year-round appeal that interest your customers. This could mean selling outdoor heaters for cool nights, outdoor holiday decorations or home décor. Although the additional revenue may sound appealing, this option does not make sense for every business. Always do ample research before diversifying your product offerings to ensure that adding to your product line makes sense for your business.
All businesses experience times that are busier or slower. It’s a natural part of the business cycle. The advantage that seasonal businesses have is the knowledge of exactly when business will slow down. Utilize your more relaxed seasons to enhance your business moving forward – your next busy season may be the busiest yet!