Some businesses are entirely seasonal, as might be the case with smaller shops that specialize in all-things Christmas-related or ones that only sell Halloween costumes. Other small businesses have some type of seasonal component. For instance, a wedding-related shop may do the bulk of their business during the summer months. If your operations are seasonal in nature, there are some ways you can minimize issues with cash flow and maintain customer engagement.
1. Do Off-Season Marketing
Just because you aren't doing a lot of actual business during your off-season doesn't mean your marketing efforts also have to take a vacation. Continue to stay engaged on your social media platforms, post new blog articles sharing your insights, or send out newsletters sharing highlights from your recent season or announcing plans for the next one. Your off-season marketing efforts could also include:
- Seeking feedback from your customers to see what you can do even better next season
- Hosting fun social media contests, like asking followers to post pics related to a theme relevant to your business
- Offering incentives like special discounts for customers who make arrangements to use your seasonal services early
2. Have a Solid Financial Plan in Place
Even if you're an experienced seasonal business owner, it never hurts to know where you stand financially. Use the beginning of each year as a time to size up what assets you have available and how well prepared you are to handle the slower times of the year. Clearly establish your financial goals and set up a plan that includes supplemental income if you want to create a more comfortable safety net.
3. Keep Your Staff Motivated and Expand Training Efforts
Seasonal businesses tend to have high turnover rates. For smaller businesses, this constant turnover can also mean issues with recruiting and motivating staff. Motivation may be boosted by clearly explaining the nature of the business to new hires and expressing a desire to hire back employees who do well when things pick up again during the next season.
You may be able to cut down your turnover rate if you train some of your staff to perform other duties they can do during the off-season. For example, you might keep a few of your seasonal hires on to do some office work or handle some marketing responsibilities.
4. Offer Complementary Services for Other Seasons
Offering complementary services that are secondary to your main business can be a strategic way to keep generating revenue during the off-season. A lot of local landscape businesses in cooler climates, for instance, offer snow plowing or gutter cleaning services. Possible off-season service options also include:
- Wedding planners offering holiday party catering
- Travel businesses presenting special holiday getaway packages
- Summer tourism businesses conducting Christmas light tours
Running a small seasonal business gives you a chance to focus on something you and your staff do really well. It also gives you the opportunity to solidify your reputation within a specific industry or niche. And with some careful planning, you can make the times of the year when your services aren't as in demand less stressful and more productive - and even profitable.