It’s not easy to be the owner of a small business that operates with a seasonal ebb and flow. We often think about how businesses like ice cream shops will make it through a long chilly winter, but as the days get warmer and we slowly move toward the summer months, what about the businesses that sell snow blowers, heaters, or plows?
No matter what your business specializes in, as you near your own slower season, there’s no doubt that you’ll need a lot of planning and preparation – and maybe even a financial boost – to get you through. As always, we’ve got some tips to help your business thrive even during the off-season.
Consider your financing options. A savvy seasonal business owner in need of cash should seek out a merchant cash advance because the payment would only translate to a percentage of the daily credit sales. Since the payment is directly related to the amount of credit sales receipts, a slow sales day—or even a season—would mean lower necessary payments and a payment you know you could always afford, even in your slowest season.
Kick up your marketing. If your small business remains open during your off-season, make sure your prospects know it and don’t have the opportunity to forget about you until your regular season is back in full swing. Though your business may have slowed, there are always opportunities to continue to reach out and engage your prospects. Even if your business is heavily tourist driven, consider how you can appeal to the locals in your surrounding community that stay put all year round.
Reevaluate your inventory. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, then it will be no surprise as your busy season begins to wind down and the slow season approaches. If your inventory is strictly seasonal, like those snow blowers and plows, consider how you can revamp your inventory and your location to continue to be relevant throughout the entire year. Consider offering lawnmowers, rakes, or leaf blowers that can be used well into the fall.
Use the off-season as a blessing. When the number of faces coming through the doors of your small business slows down or grinds to a halt, it’s easy to panic and get lost in the struggle of keeping your head above water. Instead, try to use the slow pace to get some pre-planning done for your busy season. Research new products, put ads out early for new seasonal employees, or take the time to write some catchy advertisements, since all of this will be much more difficult to focus on when you’re swamped in the months ahead.
Do you operate a seasonal business? How do you get through the off-season?