A common challenge that all business owners have to face is the fluctuations in the business or industry. This is seasonal and it will come and go but navigating smartly through the situation involves developing skills and practices. You need to take the necessary steps to ensure that the business remains profitable even in the off-season and does not suffer losses due to periodic slowdowns. The fluctuations can lead to a reduction in customer demand or a rise in supply issues. You cannot prepare for every contingency that the business may face but here are some tips to help grow your seasonal business.
- Identify the cycles in the industry
If you are new to the industry, you might take some time to identify how the industry works. But after a couple of years, you will be able to understand the seasonal fluctuations. You should be able to identify when healthy sales will happen and when the sales will slack. Build projections about seasonality on the sales data from the past two or three years.
- Build planning skills
Always look ahead and plan accordingly. Plan for the next six months to ensure that the business runs smoothly in the slower periods and complete off-season. If you need funds, apply for a business loan in time. Try to set aside some cash reserves in the busy months. You must look from the staffing to inventory and avoid tying up the cash in quiet months. Never forget to take benefit of the slow stretches to be prepared for the peak season.
- Plan customer promotions in time
Never let go of the opportunity to take advantage of the times when your competitors are quiet. You must target the audience as and when possible before the peak season. This will ensure that the funds are appropriately allocated in the slack period and you will see the results in the peak time. You must set the business apart from competitors by maintaining visibility at all times. Even if the regular clients are not much in touch in the off-season, they will be around and you need to find ways to keep in touch with them and keep them updated about your products or services.
- Handle the impact of seasonality on personnel
A business is all about teamwork and hiring the right professionals is a huge factor for success. There are times when short-term contracts are unavoidable. In such cases, you need to ensure that you handle the expectations of seasonal workers. Always be clear about the tenure of the job and issues about their salary. Plan well in advance and if you are hiring a lot of new talent, set aside a budget for the same.
- Look for a funding partner
Try to look for a funding partner who has a good grasp of the industry and can handle the seasonal ups and downs. A partner with experience in a similar business can help in making the right decisions. If you cannot find a partner, you can approach a lender for a business loan in the peak season.
Almost all businesses are affected by seasonality but building a business plan will ensure success throughout the highs and lows.