Maintaining a seasonal business can be a challenge. Here, manager at IQ Cards, Charlotte Baldwin, gives readers her advice on how to get the most from your business during the slower months of the year.
Seasonal business owners have to keep a close eye on balancing out those all important peak periods with quieter days.
The unpredictability of the business makes the organizational skills of owners and managers all the more crucial to staying on top of the game.
Planning for quiet quiet periods can be tedious, but we’ve compiled some of our best advice for making the most of slower seasons.
Get to grips with your industry
Every entrepreneur will agree that breaking into business comes with a rush of enthusiasm and a quick cash flow. However, this often leaves business owners with a sense of complacency.
Whilst confidence is great, being too self-assured and over-estimating future profits can be dangerous, and can lead to financial panic further down the line.
In order to get to grips with your industry, it is a good idea to carry out in-depth research and talk to industry professionals for a realistic idea of what the future holds, both logistically and financially.
Plan out your path
Some say practice makes perfect, but in business planning really does make perfect. Building on our first step to carry out research, some in-depth planning thereafter will prevent common difficulties in seasonal business.
Successful results come from planning far ahead (we advise at least six months). You should also consider putting some profits aside during peak periods in order to tide you through those dreaded quieter times.
You should not restrict your planning to just financial incomings and outgoings, but instead consider all business resources, including more specific details such as staff rotas and inventory requirements.
Although it’s important as a business owner not to spread yourself too thin, it is also worth considering other income options. By identifying extra income resources you could prevent a downward spiral into financial crisis.
These resources don’t have to be whole new enterprises, but rather small adaptions that can open up your business to new clientele.
Simply put, owning a seasonal business should not restrict you, but instead you could think about how your business could be extended to offer more year-round opportunities. Why accommodate just for Christmas when you could expand to Easter and Halloween, too?
It can be easy to slip out of your working mindset whilst in quiet downtime, but it is important to remember that downtime is crucial for developing and promoting your business.
Don’t limit yourself to just one thought process. Two heads are better than one, and this might be a good time to bring in professional help to present yourself in a unique way that customers will remember. By utilizing your time efficiently you’ve got the best chance of beating your competition.
Creativity is key
The crucial thing to secure customers is to be creative and stand out. Rather than camouflaging yourself amongst your competitors, think of memorable and creative ways of grabbing attention.
Personal touches are a great way to maximize business too, by reminding customers of offers and promotions via email, they can keep up-to-date with you and your business, and are more likely to come back.
Look after your loyal team
Seasonal success relies heavily on a reliable and loyal team who are dedicated to the business. Seasonal work means temporary contracts, and you should make sure that you are meeting all of the legal requirements that come with hiring of short-term staff.
Short-term work but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build a good repertoire with your team. Happy staff make for an efficient business. Appreciate your staff, and reward the effort they put into making your business a success.
Creating a successful team is easy if you follow the right steps, but choosing a funding partner of the business is a lot more challenging. You should always be wise when selecting funding business partners.
Experience in season business is an essential for your business partner, as they will have expertise in seasonal trade and what to expect during different periods.
With your partner you can plan ahead for hiring staff and other capital investments. Most business will experience some form of seasonality. Whether that be staff on holiday, or clients away, but being well equipped with your partner means you can plan and minimize losses.
Charlotte Baldwin is operations manager at IQ Cards, a fundraising company that provide schools and establishments with the necessary tools to fundraise via selling high-quality and unique gifts designed by pupils.
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