Ah, the early days of fall. Hockey season returns, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, the Halloween costumes are on display in stores, and thoughts of Christmas are even entering into some people’s to-do list.
It seems like the latter part of each year plays host to a string of holiday-type events and subsequent special purchases of items that are uniquely suited to a small and specific window of time. Holidays are a major influencer of sales in retail, accommodations, travel and other sectors, but they also herald a key moment for many businesses exhibiting highly seasonal sales patterns. When else during the year do people buy whole pumpkins, prop ghoul masks, small to medium sized precut evergreen trees, turkeys, etc. in such significant volume? The businesses and businesspeople that cater to such seasonal needs must plan and prepare with even greater care than most, seeing as the majority of their annual revenue may be generated in a relatively short portion of the whole year.
Read on for some key tips that will help any seasonal business thrive at any time during the year.
Control Your Cash Flow
Financial planning is crucial in order to deal successfully with the fluctuations of highly seasonal businesses. Focus on the efficiency and optimization of your accounts receivables process: this means prompt invoicing and payment, careful management of inventory and negotiation of the right terms with your suppliers – possibly spreading payments out over a longer period to avoid taking a major hit when inventory is needed most at the height of your seasonality. This in particular is an area where a merchant advance or business loan could be of great value to keeping your business on a stable course as seasonal activity ramps up.
Complement Your Strengths
In the off-season, your business may be able to add services or products that make use of existing infrastructure, inventory, supplier contacts, or other components that help you flourish during high season. I will never forget growing up near a popular ski equipment retailer that disappeared each summer, replaced as its owners brought in enough new inventory to run a furniture shop in the warm months. Many types of seasonal businesses are able to retrofit in this fashion: summer landscapers become winter decorators or snow removal specialists. Wedding photographers turn to the studio. And so forth.
Broaden Your Horizons
Your sales season may be wider than you previously imagined – you may just have to look outside your traditional definitions of where it lies in order to create new opportunities to generate year-round interest in your business. There is much to be done outside of peak months: promote new developments, generate excitement and keep your business at the forefront of your customers’ minds by holding events or promotions, sending out blogs or newsletters with features about your services and products, and use the connections you already have to engage in research that could help you develop new markets.
Don’t limit the possibilities of what your business can achieve solely on account of a calendrical coincidence. Use your creativity and pair it with available funding options to explore new ways to expand and succeed year-round. Call us or visit online today to find out how we can help.