Make the most of your seasonal business.

Whether business is heating up, or cooling off, here are a few ways to keep things ticking over smoothly.

For many businesses, a change in seasons means either a slowdown, or the arrival of the busiest time of year. Those located in seaside towns that only get busy over summer might be gearing up for a crazy few months, while a self-employed heating engineer might be experiencing a drop off in business. Regardless of which camp you sit in, it’s important that any business is ready for seasonal peaks and troughs. Here are a few tips to help maximise your seasonal business.

If things are heating up

1. Make hay while the sun shines

Go hard or go home. It may seem like a cliché, but the most important thing for any business owner is to make the months that matter – count. Be prepared to put in extra hours and invest some serious blood, sweat and maybe even tears into the business. It will all be worth it in the end.

2. Marketing, marketing, MARKETING!

While it’s important to understand the balance between cost and effectiveness of any marketing campaign, a busy period presents the best time to reach out to prospective customers. Have a start of season sale and an end of season sale and tell as many people about them as you can. Run ads in the local paper if you want locals through your business, put signs on the pavement if you want footfall, or a billboard on the main highway if you want travelling motorists. Think about social media as well. If you don’t know where to start, read more about how to best utilise social media for small business via our tips here [link to digital business bytes on Barometer]. Maximising your marketing spend to generate business growth pays off.

3. Grow your database

It’s important that even when business is humming, you’re cognisant of the opportunity to strengthen the businesses database. Not only will this mean you can market to customers again during peak season, but it also allows for sending out marketing content in the off-season to ensure the business is front of mind the next time they need your services.

4. Get your processes in order

Whether it’s bringing on new staff and up-skilling them, or investing in new technology to streamline business processes, if business is about to peak, then now is the time in get the house in order. Remember that some new processes take time to imbed, so the sooner you start, the more prepared you’ll be when things ramp up.

If things are cooling off

1. Think about alternative revenue streams
It may seem like cheating on the business, but the truth is, if business is going to drop off at any time of the year, it’s important to think about other ways to keep the money coming in. The golden rule with this tip is not to let the new revenue stream take attention away from the core business – so choose wisely.

2. Hire contractors

Having expensive senior managers on the pay-roll over quiet periods can be crippling for a small business. Taking on contractors allows a business owner the freedom of scaling up or down quickly, while still being able to utilise the right skill sets when they are needed. It can take time to find the right contract workers, so doing research is imperative and building relationships is also really important.

3. Don’t get caught out by cash flow

Managing cash flow is one of the biggest issues small businesses face. So make sure a budget has been set based on the revenue producing season and that money has been put aside to cover salaries, utilities, rent and taxes. Too often business owners take a reactive approach to managing their cash flow and it’s not until things get tight that they look for help – often when it’s too late. Remember that there are flexible lenders like Liberty that have products which allow small business owners with a strong equity position in their property portfolio, the ability to attain short-term funding to alleviate immediate cash flow problems.

4. Continue creating marketing content

Just because it’s not the time of year customers utilise your services– don’t stop communicating with the database that was built up over the peak season. Whether it’s a monthly email newsletter, or a series of top tips articles, keep contact by sharing relevant content regularly.

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