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How to Make Your Seasonal Business Succeed Year-Round
Does your business sell a product or provide a service that’s a money maker for several months out of the year, but then sees a drastic dip in the remaining months? Running a seasonal business comes with a unique set of challenges, and an array of variables to remain aware of. Make your seasonal business a year-round profit finder with these easy steps.
Expand Your Product Line
If your product fills a niche for one part of the year, it may be time to diversify your offerings. Tipsy Elves, known to most as a Christmas sweater company, expanded their product line in order to succeed all year long. They now offer patriotic clothing for any occasion in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. as well as collegiate apparel that is extremely popular with the football season. The diversification served them well, and they switched from December popularity to year-round success. For holiday-themed items like these, your opportunities are endless. Try out different offerings for specified experimental periods. It’s a delicate balance to diversify, as you don’t want to alienate or lose your original consumer base by straying too far from your first original product. Maintain quality and don’t lose focus on your original offerings, even if your line expansion is successful.
Analyze Your Assets
Seasonal businesses usually work one of two ways; either they run for a certain portion of the year and shut down during the remainder months, or they look for another revenue maker with the product or service during the off-season. One thing you need to be aware of is your assets. This simple task will let you know several things: whether you have enough capital to expand, how much you should be saving, and whether you should cut back on variable costs. Forecasting is easier with this information, and will hope you plan for potential financial losses or gains. Examine these assets monthly to determine if you should change habits or tactics.
Increase Brand Awareness
Getting your name out into a business sector or seasonal market you haven’t yet tapped could be the ticket to making your company a year-round success. Try partnering up with another seasonal company and see if you can create a mutually beneficial relationship. By combining forces with another business who experiences high traffic at a different time of year, you increase your customer base and expand visibility during seasons in which you may not have already been noticed. Increasing your brand awareness can be done through tactics as easy as distributing shirts, mugs, pens, or anything else you can think of to remain in the forefront of minds no matter the time of year. This can be done in conjunction with your new business relationship; ask them to display your newly customized merchandise and do the same for them.
Budgeting is of extreme importance for companies who may shut down for a certain part of the year, or for those who remain open but see sales slide for a few months. Maintaining a strict expense budget and remaining on top of spending will ensure you have the capital to cover resources during the slow months. This may require you to redraft your business plan each year and make adjustments to the costs that aren’t necessarily providing a benefit to your profits.
Use Off-Months to Your Advantage
If your business requires maintenance, use the off months to keep up your inventory and repair your equipment or service products. Spend time looking at your finances, planning for an upcoming season, and ironing out any issues with the business that you may have spotted in the previous profitable season. Taxes can be a messy time for any business, and if filing usually occurs during your busy season, do anything you can in the off-season to make yourself more prepared and stress-free when the time comes.
Offer Off-Season Deals
If you’d like to keep a sales presence during the off-months, offer deals for your product at a lower price to create some demand. This will keep you in the mind of your customers, and create brand loyalty. It’s likely your competitors may be offering a similar service, and it’s a good idea to keep up with the “Joneses” so you don’t lose customers. If you’re the first in your sector to offer these deals, that’s even better.
Running a seasonal business comes with its fair share of headaches, but there are tactics you can utilize to ensure your business is poised to profit throughout the year.