How To Avoid The Pitfalls Of Running A Seasonal Business
Running a seasonal business is very different from running any other type of business and even the most experienced entrepreneurs can run into trouble if they’re not prepared. All of your trade comes in a very short window and then the rest of the year, you won’t be making that many sales at all. If you don’t know how to run a business that operates like that, you’re likely to fail very quickly, usually because you run out of money during the slow periods. The reason that this happens is that people approach it like a normal business, and that just doesn’t work. But if you understand the specific challenges of running a seasonal business and how to get around them, you can be successful. Here’s everything you need to know about running a seasonal business effectively.
Manage Your Money Properly
Not managing their finances properly is the number one mistake that people make when they’re running a seasonal business. You’re only going to be bringing in revenue for a small portion of the year, and that money has got to keep you going during the quiet period. If you don’t manage your accounts properly and you just spend everything while you’re busy, you’re really going to struggle when the sales start to drop off. It’s important that you’re always putting money aside when you’re bringing some in so you have enough to live off when things are a bit slow.
Schedule Staff Properly
Scheduling your staff properly is important in any business because it costs you more money in wages if you’re overstaffed, but it’s especially crucial when you’re running a seasonal business. If you don’t have enough people on when you’re busy, or you’re putting too many people on when you’re not busy, the company isn’t going to run effectively. If you’re not too sure about how to schedule staff properly, https://getsling.com/blog/work-schedule/ has some great tips. It’s important that you forecast accurately so you know how busy you expect to be and you can make sure that you’ve got enough members of staff working. During the slow periods, you should be running a skeleton staff so you’re only paying people that are absolutely essential.
Manage Employee Expectations
When you run a seasonal business, it’s not viable to hire staff for the entire year. You’ll just be paying for people that you don’t really need, and can’t really afford. It’s important that you make this clear to any new employees so you can manage their expectations because they will need to find work for the rest of the year when you can’t afford to pay them.
Find Alternative Sources Of Income
Even if you’re managing your money properly, it’s always going to be a bit of a struggle during the slow periods. That’s why it’s a good idea to find alternative sources of income that you can rely on. They can be sources of business income as well as sources of personal income. Think about alternative versions of your product that could be used at different times of year and look into developing those. You could also consider renting out areas of your office space when you aren’t using it. A lot of people that run seasonal businesses also take on freelance work during the slow period to supplement their income. Check out https://www.ryrob.com/freelance-jobs/ for a list of places to find freelance work easily. That money can be used to help you cover your own personal costs and some of it can also be put back into the business.
Maintain Good Contact With Your Customers
It’s important that you’re making enough sales during the busy season to sustain you all year round, but that can be difficult. Normal businesses have a constant dialogue with their customers who use their products year round, but when you’re a seasonal business, it’s easy for people to forget about you. They might have purchased a few products from you but are they going to remember you a year later? Often, they won’t, which is why you need to make sure that you’re still on their radar, even when things are slow. Sending people regular email updates about new products that you’re developing or any offers that you plan to run is a great way to keep them in the loop. In the months and weeks leading up to the busy season, you need to up your marketing game so when the time comes, you’ll have plenty of customers looking to buy your products.
Running a seasonal business is always going to be tough, but if you follow these steps, you can make it work.