Starting a seasonal business can seem like a daunting task for many aspiring business owners, and for one very simple reason – what do you do in the off season? If you plan to make your seasonal business your main source of income and not just a side hustle, you might feel a little bit confused as to how you can make it profitable all year round, and the truth is that it’s not easy but also not impossible.
Seasonal businesses have a very distinct advantage in a sense that during the peak season their sales, popularity, and growth can skyrocket, but during the off season you can lose a lot of momentum if you don’t invest in the right opportunities. Today, we’re going to talk about the best opportunities for seasonal businesses and how you can make yours profitable all year round by smart strategic decisions.
Here’s what you need to know.
Prepare for and manage offseason expenses
First and foremost, you need to have a clear understanding of your seasonal cash flow and expenses, but you also need to pay special attention to your off-season expenditure. No matter how small your off-season expenses may be (perhaps all your goods are locked up in storage), it’s important to minimize all financial waste as much as possible. After all, every dollar you save is a dollar you earn.
With that in mind, your first order of business is to minimize off-season expenditure, and you can start doing that by offering monthly payment plans to your clients, talking to your partners about cutting off-season costs or delaying payments, and incentivizing clients and customers to consider your products or services in the off-season.
If you can sell yourself for a lower price tag in the slow season, that is still better than not making a sale at all. However, the most important thing is to create a yearly budget and stick to it no matter what so that you can ride out the off season with minimal financial risk.
Create annual stability by diversifying
Just because you make most of your money during the high season doesn’t mean that you can’t generate revenue when things are slow – you just need to learn how to maximize the potential of your existing assets. With a little creativity and some smart investments, and by creating demand where needed, you can turn almost any seasonal business into a year-round venture, but you need to prepare well in advance and have a concrete plan in place.
For example, you can turn your ice rink into a roller-skating rink in the summer, or you can rent out Christmas lights and decorations for other festivities throughout the year. The possibilities are always there, but the key thing to remember is that you always want to leverage the equipment, products, and people that you already have. A good business leader will also work closely with their team to brainstorm new and exciting opportunities from the rest of the year.
Get your invoices settled in advance
One of the biggest problems that a seasonal business has to face is late payments and outstanding invoices. Because it’s so important for a seasonal business to get paid on time for its products or services, late payments can leave a serious dent in your budget and jeopardize your business. This is why it’s important to get paid on time or in advance so that you can have a steady influx of cash.
You can consider incentivizing customers to pay early, but if you need a quick cash influx, then you should consider debtor finance solutions that can pay for the majority of your outstanding invoices within a day. You can then use the cash to finance your internal processes, or invest in your marketing campaigns and other business-boosting processes in the off-season.
Build a strong online presence
Speaking of marketing, just because you might not be operating at 100% during the slow months of the year doesn’t mean that you can’t capitalize on the many wonderful opportunities in the online world. If you invest in building a good website, manage your social media accounts, create informative blog posts, and integrate an Ecommerce feature into your site, you stand to generate leads and improve conversions during the slowest months of the year.
Ecommerce especially is an important part of success in this field, as you can always find someone to buy your products in preparation for the high season. Consider using your leftover revenue to fund these internal projects and you will keep growing with every new season.
Start capitalizing on referrals and partnerships
Lastly, consider boosting your revenue and building stability by partnering up with other seasonal businesses and establishing referral partnerships. If your business is making most of its money during winter, then consider partnering up with a business that operates during the summer so that you can refer customers or clients to each other.
That way, you can get a portion of the sale that the partner makes because the lead came through you, which is a nice way to generate some income on the side during their high season. Be sure to seek out like minded partners and unite to reach a common goal.
Over to you
Seasonal businesses can make money or at the very least eliminate off-season expenses with proper planning, preparation, and strategic thinking. Use these tips to prepare your company for the slow months of the year and get a necessary influx of cash to keep growing your business throughout the year.