While seasonal businesses can often take advantage of short-term revenue increases and heavy customer traffic when it comes to to maintaining long-term success, these businesses should have year-round money management strategies. With proper planning of cash flow, expenses, billing and other bookkeeping necessities, now is a critical time to revisit business plans and models and tweak processes to get ready for the busier seasons that lie ahead.
Not engaging in social media
Ensure your business is part of the social media conversation. Your business can use some of the downtime to brainstorm fresh new content for your business’ blog or social media accounts, while letting your staff have fun with it. Even if customers are away from your business, you can reach them by maintaining an online profile, engaging with your networks while simultaneously attracting new customers.
Not taking advantage of post-peak hype
Although your business may have just ended a seasonal peak and sales were a major business goal, that should not be your only aim. The period after a sales peak is one of the most important times. In the interconnected digital age, people often leave reviews online that help alert others to your brand, and also can give your business valuable insights. Encouraging word of mouth or online reviews in store or through an email list, perhaps with an incentive, can boost SEO and increase awareness of your business when people search online. Asking people to sign up for your businesses newsletter for special deals or any good call to action and a strategy to cultivate activity after the sales peak is going to be valuable.
Not automating inventory management
Businesses that still manually manage their inventory through spreadsheets or manual product tracking are missing out on the efficiency inventory management software brings. Consider investing in an inventory management software to help automate inventory management processes so that when the rush of the peak season comes, inventory control will be seamless.
Not going paperless
Use cloud-based software to reduce your paperwork. With business processes like accounting, CRM, inventory management and more in the cloud, businesses will find it easy to work online as everything is integrated and accessible from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Quickly send invoices to your clients, update inventory stock online, or even store customer details. Business processes are made more efficient when you work online instead of on paper!
Not reviewing processes
Use the off-peak season to plan for the next peak period. Not only do you have to evaluate your own processes, you should also look to your competitors so you can maintain your edge and find out what you can learn from them.
Not planning budgets accurately
Try estimating your costs more precisely. Guess work for example a piece of equipment may be “around $5,000” can quickly off balance your budget if it ends up costing $7,000 – funds that could be potentially earmarked for something else. In addition, pay particular attention to your fixed expenses in the off-season, such as rent, utilities and insurance. Price your products or services so that you can generate enough revenue and profit to sustain you year-round.
Not revisiting insurance
If your peak season coincides with for example a storm season, then you could lose business if your customers cannot reach you. It may be worthwhile investing in a business-interruption insurance policy that would cover revenue lost to interruptions like blizzards or hurricanes. These policies could more adequately cover your losses and keep your business afloat in these exceptional circumstances.