A weathered veteran of a seasonal venture will have a proven strategy to command a business through fluctuations. Although the downtime sounds like a good point to regroup and recharge compared to the struggles of a year-round operation, navigating the break takes thoughtful planning.
Here are six points of consideration to strengthen your seasonal operations:
1. UNDERSTAND AND DEVELOP A STRATEGY REVOLVING AROUND THE BUSINESS CYCLE
Strategies will vary depending on the season at which a business operates but the tried and true expert understands the date range of work, employee time-frame for required availability, and amount of necessary inventory to complete the season. A finely orchestrated operation will ensure all dollars are allocated appropriately to best position a company for a leaner time of year, while keep as much on hand in preparation for the following season.
2. PLAN AHEAD FOR THE FORESEEABLE AND UNFORESEEABLE
Established owners anticipate a rhyme and reason behind their business with hope that the year plays out according to plan. Unfortunately a new year can bring an air of change and the strategy can quickly call for adjustments. Considering Mother Nature is calling the shots, it’s best to have a variety of fallout plans in line for the uncontrollable. The forethought can offer a sound versatile approach while offering peace of mind during your most hectic time.
3. CONSIDER A DUAL REVENUE STREAM
Dual revenue opportunities are perfect for generating needed cash flow for the seasonal entrepreneur if they can see beyond their specialty. Reverse seasonal operations is an alternative method to sitting idle during an off-season. For example, a construction operation can pivot during the colder months towards snow removal utilizing equipment and employees.
4. STAY ENGAGED WITH CLIENTS THROUGH STRATEGIC MARKETING INITIATIVES
Communication through various channels can be crucial in continuing a strong relationship with customers. Even during the seasonal break, it’s important to stay presence through a few basic channels:
- Email – Schedule emails during the break to prepare customers for the upcoming season with a list of services, reviews and forms to schedule work. For example, MailChimp offers reasonable pricing, an intuitive platform, and helpful support perfect for any SMB.
- Mailer – Traditional marketing efforts can still play an important role offering an opportunity to target less tech savvy clientele with promotions and information for scheduling work.
- Phone – Follow-up past work with a call to remind customers of offerings, review past work, and begin the scheduling process before business ramps up.
5. ESTABLISH EMPLOYEE TRUST WITH TRANSPARENCY
It can be difficult to retain a great workforce when the labor market tightens. There is no insurance that employees will ride the tide of downtime to come back the following season. Having the best workers return is always in your business’s best interest. Hiring becomes more efficient, less time consuming and cost effective. Here are a few ways an owner can position his/her business for a better employee return:
- Be open about the timeframe of work so employees can forecast along with the business.
- Recognize hard work with bonuses or promotions in leadership.
- Collaborate with reverse seasonal work opportunities, whether it’s one of your business ventures or partnership with another small seasonal business
6. WORK WITH PARTNERS UNDERSTANDING OF THE SEASONAL INDUSTRY
Partners can come in all shapes and forms to add security to a seasonal trade. With business cash flow being a typical point of conflict, there are alternative funding options that can offer working capital to sustain the off-season while also preparing for the business boom to come.
Whether a seasonal business is focused on landscaping, construction, or even holiday based increases, there is a time and place for a peak in a seasonal business cycle. Experts of their field make every effort to position themselves for success year-round and, in return, enjoy all four seasons all the same.