Small business advice personalized for those who are new to business
Every business has some seasonal ebb and flow to it, but some businesses are a lot more seasonal than others. If your business experiences drastic differences between peak sales and lowest sales throughout the year, you most likely have a seasonal business. Here are a few tips to help you embrace and cope with the seasonality of your business.
Identify your Highs and Lows
Take a look at your books and identify your seasons. When did you have the most customers / clients or sales in the past 12 months? Was it the same in the previous year? If the answer is yes, you’ve successfully identified your busy season. You can do the same process to identify your least busy season. If it wasn’t the same the previous year, or you didn’t have a previous business year, can you take a guess as to the cause of that peak (or valley) in your business? Was it a one time event i.e. a special event or special media attention? Was it because you put in the most work that month? What do you think was the cause of your non-recurring highs and lows? Identifying those can help you better understand your business’ seasonality as well.
Identify the Cause of the Seasonality
Not every business' seasonality is for the same reason. Take a moment to identify what the cause of the seasonality is. Is it the weather? Is it the academic school year? Is it related to key holidays? Your business might have seasonality based on more than one cause, but for the specific high and low months that you’ve identified, what do you think is the cause? Knowing the cause will help you be able to capitalize on your highest months while generating creative solutions to raise your lowest months.
Embrace the Seasonality
Before I can suggest to you solutions and workarounds to take advantage of running a seasonal business, you first must acknowledge and embrace the seasonality. Your month-to-month revenues will not be equal, and that’s okay. You will have slow months where you maybe don’t make anything, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We do have to plan for those changes in season, but sometimes the hardest part is accepting that your business won’t look like what you originally envisioned. Let it go and let’s move forward.
Get Strategic to Thrive in your Highest Months
In a seasonal business, your in-season months will be the most rewarding, fun, and the most exhausting. You won’t have the time to come up with a strategy or do your taxes in the thick of your busiest season. Those type of tasks that are still very necessary for running a business, but they should be saved for your off season. Plan and train in the off season so your busy season can be as profitable and successful as possible. Start with the end in mind. What do you want running your business to look like and feel like in the busy season? Grasp that picture and use it as a guiding light when making decisions. Also, when you’re in your busy season and money is coming in easily and you’re very excited about the future, hold off on unnecessary spending. It’s easy to place another product order or sign up for an advertising contract when money is easy, but because you run a seasonal business, it won’t always be easy. Stick to your business budget. Save extra income for your off season when you might need it and when you can make level-headed decisions about it.
Get Creative to Survive your Lowest Months
You will need to save some of your busy-season money to pay the bills in your slow season. This will remove a lot of the stress of running a seasonal business. If you don’t have the money saved, you’ll have to get creative to find other work to keep your business afloat. Brainstorm new ways you can serve your current clients during the off season. For example, a landscaper might switch to snow removal in the winter months. Or a wedding photographer may offer family portrait sessions in January to help cover the slower months. The slow months are the perfect time to get strategic to improve and propel your business forward. It is the perfect time to sign up with a business coach and complete a coaching plan. A business coach can help you identify your seasonality, capitalize on your best season, and think of creative solutions for your slow season. Did you know your first coaching call with me is free? And it’s not a sales pitch! I’d love to hear about your business and see how I might help you in the next season.
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Hey! My name is Christine and I'm an entrepreneur and small business coach. I've learned most of what I know through trial and error. I help women who are new to business to take their next steps with confidence and clarity.
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