Many of the challenges seasonal businesses face are the same as any other business. However, some are unique due to the nature of not being in demand all year round. In this blog post, we look at some best practices for starting and running a seasonal business.
1. Understand Your Market
One of the most important things to be sure of with your seasonal business is that there is enough demand for your products or services that you can generate sufficient income during your peak season. If you are unsure of your market, you need to carry out some market research by asking potential customers their thoughts on your product or service offering, potential prices and branding ideas. This is also the perfect time to do some research on your competition.
2. Plan Your Marketing
When it comes to marketing, proper planning prevents poor performance. Committing enough time and money to marketing and using all of the right channels that could bring you sales is important for bringing in leads, maximising traffic and boosting interactions when you need them. It is also worth keeping your social accounts active, even during the off-season. This is because followers will be more inclined to stick around and your online activity will encourage them to think of you when it’s peak season and your sales are active again.
3. Manage Your Cash Flow
Ensuring you successfully manage your cash flow is highly important. For a seasonal business this can be a challenge because you will receive most of your income in a set period but may have outgoings at other times. The temptation is to spend too much when cash is plentiful, creating cash flow issues when revenue is down. Such irregular cash flow requires careful planning and management.
4. Seek Professional Legal Advice
It’s essential to have reliable, dependable professionals to go to when it comes to the legalities of your business.
Some businesses require a licence to trade and all business have legal responsibilities when it comes to health and safety, insurance and employment.
Much will depend upon the legal structure of your business, its turnover and your total personal income, but professional advice will also come in handy to ensure maximum tax efficiency and ease of claiming allowances and reliefs.
5. Efficient and Effective Recruitment Strategy
Temporary or fixed-term employees provide a cost-effective solution to having flexible staff when you need them. However, you should always leave yourself enough time to recruit the right people to ensure your business is properly represented ready for your peak time.
6. Manage Inventory Closely
Being left with unsold stock will cost you, so shopping around for best value and establishing good relationships with suppliers is essential. ‘Just in time’ inventory management can help you minimise wastage by allowing you to order stock and supplies as you need them.
7. Network All Year Round
You should be networking all year round, even in your off-season. This time is perfect for sourcing those who can give your business a lift, like an accountant, business coach or new supplier.
8. Improve Your Business In Quiet Periods
It is advisable to use quiet periods to think of ways you can improve the business for when it becomes active again. Namely, you might want to introduce new products or services or operate in a new location.
This also provides an opportunity for you to modify your offer to give it wider (and therefore more long-lasting) appeal, perhaps by selling your products online, subletting your premises when you don’t need them or partnering with a venue or another company that needs your products at other points of the year.
Each business and its structure is unique. But the main aims for your seasonal business should be to stay up to date with your market, keep your cash flowing and to keep diversifying your offering to stay competitive.
If you would like any advice, information or guidance on forming a business of any kind, do not hesitate to ask! Call us on 0800 0198 698 or browse our company formation products.