Every seasonal company — whether it is a haunted house attraction available on Halloween or a summer souvenir store on the shore — dreads the off-peak season. Engagement levels fall, sales reduction (and sometimes stop entirely ), and the shop begins to resemble a ghost town.
But just because business is slow does not mean you must slow down with it. Here are some ideas to make the off-season months work for you:
1. Find ways to earn revenue annually round
Your sales don’t need to grind to a complete halt during the off-season. Regardless of what sort of seasonal business you have, there is an excellent probability that it is still possible to earn some revenue even if it is not your busiest time of the year.
Diversify your company offerings and see whether you’re able to sell related or complementary services and products. Determine the different requirements of your customers and find ways to meet them when your principal business is not in season.
Take a look at what H&R Block is performing. Along with seasonal tax preparation, in addition, it offers a lot of financial services such as credit lines and payroll processing. This allows it provide value and make revenue even through off-peak months.
Want another example? Check out Halloween Club, a “costume superstore” in Southern California. While the retailer’s most important business is Halloween costumes, it recently introduced a huge range of party supplies to appeal to mothers and event planners that are holding themed parties or functions.
There is also Tipsy Elves, a holiday-themed apparel firm. Tipsy Elves started out selling ugly Christmas sweaters, but soon expanded to other vacations. Now, the merchant sells fashions for St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine‘s Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and much more.
2. Cater to clients in other places (where your products are in season)
Remember that just because your company isn’t in season in 1 location doesn’t indicate that there is not a demand elsewhere.
Case in point: Big Feet Pajama Co., a Website that sells hot and snuggly PJs. The organization typically experiences a decrease in US sales during the spring and summer months, but it doesn’t stop the business from thriving.
Entrepreneur.com noted that Big Feet makes up for the dip in US earnings from March through August by targeting countries like Australia and New Zealand, where autumn and winter are in full swing.
According to Entrepreneur, Big Feet Pajama Co. capitalized on the opportunity by launching a targeted Australian AdWords campaign and by investing in a supply facility down under to decrease shipping costs.
See if you can apply a similar approach to your organization. Are your services or products in demand in other areas of the world? Make certain to go after those opportunities.
3. Build your community and establish thought leadership
Social networking gives you plenty of opportunities to connect with people throughout the year, so keep your site and social accounts active.
Keep publishing blog posts and posting updates on all the stations your clients follow. Use your downtime to think of fantastic content which can educate your clients. Doing this lets you construct power, strengthens your community, and ensures that individuals will remember you when it comes time to do business again in the on-season.
Have a leaf off H&R Block’s playbook. The tax preparation company makes most of its earnings during tax season, but it publishes educational website posts, videos, and guides throughout the year. And tax season or not, its social networking pages stay active and continue to grow its fan base regardless of what period of the year it is.
This retains H&R Block top of mind for most consumers so that it’s normally the go-to business for people once the tax months come together.
4. Serve other niches
Your company may be”seasonal” to the vast majority of customers, but certain niches might have a need for your goods throughout the year.
By way of instance, if you sell fireworks, then your busiest period would probably be the weeks around Memorial Day or the 4th of July. But it might be worth finding customers who want fireworks beyond those vital holidays. Maybe you can associate with an events organizer or a place which makes use of your goods.
Another idea is to check into corporate earnings or custom solutions. Tipsy Elves implemented this strategy by simply selling custom promotional apparel. The company teams up with brands and helps them develop custom layouts.
5. Find ways to save money
If the business is truly slow throughout the off-season, take action to lower your spending. Here are some areas to look into:
Staffing — If foot traffic and shop activity are on the quiet side, think about lowering your staffing requirements. Maybe it’s possible to cut back on changes or encourage staff members to take some time off.
Hours of operation — Generate sales reports per hour to find out your least profitable occasions. By way of example, you might realize that while you are open from 8am to 8pm, you are not generating enough sales from 7 to 8pm to be rewarding.
With that advice in mind, you can decide whether it is worthwhile for one to stay open that late.
Vendors/solution suppliers — Look in the company services and subscriptions that you have and see if you can downgrade to a lower plan for now. Also, see if your vendors permit you to place your account temporarily on hold.
Space — Subletting your place could help lower among your main expenses — rent. Check with your landlord to determine if you’re permitted to lease your space. If you have the green light, run a search for other stores who would be amenable to moving into your place.
1 retailer that did so well is Metropolis, a gift-and-card store in Seattle. In 2009, the merchant was hit by the downturn and this prodded owner Terry Heiman to rent out the space.
After getting approval from his landlord, Heiman began subleasing a third of his shop to other merchants.
Based on Entrepreneur.com,”Heiman spent $1,000 to set up a loft-style wall between the distances, and every shop has its own entry, speech, and separate utility metering, which makes for effortless division of expenses. He collects the rent and writes one check to the landlord monthly.”
Think about doing something similar in your enterprise. If your rental agreement permits it, locate retailers who would be prepared to move in so that you may share location expenses.
6. Reach out to the media
Publications usually plan their posts months beforehand, so in case you would like to land a magazine feature just in time for your business’s peak season, you will need to reach out to reporters early on.
Make the most of the slow months to gather intel on applicable reporters and books. Get your hands on their editorial calendars so you will know just when to send your pitch.
Subscribe to services like HARO (Assist a Reporter Out) and be on the lookout for individuals doing stories on your industry.
7. Attend educational and networking events
Use the slow months to broaden your expertise and network. Attend events that provide networking and learning opportunities so that you can get to know people and trends in your business.
Conferences, trade shows, as well as local business events can help you gain new ventures and abilities which you can use in your company, so don’t miss the opportunity to attend them.
8. Get shopper feedback and testimonials
The off-season might be the ideal time to receive feedback and testimonials from your clients. Look at getting in touch with people who bought from you and ask them what they thought of your merchandise.
If you buy a good deal of amazing feedback, encourage clients to leave a review on Yelp or Google. Got some not-so-great testimonials? Use that feedback to improve next year.
And that brings us to our next tip…
9. Evaluate your business’ performance and plan for next year
Evaluate the performance of your business last season. What went right? Concretize the motives behind your successes to establish which strategies should be continued.
Do the same exercise on the things that could’ve gone better. Were there situations that could have been handled differently? Again, nail down the reasons why. Take notes, so you will know what to avoid when business begins to pick up.
Some of the items you can look to include:
Inventory — Which items were flying off the shelves? Which ones were snubbed by clients? If you introduce new products? Itemize, assess, and stock up accordingly.
Staffing — Can you have enough hands on deck to manage customers during the busy months? Did any of your staff members glow or underperform? Take note so you know who to employ next time around.
Providers — How much did you spend on services and supplies? Could you have gotten a much better deal elsewhere? Use the off-season to perform research on vendors, so that you can switch or re-negotiate improved contracts for next year.
Care — Is your shop still in great shape? Are there any renovation or maintenance problems that you will need the address? Take care of them if your company isn’t too active.
Your company might be seasonal, but your commitment to it should not be. Put these tips into action and discover ways to thrive throughout the year.
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