Running a seasonal business that’s highly affected by peaks and dips in revenue over the course of the year can be challenging. If your business relies on a small window each year to generate income, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure you have a highly profitable high season that can see you through the quieter months. Here are some tips to help you have a great high season!
Make Sure You Have Enough Staff
As you approach the high season, it’s important that you have the staff to handle the increase of trade. Lack of staff is a sure firewire to lose sales. Many seasonal businesses employ temporary staff to give a helping hand in the high season. This can be pretty time-consuming, which is frustrating when you know the staff will be temporary. Using recruitment companies to find candidates can save you time but will be more expensive than sourcing candidates yourself.
Ensure Business Communications Are Managed
During high season, it’s likely that you’ll experience higher phone call and website traffic volumes than usual. These can be hard to manage at times, and customer service levels can drop as a result. It also increases the likelihood of calls being missed completely, which, unfortunately, means that leads are being lost. Regardless of what industry you’re in, one thing will always be true; many customers who are not responded to quickly will instead try a competitor.
A highly effective way of making the most of your high web traffic is by installing proactive live chat software on your website. This allows your website visitors to ask questions directly on your website, often saving them the need to phone up the business. One individual is able to handle multiple live chats at once, but only one phone call, meaning the customer service spread is more than doubled. Your customers are being managed more efficiently, without the need of employing extra staff. You can also set up automated emails to be sent out to your email list. There are some great email marketing platforms like ActiveCampaign to help you manage this.
Watch Your Cash Flow
As seasonal businesses may only earn for a short period of time within a given year, it’s important to properly manage your cash flow. Resist the temptation to splurge during high season – profits may seem high now, but you will likely need that cash later in the year when profits are low. For example, outdoor adventure and camping companies may find that their income is high in the summer and low in the winter, but that they need cash to market and recruit in the spring.
Ensuring money is managed properly takes careful planning – it’s helpful to have a business plan highlighting anticipated income and outgoings to help you manage your cash flow. It’s also a good idea to have a financial bandwidth to fall back on if necessary. Many seasonal businesses may find that they need to take out small businesses loans before the start of their high season to cover costs such as buying in stock, recruiting and marketing.
Market Before High Season Starts
As it’s critical to the success of your business to have a successful high season each year, you need to start marketing well before the high season begins so that people are aware of your business. If you host an annual summer fair, for example, you’ll want to market ahead of summer to ensure your fair is the one people plan to attend.
You may not be open year-round, but you should remain visible year-round to ensure you’re not forgotten about. Make sure your website and social media are active, offering engaging updates and information to get customers excited for the high season. A lot of people like to get in touch and ask queries via social media or websites so you want to be there to reply. Paid ads are great for instant short term results, however if you do not yet have professional SEO services for long term organic traffic, you’ll need to engage an SEO provider 2-3 months before your peak season starts to get the most from Google, Bing and Yahoo search traffic.
Secure Your Stock Ahead Of Time
Make sure you’ve got stock ordered in advance. You don’t want to be hastily trying to buy stock only to find that your supplier can’t meet the demand, or that prices have rocketed because of high demand. Ensure you stay organised and have stock ready well in advance so that there’s time to resolve issues if they do come up.
Do you own a seasonal business? If so, feel free to share your own tips and advice in the comments below!