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Preparing your Business to Overcome the Challenges of an “Off-Season”

Ask the Experts: Slow Seasons – How can small businesses get through them?

Most businesses experience cyclical changes with cash flow based on busy and slow season. The success of a small business depends on how well they can sustain through the slow ones. There are many tactics owners use to bring in additional revenue when the season starts to slow down. To discover how other small business owners are accomplishing this, we turned to the experts. Read on to find out how the following small business owners navigate their downtime to set them up for success when the busy season starts again.

During slow seasons, we motivate employees to set aside day-to-day tasks (that usually weigh them down) in favor of interesting projects and accomplishing big picture items. By giving them room to breathe and catch up on things they haven’t had time to all year, we generally see a spike in internal motivation and satisfaction. 

David Scarola, Vice President
The Alternative Board

Growing a small business during slow times is the key to long-term success. It allows business to allocate time to really think about how to diversify their income so it is evenly spread across multiple revenue sources. For example, my gourmet food business, Traverse Bay Farms, has two retail locations in tourist towns in Northern Michigan. This means our busy time is May – October for my retail stores.

During this business time, we have created flyers that give a reason for customers to come to my stores year-round. We have accomplished by providing a map of our area on what to  do during the busy season and placed contact information to order from our website during the off season.  We include each of these flyers as bag stuffers for our customers.

We also have our products distributed via several distributors throughout the U.S. This gives us the  ability to diversify our income with multiple revenue sources throughout the year.

Andy LaPointe, Owner
Traverse Bay Farms

We operate in the car leasing space, which is dominated by business customers. While there is a steady trickle of customers throughout the year, the vast majority of business happens around the end of the financial year.

To handle your slow season, you should diversify your income streams. In other words, don’t just rely on the business that disappears at certain times of the year. You can see loads of examples of this in ski towns where businesses obviously don’t want to shut up shop for eight months of the year. Quite often you will find businesses offering other outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking to tide them over until the ski season kicks back in.

At LeaseFetcher, we looked out within the business sphere. While business customers tend to flock around the end of the financial year, personal customers are more fluid in their buying decisions. By building a service for personal leasing customers, we can keep the business in profit through to the next financial year.

Will Craig, Owner
LeaseFetcher

One way to survive a slow season would be to extend the range of your products. Taking different seasons into account you can offer products or services specifically made for that season; winter stuff for winter, summer stuff for summer, etc. Also, having a focus on connecting with your customer base and target market on an authentic level is a big way to keep your business in the front of their minds through the slow season.

Igor Gramyko, Owner
Highwater Standard

It is imperative for businesses to possess more than one method of bringing in revenue. During the low season, the services or product may need to go outside of the brick and mortar to generate revenue. In the case of a restaurant, catering may be a more viable option to having dine in customers. Business owners are smart to think ahead and realize that all businesses, regardless of industry have a down season. They should prepare accordingly.

Linda Murray Bullard, Chief Business Strategist
LSMB Business Solutions, LLC.

Realize that gift certificates can be designed and distributed to achieve ANY objective for ANY entity. Recipients see gift certificates as cash. Compared such with ho hum discount coupons, gift certificates always outperform and at lower costs. Design and distribute gift certificates promoting days, and or limiting use to breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, or to weekends, or excepting any such. That said, think through the objective, design copy to do just what is desired.  Typically, gift certificates return $4. for each dollar redeemed.  

Jim Herst, Owner
Perceptive Selling Initiative, Inc

“When a product or service I’m offering goes down for a season, as my main offering does in January, I try to start other streams of revenue, so I’m not affected as much by the downturn.”

Stacy Caprio, Owner
Accelerated Growth Marketing

Navigating a slow season doesn’t have to be detrimental to your small business. You have options to bridge the gap. Each business owner deals with their own unique set of challenges, and we know cash flow and obtaining working capital is among them. If you’re looking for a flexible and easy way to get cash flow for your business without the hassle, we are the perfect business partner for you. Want more information? Call us at 1-888-239-7865 to get started today.

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