Do your sales suffer during the off-season? It’s a financial challenge to your small business, plus employees can feel like they’re in the doldrums when business isn’t booming. Running a seasonal business can be rough if you don’t have a game plan for less busy times of the year. As a business owner, you need to take a global view of your operations and figure out how to make the most of your slow season. Here are some ways to manage the ebbs and flows that can lead to frustrating downtime.
1. Maintain Financial Watchfulness
When you have lots of incoming cash or other income available during the busy season, it can be all too tempting to give raises, expand your dealership, open a new location or otherwise burn through those funds before the year is really over. Be mindful of your company’s long-term needs and don’t spend more simply because you have the cash on hand. Defer spending and instead try saving those funds for a stormy day.
2. Manage Your Time
It’s hard to manage personal time during fluctuations in activity and it’s even harder to keep part-time employees motivated and engaged during a seasonal slump in the Sunscape sales cycle. Seasonal small businesses can only succeed by being very organized and efficient about everyone’s time, including customers as well as employees. Try to shift business plan reviews, strategy sessions, and other extraneous activities to less busy seasons, in order to avoid stress when the busy season starts.
3. Plan Ahead
It’s vital for small businesses to plan ahead for at least six months to a year. After 12 months in business, a small business owner should develop at least a basic understanding of the sales process and cycles in the industry, and therefore be better able to project sales data based on seasonality. If your small business is just starting, research peers and industry sources to get a better idea on how seasonality affects your Sunscape dealership.
One way that ambitious dealership managers can handle downtime in a seasonal business is to branch out during the slow season. Who else can your dealership reach out to? What untapped market might your dealership target? By setting up alternative marketing and revenue streams, your dealership may be able to fill in the gaps caused by the off-season blues.
5. Acknowledge Your Advantages
Most Sunscape dealerships tend to grow as an owner and his or her team gains insights, ideas, and experience in managing the product and customers. One major advantage you have as a dealership is that the seasonality of sales is a very predictable cycle. Unlike natural disasters, fluctuations in the markets, or the unreliability of the economy, you can plan for seasonal ebbs and flows and use those cycles productively.
6. Take Time to Review and Focus
The perfect time to review, revise, and/or implement a new business strategy is after a busy and successful high season, when the hustle and bustle of selling and installing window film has subsided. If you’re thinking about implementing a new tactic, marketing strategy or other initiative, take the time to sit down, relax, reflect, and take inventory on how things went and where you want them to go. Solicit staff and customer feedback to identify what worked and what didn’t. Leverage online reviews to your advantage. Review “lessons learned” with your staff and identify trends. Then formulate or adjust your business strategy not only for the next high season, but also for the duration of the off-season.