Join the Esme team as we share our top 5 tips on how to prepare and manage the downtimes you may experience as a seasonal business.
Setting your yearly budget can help a lot when planning how much your business can afford to spend or invest during busy or quite times.
Calculate your operational costs during quiet periods, including rent, business rates, marketing, staff wages, inventory and any repairs or renovations. This will allow you to understand the minimum budget required to ensure your business can continue to operate during downtime.
The next step is planning how you’ll raise the capital required to fund this downtime, whether it’s through a loan or by saving your profits gained from the busy period. A business loan could help with cash flow, especially for seasonal businesses – it could give you the cash injection needed to invest in your business while choosing a repayment plan that works for your cashflow.
As a seasonal business, you may benefit from seasonal staff – which means taking on more staff when the business experiences busier times and letting them go when your business experiences its downtime and isn’t getting as much money or customers.
If you are looking to employ seasonal or temporary workers – there are a number of recruitment and employment agencies who offer this service. Alternatively, students can also be great employees looking for seasonal or temporary work. University career teams can offer free adverts for businesses looking to hire students, which can be a great resource for finding new and employable recruits.
If you’re aware that your business booms at a certain period of the year, it’s worth using the quieter times to prepare your business so it’s ready to hit the ground running. For example, if your business requires renovations or repairs, you can get these done before your peak season.
This offers an opportunity to review any suppliers and buy in inventory in preparation. This should also be tied in with planning your budget and managing your cashflow to ensure you can afford to run your business during the rest of the downtime period.
Attempting to attract customers by offering incentives or special offers during your business’ quiet period could keep things ticking over until it hits its peak period.
Depending on your business and what it offers, it could also be a good idea to team up with other businesses in the area to offer discounts and attract visitors. For example, if you own a camp site, you may offer discounted places for caravans and campervans in the winter, as well as reduced priced tickets to local attractions to boost income.
The quieter times can also be a great opportunity to work on areas of your business that may have been neglected during busy periods – such as your marketing strategy. More free time could allow you to work on planning the year ahead, creating content and planning promotions and budgets, allowing your business to make the most out of busy periods.