It’s not easy to own and manage a business—that’s a given. But it’s an even bigger challenge if the business you’re running is a seasonal one. There are more difficulties to face and factors to consider like off-season sales dips and low cash flow moments, among others. Entering this kind of business may be hard, but not impossible. You can still survive even during the off-season—all you need to do is budget wisely and plan your strategy ahead aligned with some budgeting tips you need.
With that, here are some helpful techniques to budget and plan that you can apply to your business to help you stay afloat and profitable all year round.
Consider Your Business’s Expectations and Trends Within Your Industry When Crafting Your Business Plan
First things first: understanding the expectations and trends in the business and industry you’re in will give you a better insight into your best practices and future planning.
Start asking questions about your business like “What’s the level of seasonality am I looking at?” and “How do I cope with these challenges?”.
You can find some of the answers by taking the time to do the research. Look into leading companies in a similar line of business and even other competitors on a smaller scale. You can even pull insights from your own experiences. Use everything you have learned from your research when crafting your business plans.
If there’s not much on your plate during your low season, don’t just be idle and instead take this time to strategize and gear up not just for your high season but for the whole calendar year.
Stick to Your Budget During the High Season and Save Your Extra Earnings for the Off-Season
When business is doing better than expected during the high season, it can distract us from the challenges that the off-season brings. And while it may be tempting to just spend all that extra profit, there may come a time when you realize that it could have gone to a more important expense.
For instance, you’re a business owner in 2019 who’s experiencing an influx of sales during December, your high season. You raked in double the amount of profit than expected and while it’s not in your plans and budget, you decided to expand and move to a bigger space and hire more permanent workers. And then the unexpected happens and COVID has impacted major business sectors including yours, affecting your resources, logistics, workforce, and operations. You have no choice but to cease business operations because of the lockdowns and new safety regulations.
Whether or not they’re as big as a pandemic, more unexpected challenges can come your way and it’s a good move to have extra savings to help cushion the blow. Just remember that there’s a reason why you created that budget and follow some budgeting tips, and it’s so your business can operate for as long as possible. With that in mind, start thinking like a saver, stick to your intended budget, and set aside your additional income for off-season necessities and emergencies.
Keep Your Off-Season Costs to a Minimum
Knowing the bare minimum it takes to operate your business is crucial. By doing so, you can adjust your spending and save on expenses especially during the off-season when money is tight.
Take the time to list down all of your business expenses. It can be anything from your rent, utilities, payroll, taxes, advertising spending, and so on. From that list, identify which costs are essential for your business and which ones you can cut or do without.
For instance, you may be running an ad online that’s not getting the attention of off-season shoppers. You can cut it from your budget since it’s not giving you results. Or, maybe you have excess space in your office that you’re not using but you’re still paying the rent and utilities for it. You may want to have it leased temporarily to cover the expenses and maybe even earn a profit.
While it seems tedious, being practical and minimizing costs is one of the best ways to maximize your profits, especially during off-season when profit isn’t guaranteed.
Cut Back on Staffing Costs by Hiring Seasonal Workers
One of the things you can cut expenses on is staffing. With some businesses, they would just keep essential workers in their ranks as they operate on the bare minimum during low season. Then they would hire seasonal or part-time workers through an outsourcing company once the busy season starts to pick up its pace. This practice would help you save on staffing costs as you won’t have the pay for the services of these employees for the whole year.
If you don’t know where to start, outsourcing companies like Booth and Partners can help supply your staffing needs with the high-quality talent to help you out during the high-season rush.
Diversify your Offerings
When the going gets tough, it’s time to get creative. Even if your business is seasonal, you can come up with alternative products to help bring in some cash in the off-season.
For example, if you’re in the business of selling Christmas decor, you may want to consider offering home or room decor that customers can use all year round just to offset the high season.
You may also want to offer off-season discounts for customers who like buying during off-season sales.
Stay in Touch with Your Customers Even During Off-Season
Last in our list of budgeting tips, you can tighten your belt when it comes to other aspects of your business, but never your communication with your customers. The peak season may end, but your customers will always be there.
Nurture and strengthen your relationship with them by reaching out through newsletters and social media posts to remind them of your presence even during the off-season. That way, when it’s time for them to buy the products you’re selling, your brand will be at the top of their minds.
As with all businesses, seasonal businesses will have their fair share of challenges. But with the right mindset toward planning and some budgeting tips, it’s not impossible to survive and thrive even when it’s not your peak season.
Thinking of Hiring Seasonal Workers?
Need seasonal workers for your business? Booth & Partners has got you covered with our effective staff-leasing services for all businesses. Save on hiring costs and hire the best talents for your specific needs. Contact us now to get a quote!