From beach bars to Christmas shops, certain businesses are immediately identifiable by their seasonal nature.
Wholly characterised by their fluctuating business cycles, these businesses are naturally structured to peak and retreat at corresponding points of the year.
Even personal training businesses can be categorised as seasonal, due to their annual peaks coinciding with New Year’s resolutions and summer body transformations.
While a little less obvious, lawn and garden services also fall firmly into the seasonal category, owing largely to the general public’s penchant for summertime outdoor living.
Here at Taylor Total Weed Control, we’re all too aware of the pros and cons of a seasonal business. As a result, we’re fully equipped with the knowledge and experience to help you through the dry season.
Seasonal factors affecting business
At Taylor Total Weed Control, we offer a variety of lawn and garden services that are hugely popular during the summer period, when the British public places a renewed focus on their gardens.
Unfortunately, that focus undergoes a resounding defocus when autumn/winter hits, as both the weather and the temperature take a turn.
Due to the cyclical nature of the business, it’s imperative we have a firm plan of action in place prior to the off-season arriving.
As such, preparation is paramount when it comes to ensuring the company’s survival through the harshest of winters (literal and figurative), when interest is waning.
This lesson isn’t exclusive to the lawn and weed trade either. In fact, it’s something that can easily be applied to any seasonal business.
Advice for seasonal businesses
Naturally, one of the main challenges seasonal businesses face is, of course, the “off-season”, which can naturally impact income, stall momentum and curtail interest.
However, that’s not to say that a seasonal businesses model can’t be hugely successful. Look no further than your favourite music festival for proof of just that.
With a bit of work, foresight and attention, a business can be prepped and ready to not only survive the downturn but emerge on the over side more efficient and better than ever.
If you are planning on entering a seasonal business or are already part of one, here are a few tips to help you overcome the quiet times and see you through to another rush hour.
Utilise your down time
One of the easiest traps to fall into as a seasonal business is taking the quieter “off-season” for granted. Just because the down time isn’t as busy as the peak periods, doesn’t mean that that time can’t be used productively.
Use the slow months to review your business and investigate/identify the trends. Take time to discover what worked, what sold and, just as importantly, what didn’t. This post-season review can not only help you plan ahead for next year, it can also help you pinpoint exactly which areas to reinvest in and which expenses you can afford to cut out.
Keep your social accounts active year-round
Maintaining your social media presence during the off-season is not only a great way to engaging your clientele during the quiet months, it’s also a great way to remind your followers that you exist and reassure this loyal demographic that you’re still in business.
A dormant Facebook page or comatose Twitter account can spell warning signs for customers and actively lead them to unfollow you as a result. This will naturally mean they won’t be notified of your activities when it counts and can subsequently see them take their business elsewhere.
Alternate income streams
Another area of consideration that’s extremely worthwhile is broadening your horizons to offer additional out-of-season services to help tide you over. Best of all, with a bit of thought, you often don’t even have to stray too far from your existing expertise.
For example, if you specialise in patio paving, it’s worth adapting to offer indoor tiling services as well. The existing paving skills can be just as useful inside when it comes to tiling kitchens, bathrooms and hallways, without necessitating the good weather.
Meanwhile, expanding your skills to cater for out of season activity can also be an extremely smart move. For example, a landscaping business that’s bereft of business in Baltic conditions can just as easily double-up as a snow clearing business when blizzards rage.
Budget and manage cash flow
If you are involved in a seasonal business, cash flow will be a familiar subject – and rightfully so. Failure to budget can leave you in deep water during the down turn, leaving slim pickings that may not last through to the next peak. With most, if not all of the money-making business taking place within a set period of time, budgeting for seasonal businesses is paramount in ensuring survival when custom dries up and the seasons of wither begin.
A safe way for larger companies to ensure a steady stream of income is to arrange a 50/50 payment scheme with customers, with half payment up front and the other half once the job is complete.
This will help you with cashflow immeasurably, providing a virtual immediate stream of income once a job is agreed. Meanwhile, it also helps in terms of damage limitation, should you run into a customer who is in no rush to settle invoices. Meanwhile, even if this option is off the table, negotiating extended payment terms with your goods suppliers can be a godsend, allowing you to pay back what you owe over a longer, more manageable period of time.
Blog by Taylor Total Weed Control