Seasonality affects businesses of all shapes and sizes. Depending on your cycle, you might be about to hit your busiest period sales or be six months into your Christmas planning. However, whether summer is your peak or off season, there are opportunities to help you increase profits year round. Read on to find tips for your business this summer.
Summer high season
Create a yield management strategy
A common tactic for hotels and airlines, a yield management strategy involves putting prices up when demand is higher. It could be for busy months, weekends or times of day. For example, if you run a beachside miniature golf course, you could expect to charge more on a Saturday afternoon in August than a Monday evening in February.
Look at your takings from previous years to find judge where demand will be highest, then adjust your prices accordingly. Make sure you track your performance too put prices up too much and you’ll scare customers away.
Get your cash flow ready
Healthy cash flow gives you the flexibility to take opportunities and make the best decisions for your business. If demand is higher than expected, you can capitalise by bringing in extra staff and stock, or running more promotions. Instead of always checking your bank balance, you can be on hand managing your staff and pushing for more sales. The more freedom you have at this time of year, the more you can adjust to the situation to maximise your profits.
Resource needs to go where it’s needed. As well as getting temps in to cover the extra hours, think about how you distribute your existing employees. Do your back room staff need to be on their normal roles all day, or could they be an extra pair of hands during busy periods? The less hiring and training you need to do the better, so think how you can use your staff most efficiently.
Competition for customers is peaking too, so do something that stands out. Think of a promotion that fits your brand, give it a quirky name and make it easy to find. It should be on a sandwich board outside, posters inside and across all your social media pages. Word of mouth will make a big difference with locals and tourists alike, so find a hook and get them talking.
If you need cash flow to make the most of your summer season, you can check if you qualify for finance in 30 seconds at fundingcircle.com/businesses.
Summer low season
Prepare for Christmas
When Christmas is your peak season, planning starts before the summer holidays. Some even plan all year round. Wherever you’re at in your cycle, there are some important questions to ask that will help you plan effectively:
- Do I have enough cash flow? Looking at previous years’ results, can you achieve everything you want with your current cash flow? If not you could look at getting finance to bridge the gap.
- How much stock do I need? Probably the most obvious question but also the most crucial. Use as much info as possible, looking at previous years performance, current trends and deals.
- What are my staffing needs? Planning ahead now will help you be more efficient when it comes to hiring holiday staff and planning your budgets.
- What promotions will I run? Plan these now, you need to get them adequately stocked and factored into your budgets
New seasonal lines
If you’re happy with your Christmas plan then it could be time to look for more immediate opportunities. New product lines for the summer season can help you bring in sales during the slow months. Think where your expertise lie, then what you could create to reach a new market. It could be anything from a festival clothing range to an ice-cream stand. The extra revenue could help smooth your yearly cycle.
Start a loyalty scheme
Give your customers a reason to keep coming back to you all year round. Modern consumers want to build relationships with brands, not just be sold to. As well as announcing your new loyalty scheme, give them extra value with news or content they might find interesting. Run competitions and start discussions on social media. Keep them engaged and build a following of brand advocates.
Clear your to-do list
As a business owner, there are always a million things to do. Whereas high season is a time to push hard for sales, low season is the time to get your house in order. Make a list of all the small things you’ve thought about that you don’t usually have time to do. Now give yourself a daily target, can you do 5 or 10 a day? Spread them among the team, make it a competition with a prize at the end of each week. Clearing the backlog will give you time to focus on the important issues when it matters most.
If you need extra cash flow to plan for Christmas or boost your summer season, you can check if you qualify for finance in 30 seconds at fundingcircle.com/businesses.