5 tips for seasonal businesses
If you run a business that booms at specific times of the year, you’ll know all about the peaks and troughs of seasonality. The question is – is it possible for a business to survive, or even profit, during the quieter months? Can a Christmas tree farm make money in July? Can a swimwear manufacturer boom in winter?
According to successful small-business coach Sarah Cross, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you steady your business over the course of the year, and ride the rollercoaster with ease. “The trick, of course, is to not dwell on the down times, but make the most of the boom times,” she says.
Stay in touch
Sarah suggests creating long-lasting relationships with customers to encourage loyalty and repeat custom throughout the year. “The best way to do this is with personal interaction: use social media to chat with your customers on a daily basis; reward loyal customers with special offers; send out thank-you notes and birthday emails,” she says.
“It may sound a little over the top, but if a customer feels welcomed and appreciated in your store, they’ll come back time and again, all year long.”
Extend your season
Be as cheeky as the supermarkets stocking the shelves with mince pies in October and Easter Eggs in January – make the most of your season. “If you have a product that’s more popular in summer, start promoting it towards the end of winter, in order to get people primed and ready,” Sarah suggests.
Fly north for the winter
Follow the season, just like the ducks do, says Sarah. “Promote the online side of your business, and direct your website and social media to international customers. There simply doesn’t need to be a downtime,” she insists.
According to Sarah, partnering with a like-minded business is a great way to boost year-long sales. She suggests creating a unique package that showcases both businesses, and gives both an opportunity to shine.
“Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other significant dates on the calendar offer brilliant opportunities for collaborations with relevant businesses,” she says.
Everybody loves a freebie, and seasonal business customers are no different. Sarah believes that promotions and giveaways are a great way to get early order confirmations, and entice new customers.
“Not only are giveaways and promotions a great way to build your database, but they also give you the chance to really push a product that you feel passionately about,” she says.
“On top of that, promotions and giveaways help build a sense of customer loyalty – people will want to thank you for their freebies by buying more from your store!”
To find out more about Sarah’s small-business mentoring and coaching, listen to her podcasts here.