Seasonal dips in income can be highly challenging when you’re a small business. But there are proactive ways to predict, plan for and overcome these dips in revenue.
If your business is seasonal such as pool supplies, or a ski gear specialist, you’ll be used to the peaks and troughs, but many 'non-seasonal' businesses experience times during the financial year where sales and revenue peak – and, on the flipside, where sales and revenue experience a pronounced dip.
When income is low at certain times of the year, it makes for challenging times. So, what are the key ways to plan for this kind of seasonality?
It’s vital to know WHEN you’re most likely to experience any seasonal dips. Looking at benchmarking reports for your industry is one way to predict the seasonality in your niche or sector. But you can also use your own accounting data to great effect. Look back through your profit & loss reports and spot where the peaks and troughs have occurred over preceding years.
One straightforward approach is to apply premium pricing for your products/services during the busy season. By increasing your pricing, you boost your overall revenue, giving you more working capital to see you through the leaner months when sales and income are at their lowest.
Offering added extras and other additional service lines during peak time is another way to maximise the season. In the months where customers are most engaged, look to upsell these premium services and offer more value. Satisfied clients will be more inclined to pay for added extras, giving you an increased revenue stream from the same number of customers.
Exploring other related markets is another useful tactic. When you’re experiencing downtime, look for other ways to monetise your existing assets, products or services. For example, if you’re a hotel where sales peak in summertime, offer discounted conference space in the winter months to boost revenue.
If one product/service has a known seasonal dip, look at adding an additional product or service to offset this downtime. For example, a ski resort could promote bike-riding or hiking breaks during the warmer summer months to keep revenue constant. Likewise, a pool maintenance firm could establish an outdoor fireplace business for the colder months.
If you’re dependent on a small local market, broadening your marketing and e-commerce strategies can help to attract a wider customer base – and bolster sales.
Paid advertisement through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter can easily target new geographical markets, bringing in new customers and giving your revenue a much-needed uplift during seasonal troughs.