Seasonal businesses are very tricky to handle as maintaining the profitability of the company in the offseason does require some serious efforts. There are plenty of things to consider in a seasonal business as there is no one-way solution for every predicament. Following are some tips to manage your seasonal business in a more sustainable manner;
1. Forecast business cycles in your industry
In order to be more successful in your business you need to forecast the different stages of business cycle in your industry. You must be clearly able to distinguish between a peak season, a slow season and an off season in your business. This can be done by assessing the sales data of the past 3 or four years. If the company is young then industry figures will prove to be helpful.
2. Plan ahead of a dry season and then the peak season
The forecasting in the previous step will allow you plan for the dry or peak season ahead of time. If the dry season is coming up then go for the activities that are planned for that season like how to manage finances from your other sources of income. If the peak season is coming up then a lot of activities are to be done like hiring back the seasonal workers, getting the production running and various similar activities.
3. Develop alternative routes for income
As discussed in the above heading, it is important that there must be some side income to support your business practices in the offseason. However, this must be kept in mind that these activities are secondary and must not be preferred over the primary business activities.
4. Well timed promotions
The promotional activities of your seasonal business must be well timed and based on the season. You should not go for any promotional activities in the off season in order to capitalize the silence period of your competitors. However, it should be timed in such a manner that your business can draw the most out of it.
5. Keep in touch
This activity should be focused in the off season because it will keep refreshing the identity of your business in the minds of the customers. Taking part in trade exhibitions and sponsoring various events in the local community are the best ways to keep in touch with your customers.
6. Managing the seasonal workers
Managing the seasonal workers is a key point of emphasis for planning your seasonal business. Seasonal workers need to be managed in an appropriate manner because they are not consistently attached with your company.
7. Choose a partner for funding
It is recommended that you should find a partner for funding that supports your grasp on market in the off season. This will add value to your business and its value in the community as well. Such a partner can assist with all the experience of the market and industry and will guide your company in the times of various capital investments.
Every company is working in the industry to earn revenues as these revenues are the life-blood for them. After all the efforts put in, to accumulate the resources, align them as per the needs of the market, develop a particular type of product, produce it in numbers and deliver it in timely manner, still if the revenues do not grow as planned then all the activities carried out above seem meaningless. However, the whole above mentioned procedure should not be condemned and the focus should be on one question “what is not working?” Getting the answer to this question and aligning the whole procedure in accordance is the essence for a successful revenue growth in the long run. Following are the issues that must be settled if you want your company to progress as planned;
1. Focusing on value addition instead of innovation
Adding value for your customers is a good tactic, but in a supportive manner, it should not be treated like the primary objective of your company. On the other hand, innovation is certainly the one that should be among the primary concerns of the company. Nokia is the biggest example in the recent past that was taken over by innovation giant Microsoft. Once Nokia was leading the cell phone industry but since its main focus was on value addition and not on innovations it lost its grounds.
2. Not facilitating your regular customers
This is where the value focus of the company should be. Give some discounts to the regular customers because this will add to the company’s goodwill and it will also help in keeping the customers intact. Some customers bring in a whole network of other customers with them; now imagine if a company turns such a customer into a dissatisfied customer then this will certainly damage the overall sales as well as the image.
3. Products should be designed around the needs of the customers
Your company really needs to understand what the buying priorities of its customers are. Pushing the right buttons with your products and services allows them to imagine that there is no life without your brand.
4. Good salespersons are not good enough
This is pretty conventional matter and many of the readers might disagree here, but good salespersons are useless because the ideals that are driven by the innovation junkies are far superior then those of salespersons. Passionate about their job, innovation junkies can really create an imaginative world and turn it into a real one by delivering the product insights in a perspective of unspoken customer needs.
5. Too much sales focus instead of demand focus
The last but probably the most important root cause of paused revenues of your company is the excessive focus of the company on sales instead of market demand. Revenue is the prime concern for all profit oriented corporations however; too much emphasis on one particular item of income statement is not advisable. The main objective of the company is to create products around the needs and wants of the customers and an increased sales figure is assured.
In the recent recession, the roofing companies have seen some tough times and this ceases the progress in the construction business as well. However, the economy is improving and the construction companies are foreseeing future in an optimistic manner. According to a market analysis conducted by some roofing contractors, the trend of roof improvements and repairs will be more in the residential areas as compared to the commercial projects and due to the recession these projects will have strong competition. This makes the scenarios clearer for the roofing companies as they have to promote themselves in a manner that has not been done before in this industry. The companies can use a wide variety of digital marketing tools but the question is how to decide which one is most relevant. Following are the three best techniques that can be used to promote your roofing company online;
Advertise on search engines
The best option to go for promoting your business online is to advertise your company and its services on a search engine. Previously, if an individual had to find roofing or any construction company s/he would go for the Yellow Pages. At that time Yellow Pages was one of the most important tools to promote your company on the internet. However, according to a recent study, 85% of the consumers search the internet to find a local company now. Therefore, this is a great opportunity to reserve a place in the search engine results. This will allow your company to be found by the perspective customers in a very easy manner. What needs to be done here is that make sure that your company ends up in the top ten results of the displayed search as most of the searches do not last more than that.
Go for a Pay-Per-Click campaign
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns are a great metric to measure the trends and leads of your website traffic. You can generate various keywords like “leaking roof” or “roof replacement” that refer to your industry and place bids on them. When a local customer searches for such keywords your company will pop out right in front and this will generate sales lead. These campaigns are highly effective for the companies to reach out for the customers that require your services. For more effective results, keywords should be those words that are used on normal and regular basis
Monitoring your online reputation
It is very important to assess your company’s online presence and this can be done by evaluating the online reviews on the website and the social media. People do care about the online reviews just like personal recommendations. Therefore, it is essential for your roofing business to get more positive reviews as it will help in shaping the image of your company in appositive manner. These positive reviews can be gained from the customers by responding to their needs and delivering them value, as this will create a long lasting impression on customers’ mind.
Reduce employee turnover rate
If you keep your employees happy you are more likely to also have happy customers. Establishing reliability and consistency is extremely important when running an auto repair shop. This is hard to accomplish when you have a high turnover rate of employees which can lead to inexperienced new workers who need to be guided into better mechanics which can take time. Reduce your employee turnover rate by treating your employees well, giving good benefits and paying them well. This will also make your customers more comfortable working with you when they see the same mechanics each time they come in for auto work. It’s hard to trust an auto shop when they have a different mechanic working on their vehicle every single time they come in.
Guarantee your work
Stand by the quality of your work with a guarantee. Your customers want to make sure they can trust you with their car when they leave it in your hands. You can guarantee your repairs for a certain amount of miles or time to keep people at ease. If you repair someone’s brakes, for instance, this will show them you’re not doing a shoddy job, causing them to come back in a few months to have the work done again. Give them a reason to trust your work and make them more likely to come back to you in the future.
Reward your loyal customers
Make your regulars feel appreciated by rewarding them for being loyal customers. Send them coupons for discounted work or give them a free oil change from time to time. There may be some upfront losses in revenue but will end up paying out in the long run as you start to build up a client base who will only come to you for auto repairs and refuse to go anywhere else. On top of that, those customers are also more likely to refer you to their friends and family.
Make sure your customers leave happy
Satisfied customers are likely to come back to your auto repair shop if they need their car worked on again. They are also likely to refer your business to their friends. Both of which bring in more business. If a customer leaves upset or dissatisfied with the service you have provided they could easily harm your business, spreading the word by mouth or online that your business is providing less than satisfactory work. An unhappy customer can be a dangerous thing for your business. Most people are searching online or getting a referral from a friend when looking for a mechanic. If they see that there are negative reviews for your business, they are not likely to choose you for their needed car repairs.
Every business owner must figure out how location will (or won’t) contribute to the success of the business — and choose a spot accordingly. Though there are many issues to consider when you’re looking for space to house your business, make sure you ask yourself these four important questions:
• Is location important for the success of your business?
• What type of location is best for your business?
• How much rent can you afford?
• Is your proposed location appropriate for what you plan to do there?
Is Location Important for the Success of Your Business?
For some businesses, the classic advice “location, location, location” is right on the mark — location can mean the difference between feast or famine. But for other enterprises, location may be much less important than finding affordable rental space. In fact, location is almost irrelevant for some businesses: service businesses that do all their work at their customers’ locations (such as roofers and plumbers) and businesses that have little contact with the public (such as mail-order companies, Internet-based businesses, and wholesalers). If these types of companies can pass on rent savings to their customers and their profit margin, picking a low-cost spot in an out-of-the-way area might be an advantage.
Banking Software companies generally fall into this category. Most of the time, the clients of a software company do not go to their office. Software can be shipped, delivered by the company or sent electronically. Fancy, expensive office space is no necessary and the company can cut back on overhead by using a more practical space.
What Type of Location Is Best for Your Business?
The key to picking a profitable location is determining the factors that will increase customer volume for your business. Ask yourself questions such as:
• Will customers come on foot?
• Will customers drive and, if so, where will they park?
• Will more customers come if you locate near other similar businesses?
• Will the reputation of the neighborhood or even of a particular building help draw customers?
How Much Rent Can You Afford?
Work with a broker or real estate agent to help find an office in an area that best suits your software company’s location needs. They will be able to determine the average rent in certain areas which will allow you to narrow down your search.
Is Your Proposed Location Appropriate for What You Plan to Do There?
If you have a software company, the technological capabilities of your space are going to be very important. Having to rewire your entire space before moving in can add unnecessary costs to your moving expenses.
Besides high-tech communications wiring, don’t overlook plain-old electrical power as an important consideration in choosing a business space. Make sure that any space you’re looking at has enough power for your needs, both in terms of the number of outlets in your space and the capacity of the circuits. If you’ll be running machinery or other electricity-hungry equipment, find out from the landlord how much juice the circuits can handle and whether a generator is available during power outages. Also, if you’ll keep sensitive computer equipment at your office, ask the landlord how many hours of air conditioning are included in the terms of your lease, and negotiate longer hours if necessary.
Adequate parking is another common need for many businesses. If a significant percentage of your customers will come by car and there isn’t enough parking at your chosen spot, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. In fact, the city planning or zoning board might not allow you to operate in a space that doesn’t have adequate parking.
Finally, the location that you choose needs to be legally acceptable for whatever you plan to do there. A certain spot may be good for business, but if it’s not zoned for what you plan to do, you’re asking for trouble.
You should never sign a lease without being sure you’ll be permitted to operate your business in that space. Your city planning or zoning board determines what activities are permissible in a given location. If your zoning board has a problem with any of your business activities, and it’s not willing to work out a way to accommodate your business, you may have to find another space.