While most small businesses struggle to survive their first year, the statistics can be bleaker for seasonal small businesses. However, with the right steps, not only can your seasonal small business improve its chances of surviving all year, but it can also thrive and grow.
Develop a Second Business Model
With the right strategies, seasonal small businesses can make as much revenue during the off-season. You can diversify by repurposing your assets and retraining your employees to take advantage of other business opportunities. For example, a snowplow business can store its snowplows and use its trucks and employees to serve some of the following needs.
⦁ Road maintenance: Your trucks can be used for provincial jobs that involve moving gravel or asphalt.
⦁ Lawn care: With the right training, your small business can use its assets to offer residential and commercial landscaping services.
⦁ Construction: Your small business can rent out its pickup trucks to construction companies.
⦁ Moving Services: Many people shift houses after winter is over and look for reliable moving services.
⦁ Accident towing: As winter ends, traffic increases on the highways and drivers who get into collisions need help that your trucks can provide.
⦁ Tree removal: As the temperature drops and the ice defrosts, certain trees can become hazardous and need to be removed and transported by a company with large vehicles.
⦁ Deliveries: Many seasonal small businesses such as farms look for cost-effective ways to deliver a larger volume of goods in the springtime.
Stay Cash Flow Positive
Negative cash flow can squeeze seasonal small businesses, so have your financing sorted. You may have to rely on your savings, credit cards, investments from family or friends, or a line of credit from a traditional funder to keep your business afloat during the offseason or to take advantage of new opportunities. The winter clothing orders may have dried up, but you still have bills to pay.
Unfortunately, traditional funders such as the big banks can be picky, especially during an offseason. Not only do they want to see many years of excellent cash flow on your books, but they take months to process, approve, and release the funds. Meanwhile, your seasonal small business needs cash urgently.
That’s why many small seasonal businesses are turning to alternative Canadian business funding from reliable and trustworthy funders that process applications quickly and provide funds within days. They have multiple options for small seasonal businesses such as bridge funding, commercial funding, and short-term loans. Whether you need money to survive until your next tranche from a traditional funder or to buy inventory for a new business idea, you can try unconventional funding options.
Control Your Costs
It’s important to control your expenditures, especially when you hit offseason. For example, if you run a holiday business, then you should hire part-time employees rather than permanent ones. Controlling your costs can also help you survive if your business was slow during peak season. For example, buying multiple snowplow trucks and hiring several employees can backfire for a seasonal small business if the winter is milder than expected.
Partner with a Complementary Business
Consider partnering with a company that sells complementary products to your own in your off-season. For instance, if your company sells winterwear or winter skiis, consider partnering with a company that sells bathing suits. Create a referral program with your business partner so that they provide a coupon to their customers for your products during their peak season and you provide a coupon to your customers for their products during your peak season. This increases the chance of their customers becoming your customers and helps increase sales during each business’s slow season.
Surviving all year as a seasonal small business isn’t a straightforward task. But you can improve your chances of thriving by being proactive and adopting these creative strategies.
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