Challenges Of Owning A Seasonal Business

Seasonal businesses are a lot more difficult to manage than the other businesses. For some retailers, holiday season sales represent more than two quarter of yearly totals. However, those who operate seasonal businesses the sales depend solely on the season. Therefore, it’s extremely important to get it right after all it’s the biggest sale of the year for seasonal businesses and many others. Time period is awfully short to make very critical decisions. Amy Barrett, an author in Bloomberg’s Business Magazine, wrote an article titles “Basics for Seasonal Business Owners” which provides an overview of what certain key areas seasonal-business owners need to master so that they can successfully run the business. Here are some of the useful tips that Barrett speaks about:

Use Off-season to strategize

It is the time when you do long-range planning to prepare for your next busy season. Doing anything that can enhance your business from searching through new trends to maintenance work or looking for a new target market. It’s the time not to relax but to get a head start from your rivals.

Be a Pro at hiring

As the business grows, the workforce increases as well. Having good employees to rely on is a major challenge in seasonal business industry. Barrett says “Identify those workers you simply can’t afford to let go.” The employees who are impossible to replace. They are trained so well that you will risk hurt your revenues if the new hires can’t get up to par.  As Barrett says “It’s wise either to help those employees find a job for the off-season or to keep them on the payroll all year.”

Cash Flow

The first most important topic for seasonal businesses is cash flow. The revenue peaks and declines depending on a certain time of year. Even though you are seasonal business, you still have ongoing operating expenses like equipment rentals, leases, advertising, and employees’ payroll. Hence Barrett provided two lucrative ways to boost revenues off-season:

  1. Diversify either geographically or in the services you offer.
  2. Cut prices to attract customers who might be willing to put up with some inconvenience to save money.

Cutting prices can be risky. Make sure the perceived value of your product is not damaged.


farishta.JPGFarishta Abdullahi is an intern for Women’s Entrepreneurship Center at The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center. She is focused on assisting lower income women, those in transition or those trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. 

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About The University of Scranton SBDC

The University of Scranton SBDC provides no cost small business consulting services that are tailored to fit the needs of small business clients of Bradford, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne & Wyoming Counties. The center offers confidential individualized assistance designed to identify and address the problems of small business owners as well as individuals interested in establishing a business. The program is jointly funded by the US Small Business Administration, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and The University of Scranton.
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