Many seasonal company owners have the same problem: they have to tighten their belts in the off-season. This may mean the business owner doesn’t actually get an off-season as he or she is buried in paperwork, balancing the books and generally keeping the company afloat singlehandedly. This can be a difficult proposition. So, instead of facing a year of feast or famine, take a cue from successful seasonal companies and follow this “how to” in your off-season.
Discover a niche that allows you to extend your season.
We understand that this may be harder than it sounds. However, many companies that provide a seasonal product or service can extend their selling time. For example, a company selling artificial Christmas trees could take advantage of the “Christmas in July” trend and open their doors just through the month of July to sell old stock. A gutter cleaning company that traditionally only works in fall and winter may be able to extend their season by offering gutter repair or replacement services. A Halloween store may be able to sell their product year round on places like Amazon. Take a look at your options and see what niche you can come up with.
Add complementary products or services
Another way your company can expand and make more profit during the season is to sell complementary products or services. For example, a Christmas tree farm might also get in inventory of tree stands, twinkle lights, and ornaments which customers could buy along with their trees. A lawn mowing company could start to provide tree trimming or hedge clipping services. A snow removal service could offer an environmentally-friendly ice melting product.
Consider what product or service you could provide that your existing customer base would want and then work out how to provide that product or service. If you can’t think of anything, ask the opinion of existing clients. You may be surprised with what they tell you.
Use the off-season to build buzz
Set aside some of your seasonal profits to invest in an off-season marketing campaign which will keep your services in the minds of past and future customers. Here are three simple things you can do to help generate buzz and keep your company name in front of customers:
- Ask happy customers for reviews during the season by handing out a card with each completed job or each purchase requesting that they review your business on Yelp!, Houzz, Google, Facebook, or Angie’s List. In the off-season, catch all of those customers who forgot to send in their testimonials with an e-newsletter blast.
- Keep your social media presence going – and keep it interesting. You may be in your off-season, but that doesn’t mean you should stop posting on social media. Instead, keep your name in front of customers by posting fun photos of past jobs, memes about your product or service, and other interesting content. You don’t have to post as frequently as you would during the season, but be sure to keep up your presence.
- Utilize the three months before your season begins to build up excitement and get early orders or appointments. About three months before your season begins, offer an early bird special to all of your potential customers. You can do this through traditional media like postcards and fliers or through online options like social media or e-newsletter.
Network with referral partners
The off-season is a great time to build your referral network. This is the time to go to networking meetings and reach out to businesses that may share a client base with you. Often, referrals go both ways, so be sure your referral partners are people you feel comfortable recommending to your own client base.
Expand your services out-of-area
Some companies can simply go where the season is. This may be online, selling seasonal products on eBay, Amazon, and Etsy – while promoting those products to people currently experiencing that season. For example, summer here in the U.S. is winter in Australia. So, if you have a winter product, promote it to the country who is currently experiencing winter.
You can also physically go to where the seasons is by expanding your company into a franchise or by moving it around the country or the globe. Some wedding photographers follow the wedding season around the world, taking beautiful photos of nuptials wherever there are newlyweds.
Do you need help tapping the full potential of your seasonal business? Contact us today. We are here to help your business grow.