Managing a Seasonal Business in Colorado
Tips to keep your business afloat, even during downtimes
If you own a seasonal business, you can probably relate to the feeling in winter when you look at your balance sheets and wonder if the cold season will ever end, waiting for you the money-making season to begin again.
These are some of the problems you may be facing if you work in any seasonal business. It becomes even harder when you work for yourself and own a business. The tricky part is keeping things going year-round, or at least as much as possible.
Using the landscaping industry as an example, you can see how seasonal the demand for lawn-care services is, making those winter months seem slower than they already are. Here are some ways to get by while being sure to make the most of your time in the off-season.
UTILIZE THIS TIME FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICES
In outdoor service-related industries, December is likely a time when things start slowing down. Save for a few final cleanups or burlapping of evergreens, for the most part, the phone quiets down. Using this time to think of creative solutions to bring in additional revenue and keep you busy year-round.
In reference to our example, the landscaping industry, holiday decorating is a great way to extend the season while, at the same time, making yourself more valuable to clients and extending your range of services
ATTEND INDUSTRY EVENTS
Instead of going on a two-month hiatus, consider the networking and educational opportunities available in the off-season. There are a surprising number of conferences and tradeshows that take place in the winter months, and you’ll find that since people have more time on their hands, they are more willing to talk in-depth. This down-time is a great opportunity to develop relationships and broaden your networking base. That way, when things get busy in the spring, people will think of you first when they are in need of a qualified professional.
Keep up with your bookkeeping with a helpful and organized resource such as Quickbooks. Know what your taxes and expenses are, and what they will be in the coming year. Take the time to review this in detail and plan budgeting as needed. Keep up with your social media accounts. Reevaluate your marketing strategy. Update your website. Service your vehicles and equipment. And maintain your credentials and certifications. Most businesses don’t have the seasonality that we do, so there is no excuse for not getting these important tasks done while you can.
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH CLIENTS
Don’t forget to keep in touch with your clients. After-all, they are the lifeblood of your company. It can be as simple as an email update that says “Hello” and “hope you are staying warm this winter.” Whatever the case, reminding your customers that you exist, and keeping an open rapport is important. Because the bottom line is that people are busy, and they aren’t going to reach out to you. You have to be the one to take the initiative. And don’t be afraid to politely ask them to review you on Yelp, Google, Facebook, or whatever platform you might be using. Online reviews are important!
Scott McDermott is a landscape designer, ISA certified arborist, and NOFA accredited in organic land care. Owner of McDermott Landscapes, where he designs residential gardens.