Every small business owner likely hopes for plenty of “smooth sailing” for his/her business. But the reality is that virtually all businesses experience problems and unexpected challenges from time to time. Compounding these is the reality that most businesses will experience some type of seasonality that may put pressure on staffing, inventory, and finances. For all businesses that have seasonal swings, the key is to prepare your business to help you achieve your desired results. This included preparing your business for busy seasons.
What Are Busy Seasons
Busy seasons are the periods each year when there are high points of customer activity and sales. Busy periods can be holiday focused including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Years, Easter, and Valentines. Busy seasons will include the end of the year and tax season for financial and accounting companies. Busy seasons will be influenced by the weather for clothing retailers and outdoor entertainment companies. Holiday periods strongly impact hotels, travel, beauty salons, and spas. And weather strongly influences restaurants, for example. For all businesses to be successful and to overcome the extra demands of busy seasons, wise business leaders will take the advice to prepare your business in advance.
The Advantages of Seasonality
Seasonality, by itself, is not only a challenge but also provides some benefits. It helps business leaders know when to ramp up marketing spending. It may help overcome preparation procrastination. And known seasonality gives advance preparation time; time to strategize and prepare. Taking steps to prepare your business for seasonal swings helps you to increase sales and conversions, maximize the business’s earnings potential, and improve the customer experience.
How to Prepare Your Business for Busy Seasons
Use these tips to prepare your business for busy seasons:
- Plan far enough ahead so you can react properly. That is the first and most critical step. Planning should include a review of what happened to your business in the last comparable busy season to enable you to prepare more effectively for the upcoming busy season. Prepare operating and financial projections to guide your actions.
- Assess and strengthen your marketing strategy. Put solid thought into appropriate seasonal marketing tactics and messaging.
- Optimize your website and social media channels to achieve increased accessibility, customer visibility, and visits.
- Understand current supply chain conditions and strengthen your business logistics.
- Stock up inventory to meet increased demand, but don’t over-order. Increased ordering may require you to improve your storage capacity. Monitor inventory turnover consistently.
- Staff up strategically, hiring the right number of employees with the right skills, and securing employees with the right attitude to help you succeed. Start training early so that staff members will transition smoothly into increased demand periods.
- Work on strengthening customer-facing processes and improving all communications processes. Make sure that customer service has a very high priority. Getting customers served right and promptly will go a long way to achieving future customer satisfaction and retention.
- Invest in appropriate equipment and technology. Automate processes where possible to improve operating efficiency.
- Allocate your business resources wisely. Budget so that you don’t overspend or underspend.
- Get the accounting and finance help you need to stay on top of critical accounting and financial processes.
Avoid Mistakes as You Prepare Your Business for Busy Seasons
It is sometimes easy to assume that “you’ve got this” as a busy season approaches, but the fact is that starting too late can be a season killer. Avoid the mistake of understaffing or having staff with inadequate skills or training to properly handle the increased business. Don’t go into a busy season with inadequate inventory levels. Don’t assume that you don’t need to market strongly during a busy season (and don’t cut marketing expenditures.) And don’t forget to focus strongly on a great customer experience. Lastly, don’t fail to prepare to adjust after the busy season.
Get Expert Accounting and Financial Assistance
Contact Doerhoff & Associates, CPA, based in Jefferson City, MO for professional accounting and financial assistance that you can count on. Doerhoff & Associates has one goal in mind, to provide comprehensive business accounting services designed specifically for your success.