As we head into winter, a lot of South African businesses are preparing themselves for the ‘quiet’ period. Whether we like it or not, some enterprises are just more seasonal than others; and when the cold arrives, the business doesn’t. These companies are often faced with the challenge of generating a year’s revenue in mere months.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to keep the cash coming in all year ’round. You may need to think creatively, learn more about the needs of your customers, and test new ideas – some of which may seem a bit zany. But you never know until you try. Even if they don’t work, at least you aren’t sitting there twiddling your thumbs.
- Add complementary products and services
One of the most obvious ways to move into a new season is to add products and services that serve the needs of your customers in other months. You want to look for an offering that isn’t too far removed from your core strength. Even though it’s not ideal, it’s the best way to counteract your dilemma.
- Extend your season
We see it all around us. No sooner are the Christmas decorations down, when the Valentines’ goodies are out; and soon after that Easter eggs make an appearance. Seasons are being extended by marketing products earlier and earlier each year, urging people to avoid the rush. You might not be able to stretch it too far with this method, but that extra month helps.
- Generate off-season excitement
Think of clever ways, over and above extending your traditional season. We recommend that you become more skilled at generating events and building the anticipation for particular products and services during slower months.
- Look for niche markets
Seasonal businesses can often find successful income supplements by serving niche markets. You simply have to find the thing that your customers would be prepared to pay a bit more for, and offer it during off-peak periods.
- Go where the season is
If you have a product that can be exported, follow your busy season to international locations. All you need is a bit of research in how you can break into new markets. Should you succeed, it would help your business become more seasonless.
- Market all year round
Whether your business serves up homemade ice cream or firewood, you want to keep the memory of positive experiences alive customer minds all year long. That’s why your marketing communications can’t take a holiday.
To keep clients engage, you can have an event or start a blog with interesting, relevant articles. Closer to you peak period, send a pre-season reminder to your mailing list, promoting the product or service even before people need it. You could even offer a discount to those who show an early interest.
Step one in this entire process is to stop thinking of yourself as only a seasonal business. Your customers have different needs throughout the year. You just have to find a way to serve them using your existing business.
Also, your marketing communications should keep your seasonal customers engaged no matter what the calendar says. When they are ready to buy, you want them to come back to your business first.