Business accelerators: Boosting offseason sales

March 28, 2017

When it comes to most businesses, there’s usually a busy time of year and then a time when things slow down.

For some, the busy season comes during the holidays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For others catering to warm weather products and activities, it’s the summer months for which businesses find themselves ramping up.

Regardless of whether your business is an ice cream shop, a ski chalet, or a seaside resort, the simple fact of the matter is that seasonality can be a real struggle to manage for many small businesses.

There are a number of strategies any crafty small business can employ to help mitigate seasonality and make the most of what has traditionally been a slow time of year. Below, we outline a few:

Diversify your product mix

The most important thing you can do if your main business doesn’t sell year round is find something that does. We can’t stress this idea enough: it’s important to diversify your product mix to ensure that your business can make it through the lean times.

For something like a swimwear shop, expanding your offerings to include light outerwear and workout gear can keep people coming through the door when the weather starts to chill. For a summer seaside resort, promoting “stormwatcher” packages during the winter months can help ensure you’re able to stay open year round.

Utilize your assets in creative ways

When thinking about how to maximize revenue during your off-season, it’s important to take stock of your assets—all of them. Your location, your shelf space, the square footage inside your storefront, your equipment-—just about everything aside from your inventory and utility bill can be repurposed in creative ways, if you can find the right partner businesses and the right angles. You just have to know where to look.

Find an un- or under-utilized lane and pounce

Just like when you opened your business the first time, one of the keys to being successful in your business’ traditional off season is finding a lane that no-one else is in and being first to market.

Perhaps you’re a books and gift shop that thrives during a more touristy winter snow season. Maybe diversifying into specialty comics and graphic novels would be a way to bring a whole new demographic through your doors.

Or maybe you’re a restaurant by a body of water that draws customers heavily during the summer months. Think about starting a food truck to bring your product to locals where they already are, year-round. Taking your gourmet savories to farmer’s markets, fairs, and construction sites could be the key to doing a brisk business during times when you’re traditionally slow. The key is knowing your market and seeing opportunity where others don’t.

[image: Shell Game by Thomas on flickr]

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