During spring and summer, the weather is nice enough for people to get out of the house to warm their bones. There is activity everywhere; young people are swimming and sunbathing, older folks sit by the water to fish, kids are running around and yelling, and families have picnics.
It is challenging to run a seasonal business. While your store and staff are busy whenever the sun is out, for a huge portion of the year, things get very quiet.
Boat dealers get business all-year-round, but more so during spring and summer. Many clients invest when they can immediately use their purchases with family and friends.
How do businesses that are only popular for a few months a year survive? If you plan to open a boat dealership or any other seasonal business, here are some tips for you.
Budgeting is an important skill to have, whether at home or while manning a seasonal business. When you know how to budget, you are assured that you are not bleeding cash unnecessarily. You use the money that you have to keep the business afloat.
Being a seasonal business means that your profit is at its highest during warmer or colder months. When it is off-season, sales trickle in or entirely come to a halt. Budgeting ensures that you will have money when the customers stop coming.
Use the Off-Season to Create a Strategy
The off-season is not an excuse to stop working. You can finally relax as the stream of customers starts to wane, but you should use your time wisely.
Take advantage of the quieter months by strategizing. Look at your business’s performance during the last boating season. Did you sell more boats than usual? Reflect what caused the uptick. Maybe the new marketing campaign you ran throughout the past couple of months placed your business in the spotlight and grabbed the public’s attention. Identifying what worked or what did not can help you determine your plan of action next year.
If you are not selling boats, can you find another source of revenue? You do not have to do a 120-degree turn and start selling something that is in no way related to your boating business or does not interest you.
You can, for example, offer advice on a blog published to your website or sent to customers who have purchased a boat from you or planning to via a newsletter. Not only will it be a good source of income, but it would also be an effective way to bring traffic to your website.
Diversifying your services builds your arsenal so that you can better serve your clients while also earning cash on the side.
Some clients wait until the off-season to make a purchase. They expect dealers to offer them a good deal because the business is slow or they are trying to get rid of the current stock.
Give them what they want. Offer a discount; other dealers will do so anyway. You can also develop a monthly payment plan or throw in a freebie to those who would purchase a unit off-season.
These suggestions do not just apply to seasonal businesses. Regular businesses, who experience slow days or weeks every year, can benefit from these ideas, too.