Saturday, 23 September 2017

Information and commentary for the small business banking industry

Helping seasonal businesses through the ups and downs

26 Jan

Seasonal means there’ll be quiet times

There are all kinds of seasonal businesses – beach hotels, fruit stalls, ski and surf shops – but what they have in common is that during the year they’ll go through both busy and quiet times. New businesses, especially, may ask for help and advice surviving the quiet times, as well as how best to manage things during the profitable periods.

Seasonal businesses are determined by a number of triggers, such as summer and winter, Christmas, school holidays and the end of the financial year. There are two main kinds: the business that closes completely during the ‘off season’, and the business that stays open all year but has quiet months.

What they should all be aiming to do is learn how to maximise their profits during the busy times, so that it’ll see them through the lean patches.

Help with the quiet months

One of the best ways for business owners to be productive during the off season is to use that time to plan. This means they’re in the ideal position to hit the ground running when the season kicks off. Some of the things they could do are:

  • Get staff organised – a couple of months out, business owners should be advertising for the staff they’ll need during the season. They need time to advertise, interview and train their new employees.
  • Take stock and get the inventory up to scratch – there’s no point hitting the season without adequate levels of stock. So business owners need to make sure that they’ve got plenty with which to kick off the season, and that they’ve checked with their suppliers and made sure more is available when they need it.
  • A facelift – freshen up the visible parts of the business. Some new signage or a lick of paint inside and out can make a big difference.

Budgets

One of the best ways a bank can help seasonal businesses is to sit down with them and plan their budget. Cash flow forecasts are essential here – and if your bank has tutorials in how to conduct them, so much the better. Once the forecast is completed, a budget can be put in place to distribute the funds during the profitable months so that the business can survive during the lean ones. Sound financial advice and help with budget planning are the most valuable ways that a bank can assist a customer with a seasonal business.

Since seasonal businesses are somewhat of a cash flow roller coaster, helping business owners to manage that cash flow is essential. From sitting down with them and planning, to blogging or producing articles on cash flow management, be the bank that supports seasonal businesses through good times and bad.

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