Cyclical Strategies: How a Business Can Thrive Amidst Fluctuating Demand
“Life and a box full of chocolates”- and so is the world of business. There are a plethora of companies with their different products and services:
- You have your tried and true chestnuts that maintain their product sales at a constant rate year after year.
- Then there are the shooting stars, businesses that hit the zeitgeist instantly with novelty products only to hit rock bottom after a short period of time.
- Then of course, you have your seasonal businesses that are geared toward providing the public with specialty products that serve to highlight a current season, such as artificial Christmas trees for Christmas and flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
Seasonal businesses are among the trickiest to maintain as product demand increases for a limited period of time and the challenge is to sell as much of the product as possible in order to keep the company running smoothly. When the season of greatest sale ends, these businesses have to find many ways to keep product production running, as well as maintain personnel and other business-related factors. This can be very expensive and time consuming and often takes more from resources than it gives back. As such there are a few strategies you can follow to weather the off season and keep your seasonal business afloat.
When the Going Gets Tough, Get Tougher
When the off-season hits and product demand comes to a standstill, the appropriate strategy to follow is: keep promoting. Instead of lying low during this critical period, put all of your efforts into advertising and making sure many people know that your business is still available to serve even during periods that don’t require high use of the products you carry. There are customers who want to buy a Christmas tree in the summertime. As a rule try not to take huge risks during off-season but if you are ensured good returns, there is no reason why you shouldn’t go for it with guns blazing.
Keep Good People Around You
If you run a business that requires a lot of personnel make sure to keep the experienced hires, as they know the lay of the land and have already developed rapport with your existing customers; in short, they know what works. Cutting back on employment during off-season can give a small seasonal business enough time to save and recover for the next off-season period.
Discounts and Expansion
Sales are a suitable way to weather the downtime experienced by seasonal businesses everywhere. Offering products for cheap will entice buyers to take advantage of the decreased prices, thereby increasing product sales. Business expansion costs more than initiating a sale, but it returns in big dividends and is also a suitable way of weathering off-seasons. By spreading your business to as many locations as possible you create greater possibilities for a sale. You can also start a second business with regular income to support your seasonal business. During off-season, it’s prudent to cut back on costs and avoid overspending that can deplete company resources. Work on a budget plan that eliminates big spending during off-season moments and stick to it. Any expenses that need to be addressed should be managed during peak-season so that off-season periods will be relatively uneventful. Try to save as much as possible unless you’re ensured of big returns if you risk it all.
Build a Permanent Customer Base
If there is one important rule to business, it’s that the customer knows best. Work hard to meet customer desires by creating surveys and asking for constant feedback. Find out how you can diversify the products you carry in order to meet the growing needs of your customers. By building on customer satisfaction, you gain permanent consumers that bring in big business. Encourage customer loyalty by providing discount cards or big deals for long time customers and repeat shoppers.
The truth is, any business is always a risk and seasonal businesses are even more so, but the rewards gained by starting your very own company are great and can provide you with satisfaction.