6 Tips for Managing a Seasonal Business
Seasonal businesses—think lawn care, landscapers, vacation resorts, summer camps, golf courses—face their own set of unique business challenges. We tapped one of our favorites, David Forster and Monumental Lawn and Outdoor, to his tips for managing a seasonal business.
Budget your time.
In a seasonal business, you have to realize that you are going to have your expected down time. But you also need to realize that your busy season is going to be busier than you expect. Find a way to utilize your down time to set in place all of your planning for the upcoming season and not just take a nice vacation (though that is recommended as well).
Set a marketing schedule, annual budget, hiring process, etc., during the time when you feel like you have all the time in the world. If you don’t, it will get away from you, and you will feel overwhelmed when the clients start banging down the door.
Manage your cash flow.
Set your budget for your fixed expenses, based upon your revenue producing season.
It is not just a monthly plan. You have to plan for the few months of expenses (facilities, utilities, salaried staff, TAXES, etc.) before you get to the time of little to no income.
If you need to get a line of credit from your banker, it is best to do this when your cash flow is good, and you do not really need it. You will be less stressed and less likely to overuse it.
Know your cycles.
Learn where your highest income periods are, just like any other business, and build your marketing and staffing around those times. The more cash you can create in these times, the easier it is to get through the low times.
Staff up when you need it.
Find a good source for your part-time staffing to help in these times, so you are not dealing with lay-offs and extra costs.
Lead and breathe.
Overall, remember that you are the leader of your organization. Seasonal businesses are inherently overwhelming at times. Always keep an eye on your stress level, and be willing to set a schedule that allows for you to destress when needed. If you are overwhelmed, your team will feel it, and the productivity will drop across the board.
Relax and enjoy.
We always set a time in mid-summer, when the heat of summer keeps our schedule a bit lighter, to take a few days away and relax. We find our energy level, as a whole team, benefits from this break, and our production is higher than if we just push through.
Image: Monumental Outdoor Facebook Photo