The Holiday Specials – Episode 3 Special Report
It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to holiday! In the third of our series of three videos around holidays and the impact they can have, we’re looking at ways to overcome the seasonality many businesses have to contend with…
Hi, and welcome to the third in this series of BaranovTV episodes around holidays.
Episode one is around preparing the business for you to be absent and for longer lead times and that sort of thing, so we’re actually protecting the business from the holiday period itself.
Episode two is around preparing your team for your absence and making sure that they feel confident in carrying the business whilst you’re not necessarily there and to give you the peace of mind to enjoy your break and to get a proper holiday.
The third episode which is this one is about overcoming the seasonality that many businesses face and that can actually have a major impact on profitability and cash flow in particular when things slow down.
So, episode three, seasonality, how can you overcome that?
Many, many businesses face it. We always used to in our old business with a big team and lots and lots, hundreds of clients. We found that November, December, January were always really full on while February, March and April were far, far quieter. Now, there were always things we could park in the busy period and come back to in the quieter times but it’s really quite difficult to be able to manage that process and to make sure that you’ve got the fees coming through the door for us and the money coming in at the right time to sustain the business throughout and to keep your staff busy.
So, you’ve really got probably two real options in terms of overcoming the seasonality.
You potentially need to have enough team members in place to carry you through the busy periods. That could be that you have everybody on head count, so you then have a team full time. Obviously the risk then is you have to make sure that they’re busy in the quieter periods.
The other option is that you could run the busy periods with seasonal staff, so people like Amazon and all the supermarkets always bring in people in the run up to Christmas because they know they’re going to busy, so they bring them on, they give them basic training, and then they’re seasonal, they go at the end of the busy period. That’s because they don’t have and they cannot find the business to keep them on head count throughout the year, so they look at the seasonal aspect of it.
Option two is finding a way of filling the quiet time, so it it could be looking at parallel markets or vertical markets where you’re actually looking at providing a service to a different marketplace. For example, prime idea is ski resorts. We were lucky enough to be in one of the Alpine ski resorts just a couple of weeks ago and it was like a ghost town. That’s because it was June. Then you have a summer season now, albeit a lot, lot quieter than the winter season which is obviously their primary time to make money. The ski resorts have looked at the summer time and they’ve promoted themselves for mountain biking and walking and that type of thing. So, they’ve actually found themselves a second season, albeit there are a couple of months of gap in between the two.
So, is there a way within your business that you can look at to finding a similar second market to present your business to and to present your products and services to?
It could be that you might need to find new products and services that complement your existing ones that will enable you to stay busy in your quiet times.
The other option obviously is to take the quiet time and use that time productively within your existing business.
So, it could be that you decide to use that time to work on the back office:
- It could be your website
- It could be your marketing
- It could be your finances
- It could be your reporting
- It could be looking at new processes or documenting existing processes and training your team
There are lots of things that get left, that get parked, that don’t necessarily get the attention that they deserve and that would really benefit your business when you’re really busy, so in the quieter times it could be a good opportunity to start to look at those.
It’s also a good opportunity to take advantage of other businesses’ quiet time, again websites and training and that sort of thing. In common with the fact particularly over the summer that you might be quieter or stretched potentially with people off on holiday, so are those businesses.
These businesses find that they haven’t got people taking them up because people are out, they don’t want trainers coming in because they can’t have all of their team available at the time. So, if you can take advantage of that opportunity, you may be able to get a decent amount of training at a lower price. Similarly you may be able to get people, like telesales people, during August, they tend to be quiet. If you can take advantage of their seasonality, you may get a good deal on that service from them.
So, have a think about the projects that you want to look at and see whether you can move those into that quiet time to get a better value for, better bang for your buck I suppose. Think about your timing, think about pulling products forward, think about services and products and other markets that you could think about and utilize during that time.
Seasonality is a really difficult subject to cover off in a short, or relatively short, video. If you’ve got real issues with seasonality that you don’t know how to address, please do get in touch because there are things that you can do. With some quite serious thought, you can actually find that time fills quite nicely and the coffers are topped up quite nicely too.
So, that’s the last of the three episodes. Do take a look at the other two if you haven’t seen them already. I hope they’re useful. I hope that by implementing some of the points in here, it gives you a really nice holiday and some time away from the coalface and just to get the peace of mind that you can chill a bit and that everything at home is working nicely and to come back refreshed and invigorated to hit the ground running again as everyone else comes back from their holiday.
Have a lovely time and we’ll see you all very soon!