Regardless of whether or not your business is seasonal, there comes a time in the year when sales are lower than normal. For brick-and-mortar retail stores, this period is typically the summer, when a significant number of customers is out vacationing out of town. On the other hand, hotel owners feel the cold more than the rest of us during the winter.

If the health of your business is more or less tied to seasonality, then you probably already spend a portion of the year weighing your options for the off-season. With proper planning, time management, and financial oversight, the low season can be a blessing in disguise.

Here are three effective ways to make good use of your off-season.

  1. Managing cash flow

Because a good chunk of your daily income goes to meet operational costs, the first step to surviving the low season is to adopt effective ways of managing your cash flow.

Reduce expenses as much as possible by minimizing your expenditure on inventory, working reduced hours, or even giving some of your staff a few weeks break. You can also work with your suppliers to extend credit terms or your landlord to adjust payment conditions to match your seasonality.

  1. Diversifying

If you want your business to keep going even during the slow season, start thinking of new but related products, which are more relevant to the season. If you’re running an electronics store, for instance, introduce toys like hoverboards or lightsabers in the summer, which are likely to be more in demand than items like smartphones and computers.

Be careful, however, to maintain your identity and stay in your original niche, so that your loyal customers don’t think you’re changing things up.

  1. Preparing for the next high season

Your customers are probably already setting money aside for next season’s activities, so don’t wait to catch up. Instead, get in front of them now, by researching on innovative marketing tools, noting down ways to improve your product, and carrying out maintenance.

You could also use the time to analyze what the competition is up to, how your market is changing, and how best to adapt. Tend to your staff, and organize training sessions and team building activities to keep them ready to perform at the highest level in the coming peak season. If your budget is a little tight, apply for a flexible business loan and invest the funds into ensuring your business is well prepared for the high season.

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