It’s a rare business that runs full throttle throughout the year. For most enterprises, there are peak times and down times, “slow” seasons and busy seasons. And for many businesses in Florida, the slow season—summertime—is already here.
That being the case, it’s a well-managed business that prepares for down times, because bills still have to be paid and payroll still has to be met. Here are some things you can do to weather slow seasons and ensure continued business success:
• Know your cash flow. What was last year’s income stream like—and the year before? Having a good handle on that can help you manage current–year revenue and expenses. Build a cash reserve during busier business times so the money is available when you need it during slower times.
• Diversify your service and/or product portfolio. To balance the ebbs and flows of revenue throughout the year, consider expanding your product and service offerings so customers—existing and new ones–will seek you out even during your traditional slow seasons.
• Get ready to deal. Knowing that down times are ahead, prepare special deals and off–season discounts to keep people calling and coming through your door. The special you offer to a new customer might just create a customer for life.
• Keep the marketing going. You might have to trim back some of your advertising during slow times, but don’t eliminate it. You’ll want people to know that you’re still there for them—for now and for later on. Marketing through a website and social media accounts is a great way to stay in touch with your customers.
• Prepare your employees. If you require seasonal workers (full time or part time) or temporary labor during peak business times, let them know before the slower times come that staffing cutbacks are likely. This is the right thing to do, knowing that workers have to make ends meet too.
column by BAXTER TROUTMAN
BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Arcadia. A citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.