How to Make Your Seasonal Income Last Through the WinterJuly 10, 2019

Business cooling off and heading into the off-season? Worried if you’ll pull through the long winter? Use these suggestions to stretch your seasonal income.

Tourism is a major economic engine throughout the state, generating over $41 billion in 2016, with growth expected through 2021. This growth isn’t limited to the Jersey Shore, either. Passaic and Mercer Counties are also impacted by tourism.

As a business owner in many of these towns, summertime can mean one thing: cash flow. Cash is flowing throughout the business and then winter comes. The tourists leave and they don’t tend to return for seven long months.

This can leave businesses strapped during the lean months of winter. How can you make your seasonal income last until the tourists return?

Read on to find out.

Set a Budget

Your first step to make your seasonal income last through the off-season and not stress about it is to set a budget.

You’ll need to determine your skeleton budget for the off-season. What will you need to run at a most basic level?

When you look at your budget, you’ll be able to see opportunities to reduce expenses during the off-season. You can order less product that won’t sit in inventory and minimize work hours for your staff.

During the busy months, set aside a percentage of your revenue to help you get through the slow season.

Now that you have a budget for the off-season, you have to stick with it.

Analyze Your Business Processes

Taking an objective look at your business processes can help you manage your seasonal income and make it last.

You can use your time to analyze what your successes were during the busy season and where you can make improvements.

These things can help prepare your business for the summer. For example, your business may be a small family landscaping business that had so much work, you had to turn away jobs.

You can look to hire more people during the summer, so you can maximize your earnings and not have to turn away jobs during the busy season.

Look at sales year over year to make sure that your business is in growth mode. It’s also a good way to make revenue projections for the next busy season.

The Local Discount

There’s nothing like summer in New Jersey. The beaches are packed with tourists, the smell of saltwater fills the air. A walk down the boardwalk can be a great escape for the thousands who rush down to visit the beaches from Sandy Hook to Wildwood, and all points in between.

For businesses that depend on tourists in the summer for survival, winter can be especially harsh. Restaurants and bars depend on their regulars to come in and fill the void.

Offering a “local discount” to residents in the area can help these businesses get enough customers to get through the winter months.

Get Outside Assistance

Managing cash flow is the number one reason why small businesses fail. It’s hard to do when you don’t have the know-how and the customers to support your business year round.

One way to avoid this trap is to get outside assistance. You can’t see your blind spots where someone with an outside perspective can.

Set up a meeting with your CPA, as we offer small business consulting to help you manage your inventory and your cash flow and make recommendations to improve your business.

Be Flexible

One way that businesses can get through the lean months is to be flexible in their business. For example, you might have a restaurant that depends on tourism during the summer months.

When you deliver great food and great service, you create lasting memories for visitors who may want to make those memories last.

You can shift some of your operations online by selling products like special soups and sauces to customers all over the world. This type of strategy can help some businesses increase their earnings during the winter months.

For businesses that depend on seasonal income, you may be able to shift in the off-season to another market, such as corporations.

Prepare for the Busy Season

The slow season is a great time to work on your business instead of working in your business. During the high season, it’s impossible to focus on things like marketing. You’re so busy, you’re just getting by.

Marketing your business during the off-season is a way to remind your customers to come back to your business. Activities like email marketing can help pave the way to make your next busy season better than the last one.

You can use the time to get ready for the busy season. That can mean marketing, ramping up staff, working with vendors on orders, and managing inventory.

Leverage Other Businesses

You can bet that your business isn’t the only business in your area that is seasonal. You can connect with local business organizations and local businesses to establish referral partnerships.

These partnerships can funnel customers to each other, which can increase business earnings during the winter months.

Making Your Seasonal Income Last

New Jersey thrives off of the contributions of small businesses, many of which are seasonal.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a landscaper or contractor or a restaurant down the Shore, you have a busy and slow time of year.

Managing your seasonal income during the lean winter months can be challenging. It can make or break many small businesses. It’s important to be able to set a budget and stick to it during the slow season.  It also helps to work with outside experts who can help you manage your cash flow to last comfortably for the entire year.

If you want to know more about how we help seasonal small businesses survive the harsh winter months, contact us today to see how we can help you.

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