Tips to Start a Seasonal Business

Do you ever wonder how these small businesses pop up seemingly overnight ahead of any major U.S. holiday? From costume stores capitalizing on Halloween to snow plows making money removing snow, there are endless types of seasonal businesses. Launching one may seem like a capital intense, complicated endeavor, but launching a seasonal small business is an achievable goal.

Make Sure There Is Demand
When it comes to launching a seasonal business, the first thing you have to do is research the market you are thinking of getting into. You want to make sure there is a need to be filled, and there is enough demand to make money. After all nothing can be more demoralizing than starting a business and having zero customers. It’s important to know if people would buy your product or service at your price point and to be aware of the competition. Let’s say you are thinking of launching a summer swimming school out of your backyard pool. Before you can print the business cards and get the website up, you have to see if there are people that want your service. Talking to people in your community can give you a sense of if there is a market or you’ll be wasting your time and worse money.

Create The Right Business Structure
Once you’ve done your market research and you are convinced there is a market for you service, you are going to have to get all the legal paperwork out of the way. That means registering your business’ name, opening up a business checking account and creating your business structure. Many small business owners become a sole proprietor, but if your business has potential risks associated with it a limited liability company could be the better way to go. You also have to figure out what insurance you will need to protect yourself if you or someone else get’s hurt.

Promote Your Seasonal Business
Getting the word out about your new seasonal business is crucial. Promoting is easier to do these days thanks to the Internet and social media. As soon as you have your company name get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other trending website and tell the world about your business. It’s critical to try to get the word out locally and if you can afford it, create a website. The world is mobile these days, and if you aren’t on the Internet in a mobile friendly way, then you are going to miss out on hundreds of potential customers. That being said, certain seasonal businesses aren’t going to benefit as much from social media or the Internet. In that case, you want to get the word out the old fashion way: handing out flyers, attending events in the community and otherwise spreading the word about your new business through networking. Use multiple platforms to maximize your marketing efforts.

Hire Seasonal Workers
Likely, you are going to have to hire people to help out with your seasonal business; however, because you aren’t looking for full-time workers, finding help may be challenging. Thankfully, the Internet is a great resource for finding potential employees. There are numerous job boards geared toward part-time workers where you can post your job ad. You should also tap your network as well as put a sign in your storefront if you have one. Remember to be upfront about the timing of the job. The goal is to find employees that you can bring back year after year. Your costs will be lower if you don’t have to retrain a staff each season.

Keep Your Inventory Low
One of the quickest ways for a seasonal business owner to get in trouble is by having too much inventory. After all, the more money you spend on supplies and product the more money you can lose if you don’t sell enough. That’s why it’s vital to keep inventory and overhead as low as possible. Seasonal businesses only make money for a fixed period each year, so you want to maximize the amount you earn.

Manage Your Cash Flow Properly
One of the biggest challenges of running a seasonal business is managing your cash flow. Because you make a lot of money over a short period and then nothing for months after you are going to have to make sure you are handling the money correctly. The worst thing you want to do is spend it all right away leaving you with little during off-seasons. Since your cash flow is irregular, you are going to want to plan your expenditures very carefully.