How far ahead are you looking in your business?

29295tvubgtx5x2 Here we are, two days past Halloween. I walked through the store yesterday and saw all of the Halloween decorations, costumes, etc., marked half off or more. Then I saw the aisles and aisles of Christmas and holiday decorations: stockings, ornaments, wrapping paper, and much, much more! Already?!

That got me thinking. Retailers make their buys seasons ahead of time, planning (taking an educated guess) at what their customers will want to buy – and that they’ll have the inventory to support it. Once the day is past, all of that inventory is obsolete. How does that relate to your business? Can you relate to any of the below examples?

  • Content on your website since technology and trends change so fast
  • Processes and info we use every day can change the way we work. Look at the Panda updates and how it’s impacted search engine marketing
  • The need for your products or services

Since so many businesses are impacted by seasonality, especially here in Michigan, it’s important to look at your business one year at a time. Establish an action plan for sales and marketing activities that can help you peak the peak sales times and even out the valleys.

Niche industries may be challenged to do something like this. Think of Christmas tree growers – talk about limited sales opportunity! You can bet they look at how many trees sold the prior year and how many outlets they supplied and work diligently to expand that distribution every year. Other good examples:

  • Builders and construction are impacted for sure. They may focus on remodeling and interior projects during the winter months to offset the seasonality.
  • Movers who are busier during the summer months when more people with kids are moving. The list could go on. They likely market to do business moves and even move furniture and other items.
  • Lawn care companies may get into snow removal to keep their staff working consistently.

Is your business impacted by seasonality? Do you see peaks and valleys in your sales volume over the year? What is your plan for this impact on your cash flow and overall bottom line? What other opportunities, products or services can you think of that will help you grow your bottom line?

Rebecca Dutcher is a business development partner and internet marketing expert for MINDSCAPE at Hanon McKendry