Depending on the industry you operate in, your business may see spikes in profitability at certain times throughout the year. If this is the case, you likely also experience slow months in between, which can lead to cash flow concerns for your operation.
Rather than accepting these periods of slowness as is, consider the following four strategies to boost cash flow, and set your business up for success all year round.
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1. Offer Promotions
One of the most obvious ways to prep for the slower months is to think about promotions. Do you have any leftover inventory from winter that you can offer at a discount for an off-season summer special? Are you willing and able to host a giveaway? Is there a summer sales event that you could host such as a one-day sale or a deal of the day? Can you bundle a freebie with purchases over a certain amount?
Think long and hard about what you can offer to get more people through the doors. What is relevant to people this time of year? Give it some thought, and consider testing different types of promotions to see what is most effective.
2. Focus on Low-Budget, High Impact Marketing and Advertising
During the slow season, you may have to decrease your marketing spend — but that doesn’t mean you have to give it up all together. There are numerous ways to get the word out about your business on a shoestring budget.
Social media, blogging, email marketing and in-person events are all viable ways to promote your business without breaking the bank. You can invest in these mediums and offer value with little harm done to your bottom line. (There is a lot of quality, free advice online about how to promote your blog or website like this guide.) Consider teaming up with other local businesses on these initiatives by co-hosting a joint event, or an Instagram giveaway. This can introduce new patrons to your business, and potentially result in a boost in sales.
Another low-budget, high-impact marketing idea you should consider implementing is a loyalty or referral program. Maybe you own an ice cream shop, and can offer a punch card to encourage folks to keep coming back. This can be one of the most effective ways to bring in more traffic and retain your existing customers.
3. Use the Seasonal Lull as a Time to Make Big Improvements
If things are slow, take advantage of the slow down to make the big improvements to your business that you’ve been putting off. Sometimes the slow season provides a great opportunity to start that remodel or expand into other products or services.
In the end, you may feel hopeless about profits right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think about the future. Run some surveys before the downtime starts to find out what your customers want. Then, use the slow season as a time to make things happen!
4. Consider Small Business Financing as a Strategy
A small business loan might be the best solution to help keep you afloat while you wait for things to pick back up. Look into your business financing options, and consider what makes the most sense for your operation. Maybe you are simply in need of a flexible form of funding to hold you over for a few months, or maybe you’re in search of a larger amount of capital so you can invest in a growth opportunity. Depending on what you’re in the market for, you may investigate one of the following forms of financing:
- Business line of credit
- Merchant cash advance
- SBA loans
- Invoice factoring
- Term loans
The list above isn’t exhaustive, but it should get your wheels turning and help you think about what’s on the table. How could you put a loan to use? Do you have the wherewithal to use external financing to help you cruise through the seasonal lull without missing a beat? Will the upcoming busy season bring in enough revenue to help you pay back the loan?
A Final Word
The options above should help you stay afloat when you just aren’t seeing the same profits you do at other times throughout the year. Choose one or a combination of strategies to make sure you’re prepared to take on the seasonal slump.
Pro tip: What you don’t know can kill your business
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