Winter resort restaurants may boom during wintertime and retailers may rake in the dough during the holidays, but what about off-season cash flow? Many small businesses that can be classified as seasonal struggle to increase profits when they’re not at their peak. If you own a business in a similar situation, it’s important to plan for harder times when you plan the year’s finances.
Review old records to determine when sales are at their highest and when they’re at their lowest. You must plan for fixed expenses, such as rent and utilities, along with variable expenses, such as inventory and salaries. The past several years of records should give you an idea of variable costs during different seasons. With this information in mind, you can develop a strategy for managing cash flow during peak seasons in order to sustain operations during leaner times. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
Change your invoicing policies: To goose income during slow times, offer discounts if customers agree to pay in advance. This both entices customers with a lower price and secures payment upfront to get money flowing. You can also try advertising on coupon websites such as Groupon or Living Social to bring in extra business.
Create new sources of income: If your landscaping business struggles during winter, you can diversify your services, such as hanging Christmas lights, to generate new sources of income. You may need to learn more skills or bring in new employees who have different skills, but it may be worth the ability to earn more money year-round.
Strike deals with your vendors: It might be tough to pay for inventory and supplies during off-seasons. To compensate, negotiate with your vendors to space out your payments during the year in a way that’s favorable to your business. Some vendors may offer discounts if you buy in bulk or pay in advance. Take a look at your books and see if these tactics can help your business’ finances.
Get financing assistance: In tough times, it may be necessary to take out a short-term loan or open up a business line of credit. Another option is a merchant cash advance, which helps provide cash flow to keep business afloat until peak seasons resume.
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