seasonal business bike shop

Transform Your Seasonal Business Into a Year-Round Money-Maker

5 min read • Dec 15, 2021 • Lendio

Some businesses naturally have peaks and valleys in their revenue that are tied to the calendar year. A local ski-and-snowboard clothing store in Aspen will fare well in the winter, for example, while upstate New York summer camps bustle in the warmer months. But these valleys can make it harder for seasonal businesses to keep consistent cash flow or even secure needed funding—which, in turn, can limit those same businesses’ growth down the line.

Thinking about starting a seasonal business? Or are you an existing small business owner looking to diversify your offerings year-round? No matter the situation or season, your idea or business doesn’t need to be hampered by its intrinsic seasonality. Here are some strategies for making money all 12 months of the year.

Determining how to pivot from a 2-3 season business into a year-round venture often means taking a look at your assets, skills and available technology and applying creativity and market savvy. What other industries use similar skillsets? Could your business evolve or expand?

Challenges of Running a Seasonal Business

Your business’s seasonality can be one of its strongest assets. It gives you built-in customers who seek out your products or services because they rely on you to celebrate or participate in a time of year—like holiday-gift toys, a swimsuit on summer vacation, or spring-flower landscaping. However, this same strength can become a weakness—and a financial problem—when your peak season ends and your customers turn elsewhere.

Demonstrating consistent earnings year-round matters not only to your bottom line, but to your attractiveness to outside funders as well. A business stuck in seasonal earning cycles may miss out on the ability to secure lenders and other financiers when it’s time to grow.

Don’t despair, though—there are numerous great strategies for growing your year-round offerings while retaining your business’s seasonal signature.

Strategies for Securing Year-Round Revenue

Think Outside the Calendar-Box

Remember the winter-peaking Aspen clothing store and the summer-booming Hudson Valley sleepaway camp? Both examples can teach us something about ways to find new customers in their naturally occurring off-seasons. 

For retail stores with peak seasons that dovetail with the holidays, reaching customers in less spending-heavy months can be a challenge—and this only magnifies further for small retail businesses located in seasonal or touristy areas, like our ski-store example. 

Expanding the store’s customer base online through a well-designed e-commerce website, however, helps solve that problem by reaching folks interested in ski gear year-round and worldwide—not only those locals and tourists already showing up to the nearby resort. 

Summer camps like our imaginary New York one often sit empty during the school year, but a pivot to year-round conference hosting or wedding-venue offerings could keep the grounds full no matter the season. This connects them with a whole new—and seasonally independent—customer base.

Want some more examples? Imagine a pool-cleaning service shifting to indoor condo, hotel, and apartment-complex pools in the winter, or a Thanksgiving-bustling bakery hosting a “Christmas in July” pop-up. A photography business that’s busiest during the summer wedding season could offer back-to-school portraits or one-hour holiday card sessions.

No matter the industry, determining how to pivot from a 2-3 season business into a year-round venture often means taking a look at your assets, skills and available technology and applying creativity and market savvy: what other industries need your team’s skillsets? Could your business evolve or expand?

And Speaking of Technology…

E-commerce is just one of the many ways that seasonal businesses can transcend their off-season valleys while helping their peaks to boom even more. A well-designed, accessible website connects your business to customers whose seasons—and interests—may differ from your existing ones. 

Additionally, harnessing the power of social media can help to grow your revenue and customer base in the off-season. Tease that “Christmas in July” pop-up on TikTok, or create some beautiful Instagram reels of the first wedding hosted at your summer campground. And you can combine the reach of e-commerce with the marketing power of social by using social media shopping features to your advantage.

Apply for Seasonal Funding

The valley season for a small business is great for long-term planning and employee recovery, but it also presents undeniable revenue obstacles. Once you’ve shown that you’re approaching the off-season creatively—and have come up with some viable solutions—seasonal funding from lenders and financiers can also help to bridge the gap between peaks. After all, a seasonal business will be in a much better position to raise funds to grow if it’s making money all year.

You can utilize seasonal funding to cover all sorts of aspects of your small business, including purchasing equipment, creating marketing campaigns to reach those off-season customers, stocking up on inventory to prepare for the next big season, hiring extra help when business is booming, and covering any emergency cash-flow gaps, among numerous other options.

With a range of financing options from short term loans to accounts receivable to equipment financing and beyond, a financing marketplace like Lendio can help you determine which financing is available to your business, whether you’re looking to expand into your off season or ensure consistent cash flow through you traditional off seasons. Begin your 15-minute application today to determine the types of funding available to your business. 

 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute business, legal, tax, or accounting advice and is provided for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact their attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor to obtain advice on any particular matter.

SHARE

Lendio

Lendio's team of experts is here to help you with every nook and cranny of your business. We'll make sure you have the best advice for financing, operations, management, hiring, and much more.