My Seasonal Business Doesn’t Make Money Year Round! What do I do?

As we’re going into the month of November and we are moving deeper into the Fall, seasonal business owners and entrepreneurs start to get concerned. A lot of times when a seasonal entrepreneur is working on his business plan or getting prepared for business, they have not thought all the way through about the off-season. For example, the landscaper knows that if he gets his lawnmower out, he can make some quick money and be able to feed his family. He’s not thinking about what’s going to happen in the Wintertime. Or just because a person has a seasonal business located on the coast and they found a way to make money during the summer, they may not be thinking about what they are going to do once summer comes to an end.

What about the business owner who lives in a cold area? He or she may have a truck or a snowmobile, and they are clearing snow and winterizing homes, but what is their plan when it’s warm outside? Once the weather starts to change, seasonal businesses are just that, seasonal. A lot of times the people who start seasonal businesses don’t have seasonal financial issues, they have annual issues. They need annual revenue in order to be able to take care of their life and business responsibilities. So how do we help them once they decide to start that seasonal business? The seasonal business is where their passion lies. That’s probably what they’re great at. They just need to know how to go forward all 12 months, as opposed to only six months of making revenue.

The first piece of advice I have to give you is to start with the end in mind. When you start your business at the beginning of the year, you have to think about all 12 months, not just the first six. And when you think that way, you’ll start to see how this works. When I think more about this subject, educators and teachers come to mind. When teachers start out, they work every day. One perk of their career is that they have the weekends and summers off. That is until the summertime comes and they’re not getting paid. That might not be the case now. In this day and age, I believe teachers have figured out a way to structure their paychecks so they can get paid all year. Discussing teachers gives us a real-world example, but in this article, we’re talking about entrepreneurs. How does an entrepreneur structure their check, so that it lasts for the whole year, as opposed to the seasonal time?

My second piece of advice is to focus on your customer. When you’re focused on the money and you’re only looking at your business as a side hustle and you treat it like a side hustle, you have to know that side hustles are not forever, which means that your business is not going to be forever. Your revenue is not going to be forever. But when you treat it like a business, you will go and get the clients you need that are going to pay you enough money to carry you for 12 months, as opposed to six. For example, if you’re making $150,000 in six months, you’re doing much better than a lot of people. Most don’t make $150,000 in two years. Having this amount of money means you should be able to carry yourself through those rough times. So, definitely look at the right clients, to make sure you’re getting the right revenue that will sustain you.

Thirdly, look at what additional services you can offer. If you start off as a seasonal business doing landscaping in the summertime, how about you eventually work your way into dealing with the snow. For all intents and purposes, you’re still working on their yard and around their house. Also, you should be still picking up leaves in the fall. You should still be trying to do something to help winterize their house, in the same way, that you maintain their house during the summer.

The goal is to start adding to your services every year. You might not be able to do it the first year, but every year you should be adding to your services. So even though it’s a seasonal business, you will have multiple components for different seasons. This allows you to continue to do business on a regular basis and it makes your business more relevant for the entire year, not just for one season.

Lastly, I would tell someone who has a seasonal business to think about traveling. Again, this probably can’t happen when you start your business, but it definitely can happen. If you’re a landscaper who owns and operates a business in South Carolina and it gets a little cold, you can take a few hours, drive down to Florida where it’s always warm, or Arizona, or California and continue to expand your business.

What you will learn is that certain places are always growing and booming and that certain seasons never end. And more importantly, you might want to move to a place where the way you live now is all year around. These are some of the most important tips I have to share with seasonal businesses. Don’t just be willing to take whatever the world gives you. We are creators as entrepreneurs. We have to be innovative in how we decide to feed our families and how we decide to create opportunities for ourselves.

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J Haleem Washington

Jamar “J Haleem” Washington is an author, business coach, corporate trainer & education success, advocate.