The peak season differs from business to business. For some, it’s months leading up to all the gift-giving holidays at the end of the year. For others, it’s the warm weather resort season which can vary depending on geographic location. No matter what type of business you own or what time of year your busy season is, the key to success is being prepared. There are steps you can take to make the most of your peak season.
Start by Looking Back
When looking ahead to the next busy season, look at how your business performed during previous years. If peak season business has steadily increased year after year, it’s a good indication that you should prepare for a similar increase during the current year. If the performance of previous seasons reads more like a rollercoaster ride, with varying highs and lows, find out why.
Was there a strong downturn in the economy? Did your inventory run low too early in the season? Maybe you didn’t hire enough seasonal staff or allow ample time to train them properly? Weather can even impact performance if your business caters to the clientele of a seasonal resort. While some factors may be out of your control, looking back can provide valuable insights to help you more accurately anticipate future business and better prepare for the upcoming season.
It’s Never Too Soon to Plan
Preparing for the peak season starts well before it arrives. Begin with your inventory. If it is produced in-house, you may be able to wait until the season is closer to scale production based on the amount of business you anticipate. If you need to order your inventory from a manufacturer, you will have to order early to ensure both the availability and on-time delivery of your inventory.
Build a Strong Team
It’s important to get an early start on hiring and training your seasonal staff. Post openings on job websites at least a couple of months before the peak season arrives. This will give you plenty of time to screen applicants and choose the best candidates. If possible, bring at least a few candidates on part-time before the season begins. This will provide time for thorough training and help you build a strong core staff to get the rest of the team up to speed before the season arrives.
Having ample staff that is well-trained will be beneficial in building strong customer relationships and minimizing customer strain. A properly trained staff should work like a well-oiled machine and be able to keep up with increased business while still consistently providing quality customer service. Consumers are more likely to do repeat business with a company that meets their needs on time, every time. They may also become a brand advocate. Word of mouth, personal referrals, and online reviews are a great way to gain new customers.
Have the Proper Equipment
If your equipment has been limping along since last year’s peak season, it‘s probably time for an equipment upgrade. Outfitting your business with up-to-date equipment will not only improve customer service but it will also help you attract more qualified candidates. The prospect of working twice as hard with old, antiquated equipment can result in the perfect candidate turning down the opportunity to work with your company.
Don’t Overlook Your Online Presence
In today’s digital marketplace, keeping your website up-to-date and working properly is important. Some business owners, especially those who aren’t running an eCommerce business will let maintaining their website fall to the bottom of the to-do list when gearing up for their busy season.
Even if your company isn’t an eCommerce business, it’s crucial that all the information on your site, from business hours and contact information to the products and services you provide, needs to be current. Your customers, especially those who are traveling from out of town, need to be well acquainted with your business before the season arrives. Remember, whether it’s the Christmas holiday or a summer vacation, your customers are planning ahead too!
Kick Off Your Peak Season with a Little Extra Capital
Preparing for your peak season can put a drain on working capital. There are ways to keep your business on track year round which can make preparation much easier. However, if you find you cash flow dwindling due to peak season prep, Capflow Funding Group may be able to help. We work with a variety of different industries and specialize in invoice factoring and merchant cash advances. Contact us today and prepare for the best peak season yet!