March 2019

Sliding Into the Slow Season? How to Offset Your Seasonal Ebbs and Flows

3 minute read

Seasonal businesses typically follow a predictable model—a peak of busy-ness followed by a valley, where you can take a much-deserved breather. But after a respite reveling in the slower pace, it's common to get antsy; after all, you have bills to pay all year long.

Here are five ways to keep business humming along through slower periods while planning for the upcoming spikes.

1. Optimize your working capital

When business ramps up, cash flow is imperative, but when the peak season ends, the scramble begins. Offset such ebbs and flows by optimizing working capital and reducing your funding gap with up to 55 interest-free days* of unsecured credit with American Express. Secure early-payment discounts with vendors and then pay them with your American Express business credit card to make your money work for you.

2. Develop alternate lines of business

Most of us are familiar with ice cream shops that offer coffee concoctions in the winter, or snow removal companies that expand to lawn care in the summer. But this type of dual product offering can work for almost any industry.

If your key business is roofing and siding, for example, consider turning your attention indoors during harsh-weather months. Expand your services to include tile and carpet installations, painting and other indoor renovation projects.

3. Devote attention to your brand presence

Marketing often gets put on the back burner when you're burning the candle at both ends, so use the slow season to accelerate your outreach.

Polish your website by adding current testimonials or case studies. Ask your clients for details on your relationship and use the resulting pieces to cross-market by sharing on social media and tagging the company. Trade magazines are also constantly seeking out stories that showcase solutions to common challenges, providing another high-profile opportunity to highlight your cutting-edge services—and boost your peak season profits.

4. Prioritize in-person visits to important clients

Maximize this slower period by planning visits to your customers. Face-to-face meetings are the ideal opportunity to find out more about how you can serve them better, and also allows you to educate them on how they can work better with you. For example, introducing your customers to more efficient payment programs can help ease any cash flow woes.

5. Improve your industry knowledge—and then share it.

These slower times also offer an ideal chance to attend trade shows and conferences, where you can meet potential clients, vendors and learn about new products available in your space. You'll also brush up on industry best practices that can help enhance your business.

When you focus on building relationships and improving processes in anticipation of the next peak period, you're likely to find the “slow season" can be anything but.

* As a charge Card, the balance must always be paid in full each month in which no interest charges will apply. The interest free grace period is 28, 29, 30 or 31 days from the closing date of the current statement to the closing date of the next statement depending on the number of days in the calendar month in which the closing date occurs. The number of interest free days varies based on a variety of factors, including when charges are posted to your account, whether your account is in good standing, and the closing date of your statement

* As a charge Card, the balance must always be paid in full each month in which no interest charges will apply. The interest free grace period is 28, 29, 30 or 31 days from the closing date of the current statement to the closing date of the next statement depending on the number of days in the calendar month in which the closing date occurs. The number of interest free days varies based on a variety of factors, including when charges are posted to your account, whether your account is in good standing, and the closing date of your statement