Summer has finally arrived in Ireland (well almost!) If you are running a seasonal business, you may struggle during the off-season — especially when it comes to cash flow. Sales may diminish and fall away, but operating costs and expenses won’t. The big question is how prepared is your business to get through a probable lull in sales and of course the inevitable cash flow?
Follow these tips to help you get through the quiet period:
- Forecast and budget wisely
Every business irrespective of its size and nature needs to produce a budget particularly if you are planning for future growth. It is the number one means to control cashflow and without positive cashflow a business will not survive the financial stress and strain it will come under. A budget should not be a once a year project, it should be part of the monthly management process out of which key drivers are established and monitored (KPI’s) ideally the number of KPI’s should be kept to a minimum – your accountant can help you decide on what is relevant for your particular business.
- Review your expenditure and costs
What costs can you pull back on during the quieter months of summer, obviously light and heat will cost a lot less but what about your spend on marketing campaigns and advertising – is it necessary to maintain at its current rate. Look back on what worked or did not work in previous years. Do you need part timers or with a change of rosters can the full time personnel cover the quieter period? Should you close your doors for the holiday period? Most of your costs are fixed but if there are areas to make some savings now is the time.
- Work on the non-essential tasks you have been putting off
You are probably quite familiar with Stephen Covey’s concept of ‘First Things First’ in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The concept he outlines is that all of your to-do tasks fall under four quadrants: Urgent or Non-Urgent, Important or Non-Important. If you are like most people all of your tasks end up in Quadrant 1, Urgent and Important. Now is a great time to focus on the Non-Urgent and Important tasks and one of these could include planning your marketing and social media activities for Q3 and Q4. Some other tasks could include: starting or updating your database, improving your filing system, review of your product range and services, improving your business skills, decorating your workplace, analysis of your competitiveness, the list could be endless.
- Have a sale
To generate some quick cash flow why not have a sale and get rid of last season’s stock ahead of your competitors. An example would be a sale of summer stock before the winter arrives. Get in there early.
- Conduct staff training
The summer months are an ideal time to recharge and re-energise your staff. Apart from them taking their well-deserved holidays it is also an excellent time for them to be retrained particularly in the art of customer service and also to work on areas that could increase their productivity and improve the profitability of your business.
- Prepare for Christmas
What may seem a crazy idea as it is only the start of the summer but we are already halfway through the year and no better time than now to focus on your Christmas marketing and sales campaign. Some activities could include planning your online shop for a September relaunch, updating your product collection, improving your keywords for better search results, redesigning your website. The early bird catch’s the worm.
Finally, as the business owner why not accept that business is going to be a little quieter so take a well-deserved vacation and come back all fired up ready to take your business to the next level.
At Celtic Invoice Discounting we know exactly what it is like to run a business in Ireland. As the largest independent financial provider of transactional based invoice discounting we understand the SME mindset and their needs. If your business is having a temporary cashflow situation or a financial problem why not give our team a call on 01 230 0866 for a confidential conversation. We would be only too happy to help you.
We have been doing it for over 20 years – helping Irish clients build bigger and better businesses.
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