The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Prioritize Verticals
I lived and breathed seasonality as the CSO of Active. Sales have a great influence on a product road map, and the biggest opportunity for this is when you have a hot and cold cycle. You must diversify your portfolio into prioritized verticals as determined by complimentary seasonality. That way, the sales team has a consistent rhythm with clear responsibilities while generating monthly sales.
- Matt Ehrlichman, Porch
2. Promote During the Slow Season
Often businesses only think about promotions as a volume versus pricing discount analysis. However, your best seasons can benefit from moving some of that work to a slower period. By running a promotion at that time, you might be increasing your bandwidth in the busy periods, and you are better able to handle demand because you were able to complete some of the underlying work earlier.
- Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors
3. Try Customer.io
One of my favorite new customer engagement tools is Customer.io. This company makes it easy to set and manage filters that send emails to your customers when certain events happen (or don’t happen). The team is brilliant, and it’s surprisingly easy to set up!
- Ryan Buckley, Scripted, Inc.
4. Offer Annual Programs
Most service providers can offer an annual program that serves clients’ year-round needs. It can be to your advantage to have guaranteed monthly income and help your clients by evening out the expense of getting all the support they need. If your clients tend to only call when they have an emergency, then your annual program can focus on prevention, not crises management.
- Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems
5. Expand and Diversify
It is in nature as it is in business: adapt or die. If you are complacent in simply maintaining a steady revenue, then a drop is inevitable. But if you are constantly expanding into new markets and diversifying your products and services, then a dip will still represent an overall gain.
- Manpreet Singh, Seva Call
6. Reach Out to Clients
Contact your current client list throughout the slow seasons to see if they need services your company offers that may not necessarily be needed during peak months. For example, if you run a flower business, you could recommend flowers for off-holidays (such as anniversaries or birthdays) to improve sales.
- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
7. Build a Subscription Product
Design a subscription product that offers fans a serious discount or other perks for sticking with you over time. They will be happy because they get the product or service they love at a discount, and you will be happy because you will keep your cash flow steady.
- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
8. Look for New Opportunities
Slow sales seasons should be seen as a chance to explore new opportunities. Your answer may be to position your products in a different way to attract a new market, seeking different kinds of customers, exploring up-selling and cross-selling techniques or subscription services that will create sources of sustainable revenue.
-Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize
9. Don’t Limit Yourself to Seasons
I personally don’t think selling only seasonal items is a very good business. So, my recommendation is to add other products and services to your business that aren’t affected as much by seasonality.
- Matt Clark, M. Clark, Inc.
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