There are many businesses that lose money during the winter months. Lets face it winter is a dark and dreary time of the year. It’s cold, snowy, and often times hard to get around. If you own a business, unless you own a Ski Resort you probably dread this time of year. If you’re losing money and don’t know what to do here are just a few tips to help you get through the next few months.
- Have a unique promotion just for the winter months: The best thing to do is to give people an incentive to leave their house in the dead of winter just to visit your establishment. If you are able to give away product or services to help generate more business overall you may find that will get you more business overall.
- Winter Hours: Altering your time for the winter months is not only beneficial but highly encouraged for businesses big and small. If you have a lot of overhead then you will want to close early and open later. It may sound crazy but staying open later when your business is struggling can be crippling to your establishment. Don’t pay someone to do nothing while waiting for a customer to come in. Chances are they won’t be able to make up the amount you are paying your employee to sit on their phone bored out of their mind. If you have high utilities then one more sale or two won’t be able compensate your bills. A good rule of thumb is to open an hour later and close an hour earlier depending on your market That way you give your employees time to get there safely and get home before the roads get undrivable.
- Team Up: If you’re struggling chances are businesses around you probably are as well. Helping each other could potentially generate more revenue than you would normally make during peak season. There are many ways to partner with neighboring businesses such as cross promoting, bundling items and services, sharing advertising costs, even sharing one location and splitting the overhead.
- Re Purpose: If your business is not designed to survive and stay open during the winter maybe it’s time to create a new opportunity for your business to flourish during the next few months. If you own an ice cream shop then winter is most likely brutal for you. A good suggestion would be to turn your ice cream shop into a winter bakery. There is no reason to close down an establishment at any time of the year. By creating a new purpose during winter you have an entirely new market that will most likely follow your business when it switches over to its original purpose.
- Temporary layoffs: Although this is the last thing you should do as a business sometimes having temporary layoffs during the winter months could be the difference in your business surviving or freezing over. Always let employees know before they get hired that it is a possible situation that way they aren’t caught off guard. If you do have to let people go make sure you give them plenty of heads up and make sure you call them back as soon as you are able.
- Time Management. Sometimes you have to cut your loses and close the doors for a few months but that doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Take the opportunity as a blessing in disguise and work on a financial and marketing plan for the following year. It’s possible that you are missing out on some great opportunities to gain revenue and customers. Take the next few months to go over your business with a fine tooth comb.
- Deliver: During the winter months most people like to stay safely tucked away at home by the fireplace. Create an opportunity for your customers to order your product online or by phone and deliver it to them. This method may cost you in gas and payroll but if it can be lucrative then there is no reason to not create a delivery service to continually push your business all year long.
There are many ways to keep your business thriving during the winter. The important thing to remember is to stay open to new ideas and don’t panic. Winter is only temporary but it comes every year so make sure you start now so you can be ready for many winters to come.