By Shirley Hermiston
It’s common for the demand for business services to fluctuate throughout the year. Most businesses – no matter how small or large – will have their peaks and troughs.
An online trader selling gift items may receive most of their orders in the run-up to Christmas, but can be relatively quiet at other times of the year.
Here at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), we’ve helped thousands of people go self-employed, so naturally we’ve advised lots of people on taking their idea and making it appeal during certain times of the year.
And it’s easy to see why people start seasonal businesses. The opportunities are there, including the chance to make significant financial gains during busy periods, while others will enjoy the thought of potentially working a shorter year. However, these type of businesses must be planned well as managing cash flow is critical.
When devising how a seasonal business will work, think about how you can make the most of a quiet period, for example, e-commerce businesses might undertake research to find new products in off-seasons, ready for their peak season.
Gardeners like Ian Baillie (pictured), who we helped launch Maintenance Magic, often diversify their business to find alternative sources of income during the winter by providing hard landscaping services or indoor work.
You may even choose to operate a seasonal business that you know can flourish, and then find a job to tide you over financially during quieter months – one block paver I know goes abroad to do bar work in the winter!
So there’s certainly scope for a seasonal business to be successful, just remember that planning ahead and doing it well is essential to running it successfully.
Thankfully, there’s support out there. At the BIC we host many events aimed at anyone who is planning on starting a business. These events can provide essential advice on many topics from cash flow and record keeping, to attracting customers and keeping them engaged during quieter periods. We can also help with writing a business plan and registering with HMRC.
If you’re thinking about becoming your own boss, and would like free and confidential advice from our experienced business advisers, then please call us on 0191 516 6111 or visit www.ne-bic.co.uk to arrange a free appointment.