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Seasonal influences on trade

Harvest

Seasonal trade

Insurance is all about being prepared for the unlikely but still possible dangers affecting you in some way. Having a contingency plan for the worst case scenario is the best way you can prepare for unplanned set backs, but for other areas of your business, you can be forewarned about the sort of conditions facing you.

The business world can be chaotic and as small business owners you will know that you have to keep on your toes. Sometimes the particular ebbs and flows of the year are however predictable and can be prepared for. With the peak of summer, we’ve been thinking about some of the seasonal influences that might affect your business operations, no matter what you do.

Summer

A lot of people just up and leave their posts at this time of year on extended holidays so relying on other people in other businesses for things to happen can be dangerous. As a small business owner, you are particularly at risk if you have dealings with larger companies that allow some of their more senior staff to take long holidays in one hit as it only takes one of these organisations to prepare poorly for their absence for you to end up suffering as a result, whether it’s through slipped deadlines or late payments.

This is particularly frustrating when for many, summer is their busy time of year, but exactly when your busy season is will vary from industry to industry.

Autumn

For many, Autumn is actually the beginning of the business year. A lot of people are locked onto the academic calendar which begins in September due to having children of their own or a significant number of co-workers that take holidays over the summer months to be with their children.

Generally, regardless of your chronological outlook, Autumn is where things start to settle back down into a more predictable rhythm in the business world. There’s a limit to just how much you can completely rely on during the summer for various reasons, but this issue disappears at this time of year.

Watch out for a possible downturn of trade and a potential long stretch to Christmas if you’re in the service industry and start making preparations for the colder months to come, because the business landscape will be fully transformed by the time you get to winter.

Winter

Once the temperature starts to drop, people start doing different things. How the winter months affect your business will definitely vary between industries with some getting a rush of business whilst others get left in the doldrums.

If you repair boilers for example, you will have an influx of people turning their heating back on only to be met with failures that urgently need fixing. Plumbers might start to get call outs to more people who have frozen pipe issues and tradesmen in general might be finding additional work as people spend more time indoors, generally discovering issues with their homes that they might have missed during the summer.

For some industries, the winter can be a difficult time to struggle through. Pubs, restaurants and shops in summer hotspots for example will see a dramatic reduction in the number of people simply walking through their doors.

Smart business owners faced by this use the down time to consolidate and plan for the next busy period, or experiment with promotions and events to encourage people to their business out of season. For the most part, you don’t lose anything by trying and if you hit on something successful, you’ve found an excellent coping strategy for the lean months and take a little of the pressure off yourself in the subsequent summer.

There is of course the spectre of Christmas looming over you, which for most industries means a boost to cash flow and trade but of course might affect your trade in very different ways.

Spring

For the hospitality trade, spring can be the target that they aim to hold out for during the traditionally more quiet winter months and is when the tourism trade in this country generally starts to come back online. This might equally result in more through trade and general consumer traffic for high street based businesses as well.

Spring is also apparently the beginning of the DIY season, which can be a boon if you at all depend on DIY for trade or if you are a tradesman who might be called in to fix people’s mistakes when they have DIY’ed themselves into a bit of a mess.

Special events

As well as briefly mentioning Christmas, there are of course one off events during the year that could be core to your business. If you manufacture or sell fireworks, then you will probably have November 5th and New Year’s Eve marked in your calendar as times that you’ll be at full capacity. Which specific times of year you might need to focus on will be entirely dependent on your business and you should already have a good idea of when these are and whether you need to focus your entire business calendar around them.

But none of this applies to me!

We’ve taken a very broad look at what happens in different seasons mainly to prove a point that you have some ability to predict what is likely to happen at each stage of the year. Your business will probably be entirely different and some industries work on a very unusual calendar that peaks at otherwise quiet times of year.

Spend a few minutes to plot out your key times of year and you might find it helps you in planning events and promotions or simply just preparing for seasonal spikes. Even in the quiet times of year, there’s normally something you can be doing to boost your business!

If you run a business that has unusual seasonal peaks and busy times of year, we’d love to hear from you. Why not drop us a comment and share when your busiest times of year are?

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