Seasonal Businesses

Seasonal businesses are starting to become a popular option for more people who are looking to make money quickly and get off the ground immediately. After all, there are lots of services and products that people crave for only a short time of the year which can leave a worthwhile opening which someone can exploit and benefit from very quickly. Generally, it’s very simple to start out given some planning and thought and it can help the set-up turn into a lucrative opportunity. So what are the best ways to start out?

Start Out With Something Simple

The good thing about seasonal businesses is that it can be based around the simplest of concepts. For instance, lawn mowing businesses are a great way to make money from a simple summer task. Many people who struggle physically – such as the disabled and elderly – rely on these types of businesses throughout the spring and summer to keep their gardens tidy. This means that there is a significant opening for a business to benefit others in the community and make a living from it. On top of that, the only thing someone needs is a lawnmower to get started so it’s a cheap way to start a business and also earn decent money over the summer months.

Food is another way businesses can take advantages of the different seasons with many fruits and vegetables being primed specially for certain times of the year. It only costs a few bucks for several seeds packets and with a bit of care and attention – it can lead to great success particularly with pumpkins. Pumpkins are the most sought after vegetables in fall as families buy them up for Halloween. The vegetables are easy to grow and maintain throughout the year especially if they grow well. The ones that grow well can sell for a lot of money which offers great returns for that year and help someone carry on the business and start preparing for next year’s batch.

Look for Something That Is Fun and Interesting

Seasonal businesses are a great way to create a business where the atmosphere is a bit lighter and allow someone to enjoy their work and really get into it. After all, there are some holidays that are designed to be fun and let someone live for their business. One of the best examples for this is Halloween where the spooky themes of the day allow for more elaborate businesses such as haunted houses or costume shops to make a living. Haunted houses are always going to be a big hit especially with children who like to test their fears whilst trying to look scary themselves to spook their friends. This means Halloween need to be original with their business by getting into the holiday spirit and finding costumes and features that the public might find scary. If a business enjoys the holiday, it will help them achieve more success and boost their reputation in their city. After all, reputation is key in during Halloween as a poor one may force the business to shut down whilst a strong one will make it one of the hottest attractions in town for the night.

However, a fun business doesn’t have to be based just on one night. It can be set up for an entire season so someone can enjoy their work and capitalize on it for months on end. A good example of this is anyone who runs a shaved ice business during the summer. The ice blends are often a big hit on any warm day during the summer and the owner can look to create their own flavors and drive round different local areas to see who enjoy what. Whilst the business will obviously incur costs for ingredients and utilities such as fuel, this can be clawed back through sales of cool ice drinks which people can enjoy especially if some flavors prove to be a big hit.

Think About the Big Holidays

As seasonal business tend to thrive during specific holidays, it’s always best to try and get the most out of the major holidays with Christmas always being the biggest draw. Unsurprisingly, it means there are dozens of opportunities for someone to create their own business especially if they have a lot of land. If someone is lucky enough to come across such a site, they could be set to benefit hugely from two of the biggest Christmas traditions – turkeys and Christmas trees. Both of these items are iconic items that everyone wants to have during that time of the year and are often in high-demand. Setting up the business may not be especially cheap as both turkeys and trees will need constant maintenance and room to reach their prime – however, with the demand being so high – the costs can be overcome by high sales throughout December.

Of course, it’s not just Christmas time that generates a lot of attention across the country with holidays such as Independence Day, always being a date that is circled on almost every calendar with everyone having a day off to relax and enjoy the day before the evening’s firework display. In fact, the time around July 4 is a worthwhile opportunity to sell fireworks and firecrackers to help enjoy the big day. Fireworks are often a popular purchase with holiday revelers so not only will stock sell well, but it’ll bring in high sales figures in the lead up to the holidays. However, before anyone starts to sell the fireworks, they will need to know the laws surrounding the sale of firecrackers and follow them strictly in order to stand any chance of benefiting from the holiday rush.

Try to Extend the Business to Other Parts of the Year

Seasonal businesses are great to have during a particular time of the year but after the event has passed, it can be very quiet for the rest of the year. That’s why it can be important to look to see how the business can be extended across the rest of the year. Take spring break businesses for example. Many of the vacation operators spend months organizing and planning just to make the most out of teens partying during Spring Break. However, it can be possible for the operators to take their knowledge and offer resort holidays during the summer and winter. It will allow someone to still generate some revenue throughout the entire year and put that back into planning for next year’s event.

The same can be said for anyone who uses their skills to benefit from certain times of the years. After all, there are some people such as decorators who specialize in creating scenes during the holiday period where everyone looks for wintry scenes and paintings based around Santa’s workshop. Luckily, it’s possible to transfer these skills to other times of year such as Thanksgiving or Easter when some companies look for someone to design themed sets referring to that particular holiday. It will help someone maintain their income throughout the whole year and help increase their reputation within the local community which will help any seasonal business thrive when the busy season comes calling.

What Does This All Mean?

At the end of the day, starting and running a seasonal business is something that can have huge benefits both short and long term. After all, many companies are based around the simplest of ideas which connect with the community and let everyone involved enjoy their work no matter what they do. Whilst some ideas may just be for a certain time of the year, they all have transferrable skills that can be applied all year around to help someone grow as a business owner in any industry. But no matter whether a company is big or small, seasonal businesses will always bring out the best of a certain time of the year and let someone to make some money throughout the year.

How to Acquire Better Business Bureau Accreditation

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has acted as an advocate of marketplace trust and good business practices for over 100 years, acting to provide consumers with information on the integrity of businesses around the world. Businesses looking to improve their image with the public and acquire new customers through the BBB’s Accredited Business Directories can pursue accreditation and earn the right to utilize the internationally recognized BBB logos in their advertising. Acquiring accreditation requires the meeting of certain criteria and application to a local BBB.

1: Visit the Better Business Bureau website or contact your local organization to make sure your business meets the BBB Code of Business Practices/Accreditation Standards. Businesses are required to:

• Establish and maintain market trust. Businesses seeking accreditation must operate in a service area for over a year, meet all licensing and bonding requirements in their local jurisdiction, maintain a satisfactory BBB rating, and avoid government actions demonstrating a failure to comply with BBB ethical standards.

• Maintain honesty and ethics in advertising practices. Businesses must comply with all governmental advertising laws and with the BBB Code of Advertising.

• Honestly represent products and services. Businesses should make known all important facts to customers without misrepresentation, obfuscation, or omission.

• Maintain transparency. Businesses should not seek to hide the nature, ownership, location of a business or policies, procedures, or guarantees that may influence a consumer’s decision to purchase goods or services.

• Honor promises. Businesses should abide by all written and verbal agreements and correct mistakes as quickly as possible.

• Respond promptly to disputes. Businesses must make good faith efforts to respond to disputes raised with the BBB, including acceptance when necessary of BBB mediation.

• Safeguard customer privacy. Online businesses must disclose security and privacy information on their websites and businesses which collect sensitive data must comply with industry standards of protection and disposal of such information.

• Embody integrity. Businesses must avoid any unethical activity which reflects negatively upon the Better Business Bureau and its accredited businesses.

2: Once you’ve made sure your business complies with the Code of Business Practices, look up the incorporated Better Business Bureau office for your region and make an inquiry. You can also visit your region’s BBB website and submit a contact form to receive information from a consultant.

3: Submit a full application. Bureau staff will review and verify the application and research your business. You may be asked to provide additional information or to provide proof of information on your application. Your business will then be evaluated on its compliance with the BBB Code of Business Practices.

4: If the BBB approves your application, you must then pay the Accreditation Fee to receive all the benefits of BBB Accreditation. If your business is denied, the BBB will mail you a letter telling you why you were denied and what steps you might take for reconsideration.

Good luck. You have little to fear if you maintain fair and honest business practices and comply with industry standards. The BBB aims to create marketplace trust by presenting the public with honest businesses and does not otherwise discriminate.

What to Do When Business Is Slow

Anyone in business knows that there will be inevitable slowdowns; times when customers disappear, sales decline, and overall activity drops off. Whether or not it is a seasonal slowdown or an overall economic decline, your ability to survive depends on how you react when your business stagnates. This is not a time to panic, but rather it is an excellent opportunity to take stock of your overall business. It is a time to evaluate what is working and what is not, a chance to formulate new goals and objectives, and an occasion to set new plans in motion. There are several areas that business owners should concentrate on when business slows:

Marketing:
It is often the first thing that is cut when times are tough, but realistically marketing should receive even greater focus when things are slow. Increasing your visibility while your competition is decreasing theirs makes you poised to capture an even larger market share when things begin to recover. Besides, when customers are disappearing, the last thing you want to do is to stop communicating with them. It may not be possible to allocate large sums to marketing, but there are inexpensive and creative ways to stay in touch with your audience. For example, you can get free publicity from local news sources by issuing press releases for noteworthy occurrences relating to your business. The hardest part of this is coming up with an angle, but once you do, the attention from local media is invaluable. Also, if you are an expert at something, and most business owners are, why not host a workshop or seminar. It is a great way to educate your audience about what you do, and it also allows you to get face time with potential new customers. Marketing should always be high up on your to do list. Not only does it keep your business visible, but it forces you to constantly think about the benefits and positives associated with your business; something that can help any business owner through tough times.

Networking:
Although networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and when you are stressed over a business slowdown, these events are the last place you want to be, it is important not to hibernate or isolate yourself. These events are often a good source for sales opportunities and you just never know what kind of collaborative relationships you can form with other like-minded people. Expanding your contact list and connecting with potential leads is not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. But remember, this is not about collecting a pocketful of business cards and calling it a day, this is about quality over quantity. It is much better to take the time to get to know a few individuals on a deeper level then to have passing contact with the whole room. Also, to be successful at a networking event, you simply have to remember the basics of any relationship.

You need to listen more than talk, you need to be focused and present, and you need to truly be interested in what the other person is saying. By doing these things, it in turn makes you interesting as well, and when it’s your turn to talk, make sure you have your elevator pitch prepared. This means that you have to be able to explain a little about yourself and what you do in a clear and concise manner. When the event is finished, don’t just toss the business cards you collected in your drawer and forget about them. These are potential new contacts or customers and you need to follow up with a “great to meet you” note, or if there is true business potential there, an invitation to meet over coffee or lunch. Networking is not hard; it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there, because you just never know who you might meet.

Social Media:
Just like marketing and networking, social media is an excellent area to focus your attention when business is slow. It is an inexpensive way to connect with a much larger audience then would normally be available through traditional media. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest allow you to up your customer service quotient by giving you the opportunity to listen to your audience, determine what they want, and offer them solutions. Basically, it is all about engagement and content. Today’s consumers want an interactive experience with the brands they support and by giving them unique and informative content; you can turn shoppers into customers. Likewise, writing a blog related to your business also ups your exposure. Again, it allows you to connect with your audience, and it ensures that searching consumers can find you on the internet because it spreads your brand across multiple sites therefore increasing your search ranking. Remember, social media really is no longer an option for business owners, but it can be time consuming. Consequently, what better time to give it some attention than when business is slow and you could truly benefit from the marketing push.

Website Development:
Most businesses today have a website; unfortunately, many of them are just bad. It appears that they were created several years ago when having a site became mandatory, and then forgotten about ever since. In truth, in a day and age when nearly every consumer turns to the internet for information about their local businesses, having a sub-par website just isn’t acceptable. Giving your site some much needed attention is an excellent way to spend your resources during a slow period. Giving your website an overhaul doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. There are many low cost site builders and content management systems available that make creating a functional and interactive site relatively easy. Just keep in mind that you have a very short time to make a good first impression. You need to consider design. Does the esthetic of the site fall in line with your image and brand? Also, you need to focus on usability. Can your customers find the information that they are looking for quickly and easily? Lastly, your site must have engaging and informative content that is updated and expanded regularly. Creating your website is not a one time job. You have to consider it a work in progress; one that needs to be continuously managed and developed.

As you can see, there are many things that you can do to productively spend your time while businesses is slow. Also, all of these activities will ensure that when consumers are once again ready to part with their hard earned dollars your business will be front and center in their minds.