If Christmas is your busiest period, you’ll already be braced for a hectic time.
It’s vital to understand and respond to the seasonality of your business – meeting customer demand with all its variability. Here’s what you need to consider in order to have a merry business Christmas. Remember, if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail!
Forecasting – Make sure your bank or finance provider understands your cycle. Give them a good grounding on when in the year you expect your sales to spike as well as those times when you will need greater amounts of working capital to ramp up inventory, stock up on raw materials or start paying extra employees taken on to meet the seasonal highs. Give them an insight into what your expectations are this year.
Don’t spend it all at once – Christmas cash may have to fund your next few months and potentially your next busy period. Analyse your month-to-month income figures as closely as possible. Look at past years’ experience and aim for as efficient a scenario on cash inflows and outflows as possible.
Build in alternative income streams – look at other times of the year and the possibilities they hold for evening out peaks and troughs in income. There may be other times in the year – Easter or Valentine’s Day – that could be just as fruitful to retail businesses. But think laterally too; the summer holidays and even festival season might be times you can find ways of capitalizing on.
We’ve got more great tips for managing the challenges of seasonal cashflow and seasonal staff management, as well as great advice from one of our customers and the MarketInvoice Christmas gift guide 2015 in our latest guide.