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Managing a seasonal business


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Seasonal means there’ll be quiet times

There are all kinds of seasonal businesses – beach hotels, fruit stalls, ski and surf shops – but what they have in common is that during the year they’ll go through both busy and quiet times. New businesses, especially, sometimes struggle surviving the quiet times, as well as learning how best to manage things during the profitable periods.

Seasonal businesses are determined by a number of triggers, such as summer and winter, Christmas, school holidays and the end of the financial year. There are two main kinds: the business that closes completely during the ‘off season’, and the business that stays open all year but has quiet months.

If your business is a seasonal one, it’s important to learn how to maximize your profits during the busy times, so that it’ll see you through the lean patches.

What to do during the quiet months

One of the best ways for business owners to be productive during the off season is to use that time to plan. This means you’re in the ideal position to hit the ground running when the season kicks off. Look at doing some of the following:

  • Get staff organized – a couple of months out, start advertising for the staff you’ll need during the season. You’ll need this time to advertise, interview and train your new employees.
  • Take stock and get the inventory up to scratch – there’s no point hitting the season without adequate levels of stock. Make sure that you’ve got plenty to kick off the season with, and that you’ve checked with your suppliers and made sure more is available when you need it.
  • A facelift – freshen up the visible parts of the business. Some new signage or a lick of paint inside and out can make a big difference.


It’s really important for seasonal businesses to have a well-planned budget. Cash flow forecasts are essential here – and we have guides and templates that can help you conduct them, if you’re new to the process. Once the forecast is completed, you can put a budget in place to distribute the funds during the profitable months, helping your business to survive during the lean ones. Sound financial advice and help with budget planning are vital, so talk to us about how we can help.

Since seasonal businesses are somewhat of a cash flow roller coaster, effectively managing that cash flow is crucial. So sit down with us, and we’ll help you structure your finances so that your seasonal business remains profitable.

Additional resources

At Meridian, we’re big on small business. Learn about our small business banking solutions.

Talk to one of our Small Business Advisors. They’ll take the time to get to know you and your business, and can help tailor financial solutions that fit your needs.

Meridian Credit Union communications are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial advice or an opinion on any issue. We would be pleased to provide additional details or advice about specific situations if desired.

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