One of the most important things to understand about your business is its seasonality. All industries have periods of high demand and subsequent troughs, and taking account of them is important for your business in all sorts of ways.
Today we’re looking at when and how seasonal highs fall, and some of the things you can do to identify them and take advantage of the opportunities they offer you.
Different Industries, Different Seasons
Unfortunately there is no single, pat answer to the question of when ‘peak season’ is. For many businesses, including most kinds of retail and hospitality, The November-December run up to Christmas is the busiest time of the year, but that doesn’t hold true everywhere and for everyone. It’s important to be specific.
Seasonality is influenced by lots of factors, not just the calendar. Geography is very important – if you’re in a region that attracts lots of tourists, then peak season is when school holidays and good weather coincide. And of course, what good weather is depends on where you are – good weather for a beach holiday is very different to good weather for skiing!
It’s also affected by the rules and regulations surrounding your industry – if you’re an accountant, for example, your busy period will be affected by when and how regularly taxes and accounts need to be filed.
Planning for Peak Season
Simply piling all your sales and product launches into peak season won’t get you the best results – and that’s because you’re in competition with lots of other businesses, all doing the same thing. While different industries have different seasonality, any business you’re competing with by definition has the same peaks and troughs you do.
This is why competitor research is important. It can tell you what your competitors are planning and when they’re likely to time big events and marketing pushes. This allows you to find uncontested time for your own projects to make a bigger splash. Think of it as like big movie studios manoeuvring around each other – everyone wants to launch their next big movie in blockbuster season, no one wants to launch in the same week as another big film.
Using Off-Peak Times
It’s not just your peak season that it’s well worth planning for. In off peak times of low demand, your business is under less pressure to deliver for the customer. This means it’s time you can (and should) get value out of in other ways. It’s a good time for planning, for research, for developing new products or offers or for making changes to your business.
If you’ve got projects you want to pursue for your business that need your full attention, work out when your peak times are, and then plan them for the quiet days, not the Christmas rush!