Surviving Slow Seasons as a Small Business

Seasonal downturns are common in most industries, but understanding that and experiencing it are two very different things.  As a small business owner, it can be hard to adjust to the cyclical nature of sales; however, there are ways you can prepare yourself for temporary slumps.  Here we’ll address common concerns business owners face and how to combat them.

Is it just me?

Chances are, the answer to this is no, but you’ll feel better after you do a little research.  There are many factors that can affect a sales cycle, including economic swings, weather, and seasonal changes.  For example, ice cream parlors, restaurants, and hotels all see a downturn after the holiday season that will last until late spring/early summer.  However, these fluctuations tend to affect the entire industry in question, not just specific businesses.  If, after doing a little market research, you find that you’re experiencing the decline more so than your competitors, then you may want to examine why.

Perhaps your competitors have learned to branch out during their slow seasons.  Many landscapers take advantage of the cold winter months, for instance, to do a little snow removal.  It’s a related—not to mention profitable—solution to an otherwise economic pitfall.  Try to network with other people in your industry and find out how they handle the slow seasons.  Understanding the cyclical nature of your specific business and being prepared is key to seeing through these tough times.

Can I plan for this?

Absolutely!  If it’s your first year in business, it’s obviously more difficult to anticipate exactly when it’s going to slow down.  However, in your business plan, you should budget for natural peaks and valleys.  When business is good, it’s easy to expect things will continue to improve.  However, being financially conservative during the booms will enable you to get through the slumps.

Your slow season is actually the perfect time to look more closely at your business’s performance and evaluate how you can become more effective.  One of the many services we provide at ENSO Accounting is helping you with such an analysis.  We can support you by assisting with:

  • Planning and budgeting
  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Product profitability analysis
  • Review accounting operations
  • Assist in obtaining financing


This form of planning is much better for your business in the long run, rather than downsizing, coupons, and massive sales.  So, don’t panic!  Let us help you and your small business weather these seasonal declines.