For many businesses, there comes a point every year when things get busy.
This can be Christmas time for e-commerce stores (in which online and in-store sales are expected to be over £80 billion in 2023) or summertime for ice cream sellers for example.
In these situations, if you’re not prepared, you could find that you quickly become unstuck.
In this blog, we’re going to delve deeper into why this can be a big help and look into how to prepare for a boost in sales.
Let’s take a look.
Identifying Your Peak Sales Periods
The first thing that you need to do is work out when your busy periods will be. This can be done in several ways, including:
- Using Historical Data – Review your past performances and analyse recurring themes around certain times of the year. If patterns emerge and sales pick up at similar times, then you can expect the same to happen again this year.
- Market Research – Most of the peaks will be widespread throughout your industry, so take a while to do some research and delve into how other businesses are doing. If you know Black Friday or Christmas is on the horizon and you can see other businesses getting ready, this is a clear sign you should as well. Use Google Trends to see if searches for your services are rising or look into other forecasting software.
- Analyse Your Customers – If you’re noticing more activity in your marketing endeavours, then this is a sign things are about to pick up. Looking into the amount of interest on social media, or simply asking customers about their spending plans, can both give a clear indication of what to expect.
- Events & Economy – We’ve mentioned Christmas quite a lot already, but this is a huge time for many retail stores, pubs, and more to make big sales. Always be on the lookout for events like this, for example, florists will always look ahead to Valentine’s Day. Also, take notice of the economy. If times are good, then people will be more willing to spend.
- Speak to Suppliers – Your suppliers will have a good idea of how much of their products are being ordered, and this should correlate with your sales. If they mention things are really picking up and many businesses are filling their stock rooms, you should too.
Most businesses go through peaks and troughs throughout the course of a year, especially seasonal ones. Knowing when a peak may be coming is key to being ready for it, and a business loan could help.
Why a Loan Can Help with Seasonal Peaks
Increased Inventory Stock
The last thing you want to do when business is coming in thick and fast is run out of stock.
Peak periods bring increased demand, and a loan enables businesses to purchase sufficient inventory to meet this demand without having to reach into cash reserves.
With more capital at your disposal, it can also help you get better deals. You will have the ability to buy in bulk which often leads to discounts, which will only help to maximise your profits.
Boosting Marketing and Advertising Efforts
As we mentioned earlier, peak times are often busy throughout your industry, and you can bet that all of your competitors are putting the effort in to make the most of the boost in sales.
Marketing campaigns are vital at this time to get your business seen and heard.
A good marketing campaign can help to increase visibility and attract customers to your business from your competitors.
Not only can a loan help to push more resources into your marketing endeavours, but it can also help finance broader and more targeted advertising campaigns, helping to reach more customers.
Hiring Additional Staff
When busy times come, it is always all hands on deck.
This means that you may have to bring in extra members of staff to help cover the increased workload.
Temporary staff are often hired, and loans can be helpful in finding the extra funding to cover their wages.
Businesses sometimes often bring in specialists who can help them maximise efforts throughout this time, and a loan can help with this as well.
The important thing is not to let your customer service standards drop, and in many cases, more staff who are well-trained is the answer.
Infrastructure and Technology Upgrades
Investing in better equipment can be key to ensuring maximum efficiency when it comes to peak times.
This can be better technology to help your process orders faster, better infrastructure when it comes to shipping and delivering products, or even new ways for customers to reach you to discuss any issues.
All of these help to streamline operations and improve customer service, which in turn can lead to increased sales.
While these may only be for the short term initially, these can be seen as long-term investments, allowing you to really make the most of your loan.
Cushioning Cash Flow
Loans can provide a cushion for operational expenses, ensuring that the business runs smoothly without impacting other areas due to cash flow constraints.
The last thing you need is to spend all of your finances on stock, and then have nothing left to boost marketing.
This can cause problems in the present and the future, so allowing for the extra costs to be covered across all areas is vital.
It acts as a safety net for unforeseen expenses or fluctuations in income during peak periods, and this can provide peace of mind and plenty of help for many different types of business.
Picking the Right Loan for Your Business Peak
Short-Term Business Loans: Ideal for quick turnaround needs like inventory purchase.
Working Capital Loans: Best for businesses needing to cover operational costs during a spike in sales.
Unsecured Business Loans: Suitable for businesses with a strong credit history needing swift capital without collateral.
Merchant Cash Advances: Ideal for companies who want to pay the loan amount back only when they can afford it and want a flexible solution to their funding needs.
Bad Credit Business Loans: This is perfect for a business that has a bad credit score and may struggle to find funding elsewhere.
Ensuring Effective Use of Finances
Detailed Planning and Budgeting
Set Clear Objectives: Define specific goals for the peak period, like increasing sales, expanding market reach, or launching new products.
Create a Budget: Allocate funds to different areas based on these objectives. Be precise about how much you’ll spend on inventory, marketing, staffing, etc.
Focus on High-Impact Areas
Inventory Management: Invest in products that have high demand during the peak season. Use sales data to predict which items will be most popular.
Targeted Marketing: Direct funds towards effective marketing strategies that reach your core audience and promote your peak season offerings.
Monitor Cash Flow Closely
Regular Reviews: Keep a close eye on cash flow during the peak period. Regular monitoring helps identify and address any financial issues early.
Reserve Funds: Set aside a portion of the loan as a contingency fund for unexpected expenses or fluctuations in revenue.
Evaluate Return on Investment (ROI)
Measure Success: Assess the impact of your spending. Look at metrics like sales growth, customer acquisition costs, and overall profitability.
Adapt and Adjust: Be ready to reallocate funds if certain strategies are not yielding the expected ROI.
Review Performance: After the peak season, analyse which strategies worked and which didn’t. This insight will be valuable for future planning.
Repayment Strategy: Plan for loan repayment based on the revenue generated during the peak period, ensuring it aligns with your business’s financial health.
Smart Funding Solutions
Our team always believe that business peaks should be embraced rather than feared.
That is why we always come up with quick and effective business loan opportunities to help any business really take advantage of the increased attention.