When writing a business plan, it’s important to consider ‘seasonality’. ‘Seasonality’ is a way of predicting consumer behaviour. How often do customers buy? When do they buy? Is there some sort of predictable pattern?
Example of seasonality
A classic story that is an interesting example of seasonality is one that a beverage company applied. The beverage company noticed sales were strong in the summer but slumped in the winter. Their study of seasonality in 1924 allowed the beverage company to apply a marketing strategy to be applied so sales would increase during the winter months. The company tried for many years to increase winter sales but it wasn’t until 1931 that the image of St. Nick as a poor or homeless slob was glossed up as a jovial, beautiful red and white coat wearing generous gift giver, the Santa Claus of today. Coke had re-created the image of Santa Claus and it overcame their sluggish winter sales.
Why should you consider seasonality when writing a business plan?
Seasonality is important to consider when planning your business so you can plan for the lows with a strategy in place, figure out your bare minimum in sales that you need to break-even. It is very important that you do market research and talk to people in the industry to find out what the historical data is and essentially find out, how businesses weather the storm. For example, if you are in the automotive industry, when are cars more likely to need repairs? If you are an engineering consultant, is there a season when people are hard to find or on vacation? If you are an accountant, how do you get people to see you before the tax deadline? Sometimes, in your industry, you many notice more trade shows in a certain season, these are usually held to not coincide with your busy selling season.
Write a business plan including seasonality.
In your business plan in the sales forecast, please apply the knowledge you’ve gathered from market research to include seasonality. To take it one step further, show how you will combat the slow season and how much your marketing strategy will cost you.