Savvy lateral thinking for Seasonal Businesses?

ice cream

Like lots of things in the UK, most businesses exhibit a seasonal ebb and flow. Periods of high demand – when sales or growth are big – and other times, when everything seems a bit slow. But some trades rely almost entirely on seasonal markets to flourish. They’re only making profit during certain windows throughout the year – and during the rest cost money to run. We take a look at a few, and ponder some off-the-wall ideas for diversification that might open up the off season to a few more customers…

Ice Cream Van

You know when an Ice Cream Van (ICV)  is incoming, they play some cheesy tune to announce their arrival. But when did you last hear that melody ringing out during autumn or winter? Quite. They’re one of the most traditionally summer businesses you’ll find anywhere. They rely on hot summer days to make the range of frozen products they sell all the more appealing. So what could you do to make an ICV business season-round? How about swapping the freezer for a microwave and delivering some classically english hot puddings? A tasty sticky toffee, chocolate fondant or even Jamaican Ginger cake doused in syrup. It also creates the option of an up-sell ‘would yo like ice cream with that?’ Better still, given the reliability of British summer, it’s something to fall back on should the market for Ice Cream collapse due to bad weather.

Dry Ski Slopes

Skiing and Boarding are winter sports. Dry ski-slopes allow it to be practised year-round. But they tens to be a dead zone in the summer- save for a few enthusiastic ski-racers practicing on specialist nights of the week.  They cost a lot to run too. So all that profit from crowded lift queues in the winter is quickly eaten away by slow summer months. What’s needed is some kind of alternate way of riding the slopes. The clever ones have diversified into rubber rings and sleds. Catering for parties of kids who want the thrill and excitement of sliding down a hill without the need to learn to ski or snowboard.

Watersport Lessons

Canoeing,  Surfing, Windsurfing, Sailing – surprisingly, you  can do many of them as part of organised groups in and around Dockland areas. Not many would venture out in the middle of winter at -6ºC though… so if you’re a trained instructor in any water based sport you’ll need a different string to your bow in winter. You could head off to the Alps to ski guide or Rep, or you could take your skills overseas to practice them year-round in hotter climates. If you do diversify by going overseas, then you might need storage in the UK to keep the stuff you can’t take with you. If that’s the case then a storage unit at one of our London locations is worth considering.

Lawn Mowing & Garden Maintenance

Whilst there is always Garden maintenance to be done, spring and summer up the ante on the sheer volume of growing gardens that needs management. Whilst many Londoners aren’t lucky enough to have swathes of green space in their backyard, some do, and their busy lives mean they require people to care for it. The growing season means there’s always plenty of work. But once Autumn has come, that works dries up until Spring. So what might you do instead? Well you could head off to the mountains along with the water-sports instructors and work as a rep or Ski Guide.

Holiday Childcare

It seems everyone works long hours these days. Annual leave entitlement is no match for the length of school holidays. Which means that there’s a whole industry of childcare and holiday clubs that spring up outside of term time. There’s a big market for things to keep children occupied during office hours. We could mull over the paradox of a culture where parents go to work just so they can (mostly) era enough to pay to put the kids in Childcare whilst they are at work. But that’s probably getting a bit Philosophical for the likes of our humble blog. So with that, we’d better end.