Turning over that "See You Next Year!" sign can fill you with a sense of accomplishment — and maybe even a dash of relief — but it doesn't necessarily mean that your work is finished. If you're closing a seasonal business for the year, it's important to consider what will happen to you, your employees and your HQ during the off-season. Help protect your business and prepare for another successful year with these smart tips.
Protect Your Place
Before leaving your business for the season, make sure it's protected against damages. You should shutter your windows, and, if you're in an area that sees freezing temperatures, turn off your water and drain your pipes (to prevent them from freezing).
You should also consider installing an alarm system if you don't have one already. Move all your equipment and other valuables to a secure storage facility. Finally, check on your place every few days to make sure everything is in order. If you won't be in the area, consider hiring someone to check regularly for you.
Review Your Insurance Needs
You should contact your insurance agent and ask which policies need to stay in force during the off-season and which ones you can cancel or suspend in order to save money. For example, you most likely want to keep your property insurance, in case you're robbed or a storm damages your property. In most cases, you should also keep your liability insurance active, in case someone gets hurt on your property while you're away.
However, if you have a business auto policy, you may be able to cancel that during the off-season since you will not be driving for your business during that time.
The off-season is a great time to catch up on all the extra jobs that you're too busy for during peak season. This is often a good time to paint or renovate your building, repair equipment and handle landscaping work. It's also a good opportunity to review your business plan and develop your marketing strategy for the next year. By getting this work out of the way, you'll be in a better position to hit the ground running next season.
Consider Off-Season Business
Is there any way to keep your business running at a lower capacity during the off-season? Think of what kinds of services you could offer based on the expertise and resources already at your disposal. For example, someone who owns a ski resort could offer hiking or set up a mini-golf course for the summer. That way, you can still earn some revenue to help smooth out your business cycle.
And, if you stay open part-time, it might enable you to keep your best employees and managers year-round.
Keep in Touch With Staff
Speaking of your best employees, keeping quality staff can be a challenge for seasonal businesses. To help reduce turnover, make sure to stay in touch with your employees during the off-season. As you start getting ready to open for the season, try to gauge which workers are coming back as early as possible. It is almost always more desirable to bring back trained employees, and if you will need to hire new ones, it's better to know well in advance so you can plan accordingly.
Since competition can be stiff when it comes to hiring seasonal workers during peak periods, consider what kinds of perks you could offer to make your business stand out. For example, a campground might offer free housing, while an apple orchard, ice cream parlor or skating rink might offer discounts on goods or services.
Taking a few precautions after closing a seasonal business can help you protect your company and set yourself up for future success. The peace of mind you get might even be enough to let you take a little well-deserved vacation.