Staying Profitable all Year Long as a Seasonal Business

July 9, 2024

Running a seasonal business can pose challenges during the off-season, but there are several diversification strategies you can use to continue generating revenue and stay profitable all year long. Here are four:

Diversify Products or Services: Consider offering products or services that are in demand year-round. For example, if you run a ski resort, you could offer activities like hiking or mountain biking in the off-season.

Target Different Markets: Identify complementary markets that are active during your off-season. For instance, if you run a beach resort, you could target corporate retreats or host weddings during the off-season.

Extend Your Reach: Explore opportunities to expand your customer base beyond your local area. This could involve marketing efforts targeting tourists from other regions or countries who may visit during your off-season.

Offer Season Passes or Subscriptions: If feasible, offer season passes or subscription-based services that provide value to customers year-round. For example, if you own a Christmas Tree lot you can offer seasonal passes during the summer months so families can come and picnic among the trees. This could help generate steady revenue during the off-season while providing customers with ongoing benefits.

These strategies will not be a perfect fit for every business model but taking certain aspects of each and creating a strategy for your line of business can help you stay profitable all year long.  We’ve dove into a couple specific business categories and how they can diversify:

Farmers Markets and Produce Stands: While fresh produce may only be available during certain seasons, farmers markets and produce stands can diversify by selling value-added products such as jams, preserves, pickles, baked goods, or even crafts made from natural materials. One of our customers, Lincoln Gardens, near Lumsden does just that! Not only is Lincoln Gardens a vegetable and herb farm, but they also grow pumpkins which extends their selling season to the end of October each year. They also sell BC fruit and Sask made products such as jams, pickles and baking to diversify their offerings.

Christmas Tree Farms: In addition to selling Christmas trees during the holiday season, Christmas tree farms can diversify by offering services like tree recycling, wreath-making workshops, or selling other holiday decorations and gifts. The Prairie Christmas Tree Growers Association is a non-profit co-operative grower organization that works to ensure local growers have profitable, successful businesses that are managed in environmentally responsible ways. By providing a resource library, information booklets and news updates on provincial and national happenings the PCTGA advocates their environmental policies year-round while supporting the selling and marketing of Christmas trees for local suppliers.

Beach Resorts: Beach resorts can diversify by offering activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing charters, or hosting destination weddings, corporate retreats, or wellness retreats during the off-season. A beach resort town that offers space for weddings, conferences, and family reunions is Waskesiu – Prince Albert National Park. Waskesiu rolls out the red carpet, even when the ground is snow covered, so that you and your guests can celebrate a special occasion. By doing so the local businesses and establishments in the park can continue to bring in revenue even after the September long weekend has passed.

Ice Cream Stands: Ice cream stands can diversify by offering seasonal flavors, specialty sundaes, milkshakes, or hot beverages like coffee or hot chocolate during the colder months. Elle’s Café in Regina is a perfect example of a café/ice cream stand business and a long-time favourite of mine. Back in 2021 our team highlighted our favourite businesses and mine happened to be Elle’s. I originally went for their delicious coffee selections but soon discovered that in the summer months their ice cream and Dole Whip can’t be beat.

Garden Centers and Nurseries: Garden centers and nurseries can diversify by offering landscaping services, gardening workshops, plant rental services for events, or selling seasonal decor and gifts. I’m sure we can all think of a couple businesses that fit in this category. Early’s Farm & Garden Centre in Saskatoon and Dutch Growers Home & Garden in Regina are top of mind for me. Luckily, there are many other options, if you’re looking for a business in your community head to mysask411!

By diversifying your offerings, you can maximize revenue potential, attract new customers, and build resilience against fluctuations in demand during traditional peak seasons. We are always here to help, give us a call today!

-Sarah Elchuk is a member of the Marketing Team at Directwest