6 Tips For Seasonal Small Business Owners

Running a seasonal business is not like running a year-round business. There are different things that you need to consider, and if not managed properly, can become a financial mess. You need to not only save money during the off months, but to increase your revenue during the busy months. If you’re the owner of a small business that only operates for a couple of months out of the year, and you’ve been having a little bit of trouble, here are a few tips to hopefully make things run a little more smoothly.

Find New Revenue Sources

The first and best thing you should try to do is find a way to make money during the off-seasons. Examine the resources available to you.  Look at things like location, space, employees, and inventory.  Take a look to see if there is a way they can be used when your business is shut down for the year. For example, if you own a store that only opens in the summer, perhaps you can rent out the space for storage during the winter months. The store is going to be closed any way.  Why not make a little bit of money from it?  Every bit will help.

Rent Out Your Space

Another option is to rent out the space entirely. Let’s again say that you operate in the Summer months, and your store is empty during the Winter. If you know of a similar business that operates in the Winter, you could rent out the space to them during those months, and effectively share the space during your most prosperous months. Of course there are costs associated with moving your business out of its location each year, but if you can make the money work, renting out your space is a good way to bring in some extra revenue.

Use Loans If You Need To

Of course, you won’t always be able to find another source of income for those off months. You’ll still have bills to pay though.  You may need to find another source of funds if money is tight. In this instance, you may want to look into taking out a loan. A working capital loan is commonly used by seasonal business owners to cover things like taxes and payroll, and can help hold you over until your busy season arrives. You can visit this link for more information on how to get a working capital loan for your business.

Stay In Touch With Customers

Once your business opens back up for the year, you’ll need to make as much money as possible to cover the costs of the other months. A great way to do this is to stay in touch with your customer base year-round. You don’t want people to forget about you just because you take a few months off.  Also, you want them ready to come back as soon as you open. During your open months, try to collect email addresses so you can send out newsletters, and direct your customers to your social media pages.

Promote Your Business Early

Besides keeping in touch with your customers, you want to start promoting your business as early as possible. Your competitors are likely off at the same time as you, and you can get a jump start over them by promoting before the season begins. Start a countdown until you open, and have a big special the first day of business. Anything you can do to drum up interest for the start of the season will help propel you into a good year.

Manage Employee Expectations

Lastly, it is important to manage the expectations you have for your employees.Seasonal workers are likely not going to be as motivated or as experienced compared to full time workers. Many of the people you hire will only be looking for a job that lasts a couple of months, and as such, it is not their top priority. This doesn’t mean every worker you hire is going to be a problem, but it is something to keep in mind.

Know The Challenges

If you’re going to own a seasonal business, you need to know the challenges you are going to face. There are considerations you need to keep in mind that year-round businesses don’t need to think of.  If you don’t plan ahead, you could find yourself facing some tough problems. But by planning, you can help improve your chances for success.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Looking For Some Good Lunch Meat Alternatives

I’ve taken 2017 as a time to really focus on improving my health.  I’ve been trying to get in better shape and make some healthier decisions.  I’m 42.  In the past, I would often brush off decisions I knew weren’t healthy by telling myself I could fix them down the road.  Well, after hitting an age that’s roughly half of my expected life exptency, give or take a few years, I realized that road was getting shorter.  One of the things I’ve thought to do is to come up with some lunch meat alternatives.

My Typical Lunch

I’m a brown bagger, which is something I’m proud of.  Keeping my costs down for lunch has always been a big thing for me.  I see people go out to eat every day, but I’m fine to sit at my desk and eat.  This also gives me time to go for a walk.

Lunch for me is usually four items.

  • A few baby carrots (have recently switched to organic).
  • A sandwich with wheat bread, deli meat, cheese, and condiments (usually mustard, maybe a little mayo).
  • Fresh fruit such as grapes, strawberries, or pineapple.
  • A cup of yogurt (I’ve switched back to the Yoplait brand which has 1/3 less sugar than what I was eating).

Lunch Meat

I’ve always thought that getting lunch meat from the deli was a reasonably healthy alternative.  But, then I did some

Image from morguefile via lauramusikanski

checking and realized that deli meat is not very healthy at all.  It’s very processed, containing lots of fillers and preservatives, and it’s also very salty.

Yikes.

Some of my favorites are salami and bologna, which turn out to be among the worst.  Even low sodium versions still have quite a bit, and they still have the preservatives and fillers.

I also like ham, turkey and chicken, which aren’t as bad, though you still won’t hearing anyone call them healthy.

So what to do?

My Ideas On Lunch Meat Alternatives

I’m looking for ideas on what I could do to substitute in healthier options for lunch meat.  Here are some of the things I’ve thought of.

  • Tuna – I like canned tuna.  While I’ve seen fish on ‘very healthy items to eat’ lists, tuna never really seems to show up.  So, I’m wondering if this is healthy or if there are problems.
  • Egg Salad – It’s Lent, so we don’t eat meat on Fridays.  Egg salad is a fun Friday option, but is this a good option to eat regularly?  I know that many have backed off eggs as being bad for you, which was once thought.  Still, I always thought it was something to eat in moderation.
  • Left overs – I already eat left overs now and then as opportunity arises.  We often hold back left overs from lunches and make an entire dinner out of them after the cache grows.  Whether they would be healthier than a sandwich would depend on the dinner.
  • Salads – I know salads are a good option, but I get sick of salad quickly.  Too many salads and I tend to move on after a while.
  • Slice My Own Meat – One option I’ve seen is to buy fresh meat and slice it yourself.  This sounds great but I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  Would I have to buy my own meat slicer?  That sounds expensive, hard to maintain, and one more thing to take care of.

What Are Some Other Alternatives to Lunch Meat?

I know I can’t be the only one out there that brown bags it and wants to keep it simple and healthy.  So, what are some ideas of you have or that you’ve seen?  Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Books I Read In January & February 2017

I love to read.  I have loved it since I was a kid.  It’s something I try to do every day.  Here are some books I read during the first two months of the year.

Books I Read In January 2017

  • Monsters In Appalachia by Sheryl Monks.  I love a good set of short stories and this did not disappoint.  As you might guess, they’re centered around the region known as Appalachia, an area known already for many struggles.  The people here definitely fit the bill.  Rating: Four stars (out of five).
  • The Whistler by John Grisham.  I’ve read every book by Grisham since he started writing.  He’s been around for so long and has written so many books, that it’s now sort of hit or miss.  This one was definitely a
    Photo by EthanN77 courtesy of MorgueFile.

    miss for me.  It was about a whistle blower within the judicial system.  Not his best work.  Rating: Two-and-a-half stars.

  • The Unseen World by Liz Moore.  This was a really cool book.  It is a combination of a mystery, coming of age,  family history, with a touch of science fiction thrown in.  A girl sees her father start slipping away to Alzheimer’s, and as she grows up and into adulthood, she uncovers many secrets.  This has definitely been my favorite book that I’ve read so far this year.  Rating: Five stars.

Books I Read In February 2017

  • The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen.  The events take place in a community pool over the course of a summer in small town North Carolina.  This is a book that is character driven, with a whole bunch of characters narrating chapters.  Lives change, relationships develop, and self-learning takes place.  Not bad at all.  Rating: Four stars.
  • Furious by T.R. Ragan and Outrage by T.R. Ragan.  These are the first two books of a trilogy with human trafficking as the focal point.  A woman sees her husband murdered and her children taken, and must uncover truths that had never crossed her mind as she tries to find her children.  The books are very fast paced and action packed.  As the trilogy probably could have been combined into one longer book, they’re quick reads.  I’m looking forward to reading the concluding book, which comes out this month.  Rating:  Both books – Four stars.
  • The Years by Nicholas Delbanco.  This was the first book I read on my Kindle, that I got through the free lending library.  It was OK, but it probably didn’t connect because it was about two people later in life that were lovers decades earlier and re-connect via a chance encounter.  The story goes back and forth in time.  It wasn’t a bad read, but one that I was definitely ready for to be over.  Rating: Three stars.

And One Book I Didn’t Finish

  • We Eat Our Own by Kea Wilson.  I get a lot of my books by looking at the description of books as they get added to the library catalog.  So, I’m taking a chance on many and there are some books that I can’t finish.   This was one of those books.  I gave it my standard 100 pages, but was done.  It was something about filming a movie in the rain forest and I think bad things started happening, and it seemed like it was going to involve cannibilism or something.  Anyway, I was glad to put this one down.  Rating (on what I read): One star

Readers, have you read any good books lately?

 

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March 2017 Updates

It’s March!  Did you know that even though Spring doesn’t officially start until later this month, that from a meteorological standpoint, spring has started?  That’s right, from a meteorological perspective, the seasons start on the 1st of the month of the calendar change.  I guess they know something we don’t!  I hope that things are going well.  Here are some March 2017 updates and goals.

Fitness

I recently wrote about some renewed focus on my fitness.  So far this is going well!

  • As of the end of February, I’ve dropped 5.8 pounds.  I’ve also dropped my body fat percentage from 21.0% to 19.0%.  These are both since the beginning of the year.  Both of these numbers make me happy.
  • I’m getting to the gym around 4 times per week.
  • I’m mostly running and walking.
  • I haven’t got as much weight lifting done as I’d hoped.  I had hernia surgeries years back, and the weight lifting has caused some minor pain in the area.  I got things checked during a recent visit, and I haven’t done any damage.  Most likely it’s pulling on the scar tissue.  The doctor recommended that I skip the weights until I’m pain free, then see if I can narrow it down to figure out what’s causing the pain.  If that works, I can eventually cut out just the portion of my workout that’s causing the stress.

Taxes

  • We got our taxes submitted to our CPA, and it was done in record time.  That was the good news.  The bad news is that the refunds were a few hundred dollars less than I’d hoped.  Oh, well!
  • We already got our refunds!
  • The refunds came so quick that we didn’t even have a chance to allocate the money, so we’ll have to do that.

Florida Trip

Our spring break trip is just around the corner!

  • Both of the big bills for our upcoming spring break trip have been paid: Renting our condo and our flights.
  • Our biggest to-do (except for packing) is to plan our trip back and forth to the airport.  We’re actually driving about 3.5 hours to an airport in Ohio.  The flights were about 50% cheaper versus flying from Detroit.
  • We won’t have a car while we’re down in Florida.  We can Uber to and from the airport.  There’s a trolley line that runs from our hotel to nearby grocery stores (we also plan to use Amazon Prime Pantry).  All of the restaurants and beaches we plan to visit are within walking distance.

Other March 2017 Updates

  • Lawn – I’ll be working in the backyard.  Since we had some tree stumps removed, I’ll have to dig out the shavings, fill in with top soil and put some seed down.  We have a number of other spots throughout our yard that could use some fill in, so I’m debating just getting a load of top soil delivered.
  • Fridge – Our basement fridge is one that we borrowed many years back.  It’s a mini-fridge (bigger than a box fridge) but has worked well.  We knew that the owner might want it back, and it’s been our plan to move the old, ugly white fridge in the kitchen to the basement and get a new kitchen fridge.  Well, our ticket was finally called.  Unfortunately, it was about two weeks past President’s Day, which is when you can get some good sales.  So, while we’re not going to rush to buy a new fridge and overpay, we may be down to a single fridge for awhile until we find a deal.  As we’re often at capacity with our current two fridges, this could be troublesome.

Readers, how are things going for you this March?  

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.