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Following the Seasons of Business

Jan 29, 2024

In most parts of the United States, there are distinct seasons – spring, summer, fall, and winter. There are exceptions to this like Florida, southern Texas, and most of California, where the weather is much less volatile.

Like the weather seasons, there are also seasons in business. As the country wraps up one of the more challenging winter weather systems that paralyzed many areas with ice and snow days, I am reminded this is not the only “winter season” we are going through.

Many of our members in Mavericks are feeling a bit of a cash flow crunch right now. When the weather gets nasty, many of our drycleaning customers head directly to work (if they go in at all), and then head directly back home. They don’t stop at the drycleaners. When these snow and ice days strike, sales can really decrease, and usually the sales cannot be regained after the weather passes.

With proper understanding of the seasons of business, and some basic planning, you will know what to do during each season. Being from Kansas, where there are lots of crops, fall is when the crops are harvested. This harvest season is when almost all of the revenue is made by farmers.

In our industry, in most parts of the country, there are two harvest seasons. One in the spring (for us, it is April, May, and June) and one in the fall (October, November, December). We make the lion’s share of our profits in those six months.

There are two distinct seasons on either side of the harvest seasons. In months before the harvests, seeds must be planted. Between the planting season and harvest season, the seeds and crops must be nurtured with rain and sun so they can grow.

In business, the seasons before harvest require us to attract, acquire, appreciate, and ascend our clients as we nurture those relationships. This is us planting the seeds and nurturing them. This is where our sales and marketing plan comes in. We are able to maximize our harvest season by doing the marketing in advance of the high season.

There are slow seasons after the harvest seasons. These occur in our industry in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months (January, February, and March) and also in the summer season when it is really hot (July, August, and in our case September). These are our lower-earning months of the year. Extreme heat like we had last summer, and ice/snow like we’ve had recently are making these down seasons even more challenging. Slower seasons almost always follow a harvest season.

If you are smart during the harvest seasons, you will not spend all the money you make during the harvest season. You will not pay down debts too aggressively, always buy the newest equipment, or splurge on big trips and material luxuries. At least not until you stock your cupboards (your savings vehicles) from the harvest season. You might need to dip into them during the upcoming slow (winter) season.

Many drycleaning owners are feeling a cash flow crunch right now during the winter season of business. If you are, make sure you are filling your cupboards during the harvest season. You might just need to dip into those reserves when business slows, which it almost always does during the winter season.

I realize this analogy does not apply to all areas of the country or the world. Very rarely are you in harvest mode all year long. The better you understand the seasons of your business, the better you can plan your marketing and finance to make the high seasons more enjoyable and the low seasons less challenging.

Plant / Nurture / Harvest / Winter

Think how this discussion applies to your business, then get clear on what you should be doing during each season.

Have a great week!


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