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Winter is coming, and that could be bad for business

Posted by Sureswipe on 6 June 2017


Owning a business is high stakes, which means preparing for every eventuality. A very real concern that isn’t often recognised is the effect that change of season has on business profits. Supermarket & retailer suggest that change in weather has an effect on the supply and demand of up to 85% of goods and services in the retail sector. To get you prepared for the colder weather, we look at 5 things your business needs to watch out for this winter.

1. Lights out

With Eskom’s announcement of possible power outages this winter, loss of power and the associated headache will be a concern for small businesses. Outside of this, bad weather can also cause loss of other utilities such as water which make the everyday running of your business difficult. This is particularly true in the retail space where convenience is key. Be prepared for any loss of utility and make sure your business won’t suffer any major upset from unplanned outages.

2. Stock piling

If you deal with perishable goods, loss of inventory is a big concern particularly with an unreliable power source. The damage that can be done by even a few hours of lack of utilities can cost your business thousands of rands. Make sure that you have measures in place that protect your inventory or a response plan in the event of any issues. Also, start thinking about how much stock to keep, when to keep it and where it will be best protected.

3. Thin crowds

Cold weather often means that consumers loathe to leave their houses. This has been made worse by online shopping options and inventions such as Uber eats that bring the restaurants to them. The key is to start thinking of ways to entice consumers to brave the cold to come to you. This can be something as small as making sure your establishment is well heated, to offering specials on your products. The reality is that in order for customers to come, and keep coming, they need to feel there is a compelling reason to leave the comfort of their homes.

4. Customer needs

Many businesses fail to take into account that customers want different things at different times, this includes during different seasons. Adapting your business isn’t just for businesses that identify as seasonal. If you run a restaurant, consider a winter menu because consumers are looking for comfort food. If you run a supermarket, make sure there is heating in your isles so that consumers aren’t rushing to leave. This is not to say you need to overhaul your business but you definitely need to begin thinking about what consumers are really looking for and how you can meet those desires.

5. The cost of preparation

Making sure you have the necessary plans in place to prepare you for winter will likely come at a financial cost, but a far smaller one than leaving it to chance. Start doing research on the different elements you will need to finance and make sure you have them in place as soon as possible. Talk to us to find out about your financing options

The key to more than fair weather success is preparation. Why not start now?

Topics: seasonal business, Growing Your Retail Business, Winter

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