Small business owners unprepared for peaks and troughs in seasonal demand

20 November 2017

  • Fewer than four in ten (37%) owners of small seasonal businesses surveyed use their time during quieter periods to plan ahead

  • 31% plan for peak seasons up to three months in advance while 16% don’t plan at all

  • Almost one in four (23%) small business owners have not planned for a quieter financial period


Fewer than four in ten (37%) small business owners use their time during quieter periods to plan ahead for the peaks in seasonal business, according to new research from Lloyds Bank.

The data comes as many owners of seasonal businesses, such as those in the tourism industry, set their focus to the imminent drive in demand that will come with Christmas. Positively, 53% of those surveyed make use of off-peak seasons to catch up on business admin they didn’t do during in busier periods, 51% carry out more business maintenance and 47% opt to take more holidays during this time. Only 20% use their quieter months to top up on professional development for themselves and their staff and more than one in ten (12%) admit to doing nothing in particular during business downtime.

Of those who do plan ahead for the next peak season, 37% plan up to three months in advance while 32% continually plan for peak periods, yet 16% don’t plan at all. Significantly, almost a quarter (23%) of small business owners surveyed admit to not having a business plan in place to ensure their finances will see them through a quieter financial period, while a further 13% admit to not having planned their finances well.

With fluctuations in business demand come fluctuations in staff requirements and the challenges associated with temporary or short term employment arrangements. With a range of options open to business owners, the research found that almost than 1 in 7 (15%) seasonal business owners admit to lacking confidence that they get their staffing levels right during peak seasons, while 1 in 10 are unsure of their staffing arrangements during off-peak seasons.