The summer, a great period, but many entrepreneurs get almost an anxiety attack. For example, some companies experience a large spike in demand, with all the associated work, other markets almost come to a complete halt. Nevertheless, there are a range of creative solutions to bridge this period. We spoke to three start-ups about how they do it and what their tips are for this period.
Good planning and clear agreements
There are few products that are as seasonal as ice cream. Something
Ice Crime Factory
all too well. They have been making sugar free ice cream for three years now.“We make a tasty product, but one with up to 70% less sugar compared to classic ice cream.” says co-founder Charles Colle. Their ice creams can be found in many Belgian retail chains such as Spar, Delhaize and Carrefour.
For them, summer is already a huge peak period.“Between May and the end of September we do 80% of our sales.” explains Charles.“That’s the
period when people buy ice cream in the supermarket
. During the winter, however, our sales are very low. Stores also put less ice cream on their shelves at that time, so there is less choice.“
Which doesn’t mean summer is necessarily busy for them. “
Our structure is lean and mean.
” states Charles. “
We don’t have an ice cream parlor or cart, our production is outsourced and we only have two employees. The
summer rush you see mostly in production
and the actual company is not exceptionally busy.
So they work all year round to close deals for the summer. “
We laid out our current production and sales for example this winter.
” explains Charles. “A good forecast is very important to us, which we make based on agreements with customers and historical figures. With that prediction, we then go on to produce.” That’s also immediately the tip Charles gives to other startups to get through the summer.
Good planning and good communication with customer and producer
is probably the most important.” he says.
Nevertheless, this approach also has drawbacks. They are very dependent on the summer and want their business to rely less on one season in the future. “We are now thinking about a new product that also sells during the winter.” concludes Charles. “And at the same time we want to
. For example, summer in Australia falls during our winter, which provides an ideal bridge.”
Do a sprint
The opposite is happening
along. The startup barely sees business during the summer, but their demand experiences a spike during the fall. In fact, their product targets young mothers, who they allow to print free photos with advertising on the back.
“This is how companies stay
top of mind
with that target group in a way that is very different from the classic advertisement.“Lenie Van Hecke of Stampix explains.
So their model is two-sided. On one side you find their community of young mothers, who print photos and on the other side you find the companies, who provide advertising messages for that group.
And supply and demand fluctuates according to the season. “During the summer
the community takes lots of pictures, but they print fewer.
“Lenie tells us.
That’s a busy time for the sales team, as they have to set up a series of campaigns with brands. In the after all, our community wants to print out those vacation photosthen there should be plenty of commercials. The rest of the team, on the other hand, is less busy during the summer.
According to Stampix, you can make the most of such a lesser period. “We do for example
A sprint with the entire team during the summer.
“Lenie tells us. “We work very intensively for a few days on a feature that was previously left unfinished.
Because that’s how you keep growing, even in a quieter period
. Which, after all, is your main goal as a company.” laughs Lenie.
A different approach
The third start-up we’re talking to is
. They sell software for opticians, “And the unique thing about it is that our product is free.” explains founder Dominique Peters. “We make our money through advertising and automated marketing. Because opticians are on a mountain of data. And for a fee, we allow them to send a personalized card, for example, in response to the fact that they bought glasses three years ago. And all this is fully automated.”
Their relationship with summer is already mixed. Their income, for example, isn’t declining, as they rely on monthly recurring payments. “We work
as much as possible with recurrent revenues.
“Dominique says. “And that ensures that our turnover remains constant.”
Nevertheless, they are also experiencing problems.
“What we do see is that
Opticians often close or go on vacation
on during the summer. So that makes sales more difficult.” explains Dominique.
But that turns out to have its advantages too. “
You simply have to take it into account.
” tells the business manager. “Because at the
People who do work are often more relaxed and sociable.
. For example, we do a lot of meetings with manufacturers of glasses, frames and glasses during this period, and they are often successful. Summer certainly doesn’t mean you have to shut down your prospecting or your business.”