Every hunting business, whether you’re an outfitter, local retailer, or hunting product manufacturer, your business is cyclical.
Here is the cyclical nature of the search term “Hunting” on Google Insights.
So it’s easy to see that the business of hunting has a downturn from December through June.
So what do you do now that the hunting industry is entering its annual downturn?
There’s an old saying, “The next hunting season begins the day the current hunting season ends.”
This is a great saying. The best hunters are passionate about hunting year-round. Successful hunters get back out scouting right away, during the downtime, in order to plot their strategies for the next season.
It’s extremely difficult to do.
It’s difficult to commit the time and effort into scouting when the payoff is 9, 10, 11 months away.
Your hunting business is the same as scouting in the hunting off season.
Now, is the best time to scout and create your strategies for next season.
So, here are…
5 Things you can do now to Prepare for Next Season
1. Put in some major scouting time
What I mean by this is that you should begin to do some industry assessment. Look at your competitors.
What marketing tactics were successful in the past season?
What new trends emerged in your industry that seems to have some staying power?
The downturn in the hunting industry cycle is the best time to do some research, get some perspective on the state of the industry, and determine where your business fits in.
Google is your ally here. Go on Google and just start searching.
Go to forums and look in the archives.
What hunting products and services were people talking about this past fall?
Go out and gain perspective on your industry.
It’ll really help you create a strategy for the upcoming season.
2. Read through your hunting journal
Just as most people keep a journal of their hunts, you should keep a journal of your hunting business. Write down your thoughts during the peak of the hunting industry cycle.
Then when the off season comes, you’ll be able to go back and assess your own business.
Just as successful hunters assess their surroundings by scouting in the off season, they also take assessment of their past strategies.
For your business, determine if there is a niche that your product/service could be serving.
Are you targeting the right market?
Take a look at what was successful and unsuccessful during the past season.
Are there trends you should expand on?
Are there trends you should avoid?
Assess your own business and be honest with yourself.
If you look objectively at your own business in the off season, you’ll be better prepared to spend your effort, time, and money in the correct places when the peak of the year comes back around.
3. Prepare your equipment and practice
Every off season, successful hunters take a look at their current equipment and gear and assess its effectiveness.
Hunters look at their bow, gun, tree stand(s), camouflage, bait, scent, boots, etc.
After assessing their gear, these hunters decide if their gear can be repaired, cleaned, or upgraded.
After going through an assessment of their gear, these hunters begin practicing right away.
The same tactic can be used in your business.
Take assessment of your equipment.
If you’re an outfitter, assess your ATVs, UTVs, trucks, tree stands, etc.
Even things like your TV, DVD player, camera equipment, etc.
Also assess your Website and your marketing tools.
Is your equipment up-to-date so you’re putting your business in position to draw in more customers?
Even go so far as to assess your employees.
Do you have the right (I hate to refer to people as equipment, but) “equipment” to serve your customers?
Assess, then repair, upgrade, and prepare your equipment for the upcoming season.
4. “Plan” some new experiments
All successful hunters are open to trying new tactics and strategies. They’re not complacent with their current strategies, even if those strategies were successful in the past season.
After you assess the new trends in your industry, look at the new trends and technology that might be beneficial for you and your customers.
Plan a few “experiments” you want to try in the upcoming season.
For example, would it be beneficial to start a Twitter account?
Would it be beneficial to get in contact with Websites that can help you make connections? (See GotHunts.com for outfitters).
Don’t be afraid to try a few new things. Even if they don’t work out, at least you’re not afraid to try.
Some will turn out to be successful and then you’ll have a new tool to expand your business.
5. Make connections
Successful hunters use the off season to go to local gun clubs, hunting clubs, Rod & Gun clubs, etc. to make valuable connections.
Connecting with other hunters and businesspeople is the best way to expand your knowledge.
Not only will you gain new friendships, but you can share your experiences from the past season.
You’ll gain knowledge form others in and out of your industry.
It’s all about adding value, so make sure you are prepared to share your experiences, thoughts, and insights.
If you are willing to share, others will be willing to share their thoughts with you.
The hunting off season is not only the best time for hunters to prepare for the upcoming season; it’s the best time for you to prepare your hunting business for the upcoming season.
The fact that it’s difficult to concentrate and put in some hard work in the off season is precisely why you should be doing it.
Others may avoid the work in the off season because the payoff is so far off.
Take advantage of these lazy tendencies and make sure your business is ahead of the rest when next season’s peak begins.
Do you have any advice you’d like to add for hunting businesses regarding the off season?
What are some things you do in the off season to prepare for the next season?
Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments.
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