Most mobile bars are located in an area of the world where they experience “On” and “Off” seasons. While drinking may occur year-round, events tend to have seasonality. After three full years in action we’ve discovered that here in Nashville, we have two “off” seasons. January-March, and July/August. However, just because I’m not hosting a ton of events in those seasons, doesn’t mean there isn’t still lots to accomplish.
I like to think of “off” seasons as the time of the year that I do the things that support the success of the “on” season. When we’re back-to-back events I don’t have time to do much other than execute great events, so I treasure the months where it’s a little slower and I can work ON my business, and not just IN my business.
Here are the six things I think every mobile bar owner should focus on in the “off” season:
1) Rig/Bar Repairs or Updates
I don’t know about everyone else, but my bars get a BEATING when in season. One of the first things I do when a high season ends is do a super deep clean of the rigs/bars, and then make any repairs that may be needed. This past season the camper bar got new countertops and new faucets for the sinks. It also got new windows.
My satellite bars get new coats of paint and I repair any of the dings/dents that can happen when constantly transporting them on and off trucks/trailers all season.
Using the off season to do repairs means I start each on season with shiny new bars!
It’s easy to think that networking like a boss during the on season while working events is sufficient to keep your business front-of-mind, but let me assure you, it’s not.
People have short memories, and they’re always meeting new people/businesses. To ensure that you’re always on the shortlist of recommendations by vendors, use your off seasons to stay connected. Email them, hit them up on social media, send them newsletters of new offers, etc.
You can also use this time to hit up NEW connections. New event planners, venues, vendors that are just launching. Hit them up early and offer yourself as a resource for them as they get started.
Bottom line, use your off season to solidify your place in the market with the people who will be able to amplify your own marketing efforts by recommending you.
3) Process Documentation
Your processes are likely changing pretty rapidly, especially in the beginning. As you learn and figure out better/more efficient ways of doing things, you need to make sure your SOPs and documented methodologies are being updated as well. It’s hard to do this while you’re in the throws of actually executing, so take some time in the off season to review all your process documentation and make updates as needed so that the next time you are sharing an SOP with a staff members you aren’t having to explain that some of it is no longer accurate.
4) Get Photo Content
The off season is the best time to plan out needed photo content for the use in the high season. You can plan and execute photo shoots yourself, or you can participate in styled shoots with other vendors.
Try and get a good mix of photos of your bar/s, drinks, and YOU. Remember, people do business with people, not inanimate objects, so headshots and pictures of your smiling face are important to have and to share with your community/followers.
5) Written / Social Media Content
This one is my favorite. It’s SO much easier to batch content when I have time to actually do it well than it is for me to stress out about what to post every day.
I highly recommend batching out social media posts and blog content for use during your high season. Use a content planner like planoly to schedule it out and set it/forget it. Then all you’ll have to actively do during the season is engage with your community in comments and via stories.
6) Marketing Strategy
If you don’t have an actual strategy built around reaching your ideal clients, and then converting them into paying clients, then you’re spending a lot of time spinning your wheels and then just praying that something you’re doing works.
Use the off season to build an actual strategy around your marketing. Figure out how you’re going to position yourself to your ideal clients, and how you’re going to get them through your sales process to becoming booked clients. Create the “flywheel” that will keep you booked!