Picking at the peak.

Yesterday, I spent a few hours of the holiday afternoon engaging in a typical fall familial activity . . . I went apple picking!

Or, I should say . . . I tried to go apple picking.

My first problem was that I couldn’t get within a mile of the place, because it was so packed with perky pickers (say that 10 times fast).  We parked at a public school and hoofed it to the farmhouse, and then waited in line and fought the crowds of people desperate to grab an apple off a tree, or climb through the corn maze, or buy one of those fresh sugar donuts (I had seven).

The business guy in me couldn’t help but imagine how happy the owner of the farmhouse was feeling as the throngs of pickers filled his cash register.  It reminded me of how I feel during Christmas week, when even the expletive deleted . . . I mean . . . less popular shows sell out.

When I was paying for my seven donuts, I even mentioned it to the teenager who rang me up.

“Six donuts and a glass of cider?” she said.

“Seven,” I answered, wiping the sugar off my face and smiling, “Couldn’t wait.”

“Pretty busy, huh?” I said, trying to change the subject from my gluttony.

“Oh yeah,” she said, “This is the peak of our season.”

“It’s not always like this?”

“Oh no.  It’s like this only a few weeks a year.  When the leaves start changing.   There are some ok weeks throughout the year.  And come here in January, and it’s empty.  I’m only working here for the next six weeks.  Then it’s back to the mall.”

Sounds like Broadway, doesn’t it?  Hills, valleys, and everything sucks in January.

Then again, sounds like every business, doesn’t it?

If you get business envy when you see a store or a show doing monster business, I promise you there’s a time when it’s tougher for them as well.  Every business has its ups and downs depending on the time of year.

The essential thing for Producers and Business Owners of all types to do is find out what those cycles of your industry are.  In other words, when specifically are the highs, and when are the lows?

And once you’ve charted your cycle, you can focus on the following two tasks:

  1. How do you save money and sell more during the lows?
  2. How do you maximize income during the highs (maximizing income during the more in-demand weeks is much easier than trying to sell tickets during the less in-demand weeks)?

Don’t fight the rollercoaster ride of your year.  Recognize that it’s there, and that there may be nothing you can do to change that.  Instead, understand it, and figure out how to operate most efficiently within it.

Oh, and also start selling donuts.  Because I will personally keep your grosses high if you do.


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