Summertime can be the slow time for many businesses. It’s not your imagination, close to 60% of people are taking a vacation during the summer months. Leading up to that fun vacay, your customers are also saving their money for that vacation. But no matter what the slow season is for YOUR business, there are some things you can do so you don’t go crazy.
Don’t freak out and change everything. Grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine (no judgement), let’s figure this out.
I can’t stress this enough. The first year of my business was a huge learning curve and sometimes I would change my pricing, marketing strategy and workflow every couple of months. In the slow season it can be a helpless feeling not having those inquiries coming in. Don’t make the mistake of switch things up too much, you could end up spinning your wheels with very little result, if any.
In the slow season, little things can be tweaked in your business or company. It’s not that the systems you’ve implemented are broken. But even the greatest workflows and systems need some maintenance and improvements every now and then. Make it simple, just glance at the daily procedures of your business, from accounting to customer service, and think about how much smoother they can be. As long as you have your client – and your sanity – in mind this shouldn’t be a difficult task. If you take things one step at a time, it will help you not get overwhelmed. Here are 7 ideas:
1. Operations in the slow season
Improving your operations can be a bear of a project and one of the most complicated responsibilities you can have as a business owner. This is something best left for a slow season, when such a change won’t get in the way of your clients in the busy season!
Optimizing your small business operations can help you spend time wherever you’re needed most. This process can encompass many things, so break this one down for your particular business to avoid frustration. Here are some ideas:
- Revise Invoicing Process & Templates
- Introduce (or tweak) Email templates
- Reassess (or introduce) your Digital Accounting tools
- Improve Customer/Lead follow-up
- Inventory control (for product based businesses)
- Create or Improve your social media. Even refreshing your profile pictures, FB Banner and updating your imagery is huge!
2. Customer Service
This one can be fun for a service based business and is so important for referrals and future business. This can be as easy as following up after their session and even sending a thank you. Businesses are infamous for spending most of their time – and money – on acquisitions and almost no budget on any sort of customer follow up. Stand out as a business. They’ve given you their money, now think about giving this process a look and think of upgrading the overall client experience.
3. For Brick and Mortar Businesses & Home offices
The slow season is a great time for cleaning and redecorating. For businesses, this could be a time for improvements around your shop or home office. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Redecorate (with your brand in mind, of course)
- Add to your decor
- Freshen up paint
FOR REDECORATING, if you want to save yourself some time, consider hiring a stylist in your area.
Blessed Little Bungalow – Amber, the owner, travels but is based out of San Antonio!
For organizing, if you want to save yourself a lot of hassle, hire a professional organizer! Yes, this DOES exist, they are in most cities, and are reasonably priced. I can personally vouch for their services in San Antonio, Texas and recommend:
4. Training and Networks
If you really like self improvement – and even if you don’t – this can be fun. Get that self help book you’ve been hearing about to kick your motivation into overdrive. Purchase that online series you’ve been coveting. Attend that conference you’ve been meaning to incorporate into your year. Join that women’s organization to connect with other female business owners. Get creative and make it fun!
I highly recommend the following:
The National Association of Women Business Owners
5. Planning for after the slow season
Okay, this one seems obvious but looking ahead can save you hours in the future when you’ll be super busy. Start brainstorming some ideas to give you an edge way before you’re ready to start projects. Your head will be much clearer during your business’s slow season. Here are some ideas:
- Ponder promos – i.e. Back to School, Christmas, etc…
- Conceptualize future projects
- Visualize potential collaborations… who have you had your eye on you’d LOVE to partner with? Reach out to them!
- And most of all, dream big!
6. Purchase Equipment and supplies
Maybe the least glamorous of all these ideas, but certainly a necessity. Get all those little things purchased (and some big things if need-be) before your time is filled up. Those things that make your business function on a daily basis:
- Replace that old and half broken laptop charger
- Replace that old laptop
- Any equipment that you need to run your business that you take for granted and use consistently!
I saved the best for last! Small business owners are notorious for not taking vacations. This is your summer, plan on treating yourself, even if it’s just a staycation for a couple of nights in your city! Extra points if you encourage your employees to follow suit; they need some time away, too! You could even think about implementing summer hours and limiting your time in the office.
If you’re looking for amazing Bed and Breakfast options here are two of my favorites!
The slow season is bound to happen sometime. Think about tackling areas that need the most help. Implementing a couple tips above can have a great impact on your overall business. Watching that to-do list getting crossed off will start to relax that inner voice a bit. We’re all perfectionists to some degree or else we wouldn’t have a business.
So, how will you spend your slow summer months? Happy improving!