The myth of a slow summer business
Not so quick. If you own a business, don't get dragged down by the "summer is slow' myth because it is simply not true; we're not in Europe where companies literally shut down for the month of August and employees can take an additional four-week vacation.
July and August are naturally vacation periods but no one I know gives up on summer months and just allows their business to idle. While It is true that keeping employees productive when they're planning their time off is challenging, as long as you sign those payroll checks you better remind everyone that ongoing revenue is the only thing that can secure their jobs.
In reality, there is no better time to improve your marketing and sales activities than summer months. First, your competitors have probably checked out so why not get the attention you deserve by reconnecting with customers and prospects. Secondly, July and August are perfect months to analyze a half a year's worth of performance data and get ready for the final end-of-year push that begins in September.
Summer is a perfect time for reviewing and updating your marketing plan. Summer is when you and your sales team should analyze conversion results, repeat sales and losses. Summer is a great opportunity, while everyone is in a good mood to also get creative, generate ideas for continuous improvements and lay out an execution plan.
Customers don't stop buying during the summer and you shouldn't stop selling.
The biggest 'miss' in small business management is failing to take advantage of six months worth of critical and revealing data about how well, or not, your company has performed. Your first six months are not necessarily an indication of the next six months but you'll never know unless you analyze your data.
Everyone is in a better mood, including customers - they are super receptive to providing you with feedback and answers to "how are we doing?", "what can we do to improve?" The door is open, all you have to do is march right in.
Here's how you break the myth of slow summers and get productive again:
- Make it a casual summer - let employees come in relaxed attire, shorts and flip flops if you're not seeing or serving customers in your place of business
- Allow employees to decorate their workspace with a summer theme; run a contest, have fun with it, relax.
- Engage in more office activities - break the routine, bring ice cream, make non-alcoholic drinks, yes, summer is here, make it fun.
Don't make employment a "life without parole" sentence. Be sensitive to your employees' changing moods and needs. Show them your care in action, not just words, and they will reward you in more ways that you can imagine.
I have also seen small business owners get angry at employees during summer months; the good mood, relaxed behavior, and slower pace, make them feel as if they're not getting their money's worth during the summer.
Don't get angry. We live in a culture that worships weekends and counts down the number of days until the next holiday or vacation. All you have to do as a business owner is accept this reality and counteract unproductive behaviors by providing a work culture that encourages entrepreneurial thinking and collaboration.
Have a productive summer.