You’ve seen it before. You knew it was coming. The summer slump is inevitable for many small business owners. The good news is that this too shall pass.
Take 2016 for example. In August 2016, sales sunk into the negatives causing many small business owners to worry. Then, there were signs of hope as sales increased .6% in September and steadily rose into the holiday season. For small business owners, it never gets easier, but it’s important to stay the course during seasonal lulls.
Find ways to make the most of your unwanted down time. In fact, small business owners should view this time as an opportunity to get out of the daily grind and benefit from being able to look at the business with a big picture perspective. The following list details ways that you can help yourself and your business when things are slow.
- Check in with your 2017 goals. See how you’re measuring up so far and set a plan for what’s reasonable to accomplish in the last four months of the year.
- Learn a new skill. Think of what you’ve been meaning to brush up on but haven’t had a chance to focus on given the day-to-day nature of your business. Whether it’s learning how to use Photoshop, seeing how Canva can help your visual needs or getting up to date on QuickBooks, this is the time to pursue those important, but not urgent tasks on your list.
- Improve your social media and content plan. Allocate time to each of your social media platforms to review how your posts have been performing and if your current plan is working. Look at competitors, find aspirational brands you admire, stock up on photos, research articles you can share on social media, etc. What’s most important is that you develop a plan.
- Remember your staff. If you’re more than a one-person shop, use this time to show your appreciation for your team’s hard work. Bring in lunch, hand out movie tickets or host an ice cream social. Just do something that clearly shows that you value their contribution.
- Thank your vendors and partners. There are people – aside from you and your staff – that you should thank for their support. Identity 2 -3 vendors that you’d like to take to lunch to talk about business and life.
- Host an event. If resources allow, use this time to bring in your top clients and customers for an open house and entice them with an offer. If your business is retail focused, offer a discount for the duration of the event. If you’re a professional services company, consider a panel discussion among thought leaders in your industry.
- Share your expertise. If you don’t have the space to host an event, consider sharing tips and pointers via video or webinar. You can even use your cell phone to tap into features like Facebook Live or Zoom. If being on camera makes you uncomfortable, share your expertise in writing by accepting our invitation to write.
- Get more involved locally. The slow season is the perfect time to get more involved in your community. Join your local resource council, Chamber of Commerce or other business networking group to develop deeper relationships with other small business owners and community members.
- Treat yourself. Last but not least, if you haven’t already taken a vacation, use this time to focus on yourself. Take a trip, see live music or schedule a massage, do what makes you at ease and relaxed.
The list can go on and on based on the type of business and what your current needs may be. What’s most important is that you find productive and fulfilling things to do during this time that will ensure you’re well positioned for the busy times ahead.