How to Get Your Business Summer-Ready in 7 Steps
Some say 'challenge'. We say 'business opportunity'. Get ready to take on the quiet summer months like a boss.
Traditionally, summer can be a quiet time for businesses. But if we know you like we think we do, we know you certainly don't see that as an opportunity for taking your afternoons off. In fact, you're probably busy planning ahead for these sunny months, as you know how much that can boost your business – whether you work by yourself, or have employees.
Keep doing what you're doing – but take these tips on board to hot things up even more this summer:
1. Give Your Customers Some Attention
The run-up to summer is the time to nurture your best clients. Let them know when you’ll be open for business over the summer. Phone them, drop them an email or use social media to keep them up to date with any developments. And, if you can, spend quality time with your most valuable clients.
2. Get New Clients
Not all your prospective clients will be away over the summer. Your competitors might be out of action over the holiday period, so why not take advantage of that? Now’s a good time to get your marketing in shape. Take a look at your website. Could it do with updating? And the lead up to the summer period is the perfect time to plan your social media calendar and revamp all your other marketing material.
3. Plan, Plan and Plan Again
Speak to your staff and ask them to tell you in advance what holidays they have planned. Get them to draft a handover, if you need to get someone to cover for them. Make sure their holidays fit in with the contract you have with them. Do a risk assessment plan and write training material for times when key members of staff are away and, if you have to, replace them with temporary staff.
4. Get Yourself Covered
If you work for yourself and want to take a break, plan ahead and think about taking on temporary staff or hiring that first employee. Make sure you get everything right for this: sort out contracts and employers’ liability insurance and make sure you train staff to do their job.
5. Keep the Money Coming In
Managing cash flow is vital. Contact your clients and find out who’s responsible for payments during the summer to make sure you’re still going to get paid. And always invoice as soon as you can.
6. Don't Feel Guilty About Taking a Holiday
Genius is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration. Nobody ever said the latter couldn't take place on a sun-soaked beach, far from the office. Here's a depressing thought for you: research* suggests that 30% of UK small business owners didn't take summer holidays in 2013. Seriously. We know your work is your baby, but don't be a slave to it. A holiday will give those batteries a much-needed recharge, meaning you'll come back to business with a bang. Whether it's a break abroad or just time to chill at home with the family, you'll return strong, motivated, and ready to smash some fresh goals (because we know the wheels never truly stop turning).
Keep your business ticking over while you’re away
- Let your customers know six weeks before that you’re going and who they should contact while you’re away.
- Arrange your holiday in advance and make sure your staff know what they’re doing in your absence.
- Finish off as much as you can before you go and make sure you give your staff a proper handover.
- Avoid taking time off during your busiest period, if you can.
7. Have a Digital as Well as a Physical Holiday
You’re so used to being busy, there’s a danger you’ll be checking emails, tweeting and texting throughout your holiday. If you want to come back reenergised, you need to take a break from your phone. Set aside time each day to check your emails. Evenings are a good time, so you’re not thinking about work all day. Let your staff know what time you’ll be online if they need you. And tell them that you only want to be contacted in a genuine emergency.
Most importantly of all? Relax and enjoy a well-deserved break from all your hard work. When you return, you'll be primed to keep on prospering.
* Research published by business software provider Sage