Unless you are a part of the travel industry or kid camps, summer is usually the slowest part of the season. Everyone is in vacation mode and are saving those extra dollars for the trips that they will be making. I personally find it excruciating and pointless to try and drum up “new” business during the summer. My sales drop off at an enormous rate and there is no getting around that. In the 16 years I have been in business, I can only remember two summers where there was not a Sahara Desert like drought going on. For years I would sulk, ramp up my advertising and sulk some more. I finally decided to stop sulking and put my “off season” to good use. If you have peaks and valleys in your business year, here is how you can take advantage.
Use the time to do something new.
I now use summer to create and plan projects. I am usually up to my waist in paperwork so it is a good time to make sure that whatever new system I am putting in place can be implemented when things are not so busy. Sometimes I will buy new software and the downtime I have can be utilized getting familiar with it. Sometimes, I just need a week or two to clean house and can focus my time doing just that without many distractions.
Use the time to put the things in action that you have always talked about doing but never did. Work on your strategic plan, try a new restaurant or meet friends for lunch. Put worries about the down season behind you and utilize it to revitalize yourself and your business.
Reassess your strategic plan.
If you have a strategic plan, now is a good time to revise and reset. If you do not have a strategic plan, now is the time to get one. Take the time to create your strategic plan and begin setting it in motion. I look at my strategic plan every three months. However, during the summer I take the time to evaluate my goals, make them clearer and improve my processes.
I also use the time to create new marketing material. I also reach out to client to survey them and catch up on what they are doing. I use the time to say hello to find out if there is something more I should be doing. I use the time not to sell them something but to better understand how I can be a benefit to their business. It is a great opportunity to see if those things in my strategic plan are really worth doing.
Despite the fact that this is a normal part of my business, I still find it difficult. So I make an effort to spend time doing things that I enjoy. I will admit that may seem like slacking off to some but the truth is that you need time to reset. I may take day a week to not work and just focus on something personal. It may include hanging out with my kids, taking a short vacation or reading that book I had been meaning to read. The point being that it is fun and something that take my mind off what is going on at the moment. Those little distractions help me to come back, work harder and focus better.
Sometimes I may go see a movie in the middle of the day. I know, I know, you are supposed to focus on your business 24/7 right? Nope! The reason there is an off season is so that you can take some time off. Use it to make yourself better not sadder.
The offseason doesn’t have to be a downer. It can be an opportunity and you should treat it as just that!
Shahara Wright is an experienced and highly sought after business law attorney and business strategist. She is the author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and host of the CEO Collaboration Circle. Shahara founded The CEO Effect, LLC to work with small business owners who want to implement strategy to build capacity.