For many UK small businesses, Summer means downtime. Your customers are away on holiday, and although you’re still open for trade, you probably don’t get as many enquiries.
This means that you have a great opportunity to spend some time working ‘on’ your business, rather than ‘in’ your business. So instead of taking a rest (tempting, I know), think about doing some business development, and I have some great suggestions for you.
N.B. Of course, if you’re in a highly seasonal or tourism-related field, you’re probably waiting for Autumn to roll around! In which case, bookmark this article to read later when your ‘down’ time arrives.
5 ways to make the summer count:
1. Make a plan, Stan.
Most of us don’t spend enough time planning because we are too busy doing! This means that most ‘work’ is reactive, rather than proactive, and doesn’t really move your business forward. It’s like treading water (keeping you afloat) versus swimming (travelling through the water). So, take just 30 minutess to spend on planning where you want your business to go during this next year. If you can, step away from your desk or counter, so that you are not distracted by the reactive work reminders that linger there.
Just sit with a pen and paper and decide what you want to do. This could be new products or services, marketing campaigns, or finding a new type of client, for example. It’s up to you.
2. Go to school!
As a small business owner, you have to keep learning, but it’s hard to find the time to get better at running your business when you’re too busy… running your business! To help with this, we have come together with 12:30 The Women’s Company, FreeAgent, and top small business experts to deliver some free training designed just for you.
Small Business Summer School: One day, in person learning spectacular! Central London.
Summer is for holidays and all things fun. But for small business owners, like you, it’s time a great time to take stock, and learn what’s working with your business and what needs to change and improve. So, why not take some time this summer to learn with us?
We’ve teamed up with a whole bunch of great speakers to help you get your business into shape. Highly recommended.
To find out more about the Small Business Summer School and to book your place click here.
Summer School webinars: 1hr sessions. Learn where you are.
We’re running a series of marketing webinars this Summer, and the next one is Social Media Marketing Made Simple on the 13th August.
If you’re wondering how to get started on social media, then this is the webinar for you. And you don’t have to be a technical whizz or have a big budget to take advantage of social media. You’ll learn:
- What the different networks are
- How to pick the right one for you
- How to get followers and fans
- What makes engaging content
If you’re new to social media, then don’t miss our webinar! Register for your place here!
Want to see more about the webinar series? Click here.
3. Ditch the detritus.
Clutter drags you down – whether that’s piles of ‘stuff’ that you haven’t found a home for yet, or extraneous processes or habits that get in the way; it takes up mental energy, makes us less efficient, and makes it harder to take decisions (all true, see this article). If you have a place of work that clients come in to, clutter also sends a bad impression to them, implying that if you can’t manage your workspace, you won’t be able to handle their order.
So, what can you do about this? I recommend a good old fashioned clear-out. Call it spring cleaning or whatever you like, just throw things away, put things away, recycle and get some breathing room back in your business.
Don’t forget your business processes either. Take a look at the way you do things and whip out any steps that aren’t actually useful. Maybe there’s something that you can do better or replace with a simpler action?
4. Do some sneaky scheduling.
I love getting ahead of myself with things that I need to do. It makes me feel all smug and organised, and also gives me more time to do other stuff later. Also, there are some tasks that seem to go more quickly and easily if you batch them, and, for me, writing is one of those tasks.
So, if I have some down time I like to write an article or two (or three) and get them scheduled in advance. Of course, you can do this with all sorts of things, and here are a few ideas:
- Email newsletters
- Event invitations
- Social media posts
- Repeat orders for materials
- Customer surveys
- Special offers
- Credit control letters
With many of these things you can even set it and forget it (like your Constant Contact email newsletter), so that you create it now and then schedule it to go out much later, but for others you might want to create them and keep them as ‘drafts’ ready to deploy when the time is right.
5. Cut cumbersome costs.
Unless you have an iron control over your business costs (and most of us don’t), you may have taken on costs that are not necessary to your business. However, you probably won’t know that unless you take time to look at them. This can be as simple as going through your bank statements to spot obvious things, like that takeaway coffee that was an occasional treat, but has become a daily habit, or defunct subscriptions that you’re not using but still paying for.
We’d love to see you at our Small Business Summer School in London. It’s on the 14thAugust and is a whole day of free training covering:
- Growing your business with email & social media
- Managing your money with simple steps
- 9 ways to make your website a super-powered marketing tool
- What’s your hourly rate? Know your value
- Sales the anti-selling way