Why is it every year many of us experience a summer slowdown? Business slows down, networks stop meeting, work attendance decreases, business development activities grind to a halt and yet… we still have budgets, goals and targets to achieve? How do you handle the ‘unproductive’ attitude summer may bring for you and your team?
How can you juggle vacation schedules, kids home from school, warm weather and the overwhelming desire to go on cruise control? Historically summer may have been a time for you where you took it easy did minimum activity and were more focussed on what you could achieve when fall comes around… not this year.
Decide to make this your most enjoyable and productive summer with 12 strategies that set the roadwork for continual business growth… all year round.
Take advantage of the weather. Use the longer hours of daylight to conduct meetings later in the day, take advantage of warmer conditions and meet people at outdoor venues, and meet clients for lunch to enjoy lighter food and warm sunshine.
Review your business plan. Schedule a 2-hour appointment with yourself to review all the actions in your business plan, cash flows, targets and spend time determining what you need to achieve your goals for this financial year. Your business plan should not be hiding in your bottom drawer or be collecting dust on a shelf, it is a living document that can be reviewed regularly – make this summer the time to help you determine your next steps.
Revisit your marketing plan. If you don’t have one, now is the time to sit and write one. If you need help there is an abundance of talented consultants who will assist you build customizeded plan for your business that will incorporate your business plan. If you already have one, review your progress, determine what actions need to be taken and schedule time during the summer to complete those tasks.
Conduct a 6-month business review. Spend 2-hours reviewing business achievements for the past 6 months. Ask yourself a series of questions (and rate yourself 1-10 with 10 being the highest):
- How would I rate my previous 6 months business performance?
- Did I achieve my financial goals each month?
- If not, why not?
- If not, what do I need to do differently in the next 6 months to meet my annual budget or plan?
- If I did meet these targets (congratulations to you), were they big enough?
- Have I conducted staff reviews with my team? If not, why not? And when?
- If so, have I rewarded my team adequately?
- Do I need to invest more in my team or personal development?
- Is my marketing plan on track? If not, why not?
- If not, what activities do I need to conduct to implement more marketing strategies?
- Have I done sufficient networking to grow my business or my connections? If not, why not?
When you have completed these questions, create a series of tasks, actions or projects to implement some of your strategies to help you really achieve all your targets for the next 6 months.
Invest in your personal development. Have you been meaning to read the latest business book? Is there a summit you could attend? Is there an online program you have wanted to complete? Is there a webinar you wanted to register for? This is a great time of year to invest in yourself, refresh your memory and learn a new skill. Summer is conducive to learning.
Conduct a summer clean. Just like a spring clean, but during the summer months. A newly organized space that is clean and tidy can help bring focus and pull you from your summer slowdown. This summer clean could include:
- Clear, delete or file those read emails in your inbox
- Unsubscribe from newsletters that you don’t read
- Allocate 1-hour to get your paper filing up to date (if you have more than 1 hour’s worth, do 1 hour per week until it is all complete)
- Throw unwanted, unread journals that you have been ‘meaning’ to read, but haven’t (and won’t)
- Review your ‘tasks’ on your to-do list and remove tasks that won’t be completed
- Spend 15 minutes cleaning the top of your desk, remove unnecessary stationery, put away files, clean dust of your family photo, throw out empty water bottles and wipe down your computer keyboard and screen. A clean and clear desk will help you be more productive any time of year!
- Enter the details into your contact management system of the business card pile that might be gathering dust on your desk.
Hold a team development activity.
If you manage a team of people, you can bet they are feeling a summer slowdown as well. Allocate time to meet for lunch at an outdoor café, take 3 hours and visit the local zoo as a team (work out which animal best represents each member of your team… only joking), meet early for a game of golf or tennis after work, bring food to share for lunch and conduct a meeting in your local park. Spend time listening to your team, their challenges, their achievements and plan your next 6 months and how you will achieve the targets for the whole team. Use the warmer weather to conduct outdoor versions of activities you normally conduct indoors.
Volunteer. Allow each of your team members to choose a local organization or charity they want to support and give them a day of service. Share the results with your clients and the local media of the great work you are doing. Share with board members information about you and your company.
Call 15 existing clients every week. Set yourself a target of reaching out to 3 existing clients every day and thank them for their business. Don’t leave the office until you have completed your calls.
Book a ‘tele-coffee’ with your clients. What is a ‘tele-coffee’? It is where you make a coffee and they make a coffee and the two of you meet by teleconference. It is a more productive way of meeting (and avoids wasted time in travel).
Visit a new networking group. Many networking groups don’t meet in the summer, but those serious about building their business are still networking, still growing their business and still making valuable connections. Find out which groups are meeting and plan to attend at least 2 new groups in the summer. This is the perfect time to develop new relationships and valuable connections.
Create a list of new business development targets.
Once you have made your list book appointments to include lunch, breakfast or even a tele-coffee. Create a plan within your schedule to contact them regularly. Contact could include a phone call, email, sending them an interesting article, inviting them to a networking event with you, sending a parcel of products or a face to face meeting.
To continually grow your business and avoid the summer slowdown, you need to pay attention to the seasons and take advantage of their timing without suffering a summer slowdown. Instead, get more productive. Use this time to get a head start on all those fall meetings you can conduct when people return from vacation, ensure all plans are in place to achieve your annual results, tidy your work environment so you are not distracted by clutter and experiment with new products, and new networking opportunities. Embrace the warmer weather for outdoor meetings and events and enjoy all that summer brings for your business growth.
Feel like your team is suffering a summer slowdown, putting off today what could be done tomorrow? Watch this short video for tips to make the most of your time this summer.