Unless your business is season-sensitive (e.g., pool maintenance, lawn services), summertime may be a slow period for your business. Customers and clients may be away, and revenue may be down. Don’t fret. This is an ideal time to attend to various actions that may not be easy to do when things are busier.
Here are 10 actions to consider when you have extra time this summer.
1. Set summer hours
You may not need to be open for business as usual (depending on the type of business you’re in). Office hours may end mid-day on Friday during the summer months, or you may choose to close on one or more days during this period. Setting summer hours is a good perk for your staff and may even save you money (e.g., running the air conditioning less by turning up the thermostat when you’re closed).
2. Review your marketing strategies for Q3 and Q4
Summertime may give you hours needed to devote to planning. Review your marketing budget and your anticipated marketing activities for the third and fourth quarters of the year. Consider redoing marketing materials, such as brochures, now (see a more complete discussion here). Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to wait for launching any major marketing activities until after Labor Day.
3. Meet with your accountant
With half of 2017 now over, it’s a great time to sit down (or talk by phone) with your CPA or other tax advisor. Review your company’s revenue and expenses year-to-date (YTD) and project them for the balance of the year. Then adapt your business plans to maximize your tax moves for the rest of the year. Some actions may be to buy needed equipment that can generate immediate write-offs and set up a qualified retirement plan for providing retirement savings while sheltering profits.
4. Do training
Courses and job training never end. If employees need education or training and have the time to do it in the summer, consider supporting their efforts. For example, you can reimburse the cost of job-related courses as a tax-free fringe benefit with no dollar limit. The benefit isn’t taxable to employees and isn’t subject to payroll taxes for the company.
5. Hold a company picnic or BBQ
Foster teamwork and company spirit by bringing employees and their families together at special events. Events such as low-cost company picnics or BBQs can be a great summer event for the company.
6. Run a local charity event
Gain visibility for your company by sponsoring or supporting local charity events, such as 10K runs and other fundraising activities. Hold a blood drive or give employees time-off in slow summer hours to participate in charitable events.
7. Revise business systems
Policies and procedures—business systems—let you run your company efficiently. Your business systems may include purchasing practices, inventory management, customer service, collections policies, and safety procedures. Take the time now to critically review your existing policies so that you can make changes.
If you haven’t already done so, consider putting employee practices into an employee manual. This can spell out hiring procedures, access to employee benefits, and company policies (e.g., reporting sexual harassment).
8. Revamp your facilities
If your workspace needs a little spiffing up, a slow summer season is a great time to apply some paint or do other renovating to improve your facilities. For example, improving your office design can lead to better employee retention, according to a Teem blog. Changes can include new lighting, private spaces to compliment open floor designs, etc.
9. Venture or expand social media exposure
Social media can be a boon to your company, but it takes time to learn what works for you and how to do it. Review your existing social media presence on Twitter and Facebook to see whether you need to add additional venues, such as Instagram.
Also take a new look at your website. When was the last time you revised it? What can be done now to improve?
10. Take a vacation
Despite the known benefits of vacations to health and creativity, American workers don’t take all of their vacation time. In fact, they may only take half of what they could, according to Glassdoor.
Business owners are notoriously bad about taking time off, as evidenced by the finding in a Funding Circle survey late last year. Last summer Staples posted a Small Business Owner’s Guide to Taking a Vacation from Work. Planning ahead can make it easier for you, and for your business, for you to take time off for a summer vacation.
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst,” said William Penn. If your business allows you extra time for during the summertime, use it wisely.