While spring has finally sprung, it's not too early to start planning how to use your summer sales downtime. Summer provides an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the items you were unable to accomplish during the first half of the year while not much is happening in the office.
Consider the summer slowdown as an opportunity to focus on long-term plans for a change, revisiting --and recommitting-- to the core strategies that drive your business.
Here are four things you can do to make the most out of your downtime this summer.
Summer marks the midpoint of the year, making it an excellent time to assess the half you've just completed and make plans for the next one. Now is the time to review your business goals, staffing, and recruitment activities to makes sure every department on track to hit its targets.
Review your goals and look to put new ones in place based on your company's performance over the past six months. Building a plan will better prepare you for what's around the corner. For example, if you are an eCommerce company, you know that fall and winter are your busy times, so you'll want to start planning no, so you're not scrambling in September and October.
Seasonal slowdowns also give business owners a much-needed chance to think and be more strategic. Your planning should include staying in touch with your clients during off-periods and develop your six-month marketing plan, along with defining your target marketing and developing strategies to reach these prospects.
Update Your Operations
Improving operations can be a complex situation for a business owner. It's certainly not something you want to tackle during your busiest times of the year when you need everything to run smoothly. But during a slow summer, you can review your current business operations and make them better.
Inefficiency in daily operation methods builds up over time; you may have implemented great systems, but even the best plans need to be maintained and improved. Take a look at your business's daily procedures, from accounting to customer service, and think about how they could work better.
Be sure to pick a defined area of operations (such as invoicing, customer follow-up, or inventory control) rather than improving processes in general; that's too vague a goal that will leave you frustrated. And focus on an area that will give you a significant improvement. If you spend the time on minor tweaks and detail adjustments, you'll burn up your hours without a substantial gain in your business operations.
UPGRADE SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES
Now you have the time to install software upgrades and learn how to use the programs and applications you rely on every day, like Excel, PowerPoint, or WordPress. If you’ve meant to update your website or social media pages, summer is the time to make sure your digital presence is current and compelling. You should also spend some time looking for ways to improve existing processes. Everything from fulfillment to databases, work towards making your systems in sync for your upcoming busy period.
Audit your vendors and suppliers
When you're busy, you don't have the time to assess your vendors objectively and determine which ones are working and which ones need to be replaced. During the summer, you can. Create an informal audit of your suppliers and vendors with an eye towards savings. You can find cost savings by consolidating vendors, or it might be wise to get updated bids from them. During the summer, your vendors may also be slow, which means they will be able to give more attention and thought to your questions and requests.
It might be a bit intimidating to tackle specific areas that need the most help, but strengthening these areas can significantly impact your business overall. Call in experts for help in areas you are uncertain about, and spend the time to improve the way your company operates.
So, how will you spend your downtime? Remember, the improvements you make now can benefit your business in the busiest points to come.