When you hear the word “Summer” what does that make you think about? For many, it means basking in the sun, enjoying the summer breeze at the beach with your family or sitting poolside sipping on a mojito. As a business owner, it’s so much more than that, right? For some business owners, it’s their time to expand their business or take on that big order. And for some, it’s their slower season, where they spend the time to prepare for other seasons and catch up on paperwork. Whatever your business is, Summer is a crucial time in your business and you should take important steps to prepare for it. Here are some simple steps you can take that can help you and your business have a successful Summer season.
We talk about this all the time, promotions, promotions, promotions. Why? Because when done right and at the right times, they work. People tend to go out more during the Summer, which means they are spending more, so why not show that you care and understand by helping them save some money. It’s no doubt; consumers love knowing that they got a deal on something they purchased. Whether it’s just a $5 discount or a percentage off their purchase or even a free small gift with their purchase, they will be more likely to shop from you and leave feeling satisfied.
Create a promotion that makes sense to your business and consumers, something that they would appreciate and want to participate in. For example, if you have a restaurant or café show your customers that you understand it’s hot out there by offering them a free cold beverage with a purchase of an entrée. If you have a professional business, like a doctor or dentist you could advertise a free visit or a discount off a cleaning this summer. A beauty salon could also promote a free blow dry when getting a haircut or color for a new look this summer. For current customers or clients, you can create a Gratitude campaign just to say “thank you” and run a promotion around that. And don’t forget about creating promotions for special days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduations, or 4th of July.
Whatever your business is, think about what is important to your customers during the summer. Make sure to stand out from your competitors and show your customers that your promotion was created with them in mind. Spread the word in your store, office, online and social media. Your customers will be sure to appreciate it.
Find Your Customers in Unique Places
This can go hand in hand with your promotions. As we mentioned above showing your customers that you know who they are and what they want goes a long way. We know connecting with people digitally is important, but don’t forget that some of the best marketing tactics are still to connect in the ‘real’ world. Try to create engaging handouts or flyers and leave them in places that you think your customers would go this summer. You could place them at music venues, stores by the beach, or places by the parks. Think outside the box; where your personal interactions play just as big a role as your digital interactions.
Help Your Community
During the Summer, school is out, and parents are always looking for things to do and places to take their kids. They’re reading newsletters, are more often on social media and searching the web for activities and events going on around them. Take advantage of this by getting involved with your local community to give your business some presence at these upcoming events. You could simply create a community promotion and have it announced at these events. Something like donating proceeds from your sales to a charity is a good way to not only promote your business but also shows that your business cares about the people in the community.
Or you could take it a step further and create some type of swag that will help people during the summer heat, like water bottles or small beach bags, and give them out at these events. It’s great advertising and helps the community.
Decorate for Summer
Putting up decorations doesn’t just have to be for the holidays. Whether Summer is a busy or slow season for your business, create Summer spirit by putting up Summer decorations around your space. Play with colors and themes. If you have a storefront, decorate your windows to show customers that you are prepared and have the best products to make their summer great.
Get your employees involved to build their motivation. If it makes sense to your business’, brand, you could bring in some beach balls that your workers could throw around. A change of space and pace can re-charge people’s minds and energize them to keep the momentum at work at full speed.
And don’t forget about your website. If you have a business website, which nowadays you should, make some image and color changes (if they fit within your brand) to give it a new summer look.
Change Your Business Hours
During Summer, days are longer, that means people are more likely to stay out longer. Try to take advantage of day-light-savings-time and keep your doors open longer during the days. Or if Summer is a slow season for you, change your hours to fit within the season. Make sure to announce these changes in your workplace as well as online.
Web Traffic and Presence
When your customers are searching the web this summer, make sure your presence online is as best as it can be. Be sure to Google your business and see what your customers will see. If you see inaccurate information about your business, try to clean it up. If you have negative reviews, make sure your response to the reviewer is posted and visible to customers; your online reputation depends on it.
Summer is a shopping season, so make sure when your customers look you up online, they find you quickly and feel good about visiting your business.
Hire Interns and Manage Cash Flow
If Summer is a busy season for your business, a great way to save money and manage your cash flow is by opting into hiring interns rather than full or part time employees. High School and College students are looking for work during the Summer. Most of them are in it to gain experience and have something to do, so they are more likely to take on an internship with no or low pay or one that gives them incentives, like free lunch or opportunities to go to events. It’s a win-win situation, your interns will gain hands-on experience from you for their future, and you gain motivated and reliable workers for little or no pay, help you during the Summer crunch.
But, it’s important to remember, if you choose to offer internships you must make sure you comply with the Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as make it worthwhile for your interns. Create a plan for them where they can gain value and experience from working for you. This will keep them motivated and allow you to evaluate some of them for future employment.
Revisit Business and Marketing Plans
If Summer is a slow season for your business, this one is mainly for you. By the Summer, half the year is behind us. Now is a great time to prepare your plans for the 2nd half of the year. If things have gotten a bit unorganized because you were too busy or you haven’t had a chance to evaluate your marketing plans, use this time to get everything in order. Take the down time to sort through paperwork you’ve been putting off and revisit your business plans to do some analysis and see if you need to make changes or updates. If next season is busy start planning for that. For many businesses, planning for the December holiday season also starts during this time.
Now if Summer is a busy season for your business, the above can also go for you, but only if you can find the time to do it. You don’t want to bury yourself in paperwork when you should be out there selling.
Schedule a Vacation and Prepare Your Staff
This is probably one that many of you think about but never put into play. Yes, your business needs you during the Summer season, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a break and enjoy the sunny days with your friends and family. Your business is your baby and is important, but so is your health and mindset. Everyone should enjoy some time off during Summer. It will help you re-charge, de-stress so when you come back your mind is clear allowing you to think better while approaching tasks and achieve your business goals successfully.
However, remember before you take this well-deserved vacation make sure you notify and prepare your staff well in advance so they know exactly what to do and who to call while you are away.
Preparing your business for the Summer season can be fun but also stressful at times, but it doesn’t have to be. Just make sure you enjoy it and think about your customer’s needs and wants during summer, and the ideas will start rushing through.