Summertime means longer days, and more sunlight means more activity. If you’re like most small-business owners, you feel invigorated this time of year and motivated to get more accomplished. Here are five steps you can take to improve your business this summer.
1. Keep summer alive.
Right about now, fall and winter items are starting to appear on retailers’ shelves. And yes, you can almost hear consumers groan! While you have to start selling fall merchandise early (all retailers do), most consumers still want to be in summer mode. So leave room on your shelves for summer merchandise as well, and get ready to mark them down when sales slow.
You can also take advantage of positive summer feelings by having sidewalk sales or holding outdoor product demonstrations. Do you own a pool cleaning business or home renovation company? Now is the time to get customers to sign up for last-minute services and products.
For more tips, check out "Preparing for Spring and Summer Shopping Habits."
2. Drive safely.
The longer days are a good excuse to get out of the office and meet with more clients and customers. Don’t multitask by working and driving at the same time. Most states have strict laws about driving and cell phone use, so you don’t want to get a ticket, or worse, get in an accident.
Set up an auto response on your cellphone through your mobile provider to tell people you are driving and will respond later. If your employees drive for your business, make sure your driving and cell usage policies are spelled out in your employee handbook and that you’ve purchased Commercial Auto Insurance.
3. Get ready for a new office.
If this summer finds you moving to a new office space, make sure you’ve updated your small business insurance to cover any changes, such as more (or less) space, additional or updated equipment, or new employees. You don’t want to be caught underinsured if something happens during or after the move.
4. Participate in an outdoor event.
Getting out into your community is crucial for marketing your brand and gaining local support. Check with your city’s website for local events where you might be able to speak, set up a booth, or be a sponsor. Check with summer school programs in your neighborhood to see if they need volunteers, and let your employees volunteer for a few hours instead of working in the office.
If you own a printing or graphics company, donate your services for event marketing materials. Get everything in writing so you know what your obligations are and what the event coordinators expect.
5. Get employees out of the office.
Besides having employees volunteer at events, summer is a great time to build team spirit and camaraderie among your staff. Plan outings outside of work hours, such as company picnics or beach days, golf tournaments or nature walks. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the outing – the point is being together and getting to know your employees and their families.
If the outing involves anything risky, such as zip-lining or alcohol consumption, make sure you have your attorney draw up a waiver to protect you and your business from any responsibility.
Need more motivation? Check out "3 Businesses to Inspire You This Summer."
About Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website SmallBizDaily.com to get the scoop on business trends and to sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.