5 Tips on How to Optimize Summertime Downtime to Grow Your Business
Updated: Aug 10, 2022
Here in New England Summer really starts on the 4th of July and lasts through the end of August, when we suddenly realize that it is time to get the kids ready to go back to school and refocus our attention more fully on our businesses. Then, in September, we hit the ground running! If you’re anything like us, you’re probably spending the last few weeks of summer trying to squeeze in as many final beach days, sailing trips, ice cream treats, frozen margaritas, and lazy mornings with family and friends as possible. Whether that is the case for you or you’re like so many of our small business clients that are deep in their busy season, taking some time to take a step back to do a mid-year analysis is never a bad use of time.
While we all like to hit the pause button and head out on vacation these last few weeks before school starts, we also understand that not all of our business can wait for the cooler weather. And sometimes we end up having a little too much of a good time, only to return in September to a backlog of emails, a giant To-Do list, a book of business that could use a little kick in the pants to get going again, and maybe a marketing plan that could use some refreshing?
Review Your Business Growth
Here at TS Consulting, we think that July and August are the perfect times to do a mid-year review of your business growth performance. Taking advantage of the downtime, when you can really free up space in your mind and take the time to clearly look at your business is essential. An exercise we highly recommend is a deep-dive evaluation to determine if what you’re doing today is in alignment with your goals and objectives. This allows you to refocus and be proactive as you plan your move into the busy month of September, the 4th quarter and the new year ahead. Going through this process now will also help to ensure that your business is still moving forward and ready when you return fully recharged after soaking up all that summer sunshine and fun!
Here are some tips to optimize these summer months:
1. Review & Assess. Take a day (at least) to dive deep and evaluate your current direction and business growth strategy. While you don’t have to tackle everything here, it will help to just ask yourself some of these questions…we promise. Knowing where you stand will assist you as you formulate or update a plan, so when you return rested and sun kissed from your vacation or downtime, you’ll be ready to address any issues or jump right into any new projects, plans or strategies.
What is working well?
What needs to be tweaked?
What do your numbers look like so far this year?
Have you hit your growth goals for each month and quarter?
Where are new clients, projects and business coming from?
Are your current clients/projects/business your ideal?
Are you investing enough here, or too much there?
2. Stay connected. If you have a hard time truly disconnecting when you do take that downtime, commit to limited work 1-2x per day. We all know that continuing to connect with your current and potential clients or customers is important and so is answering their questions or getting them to engage with you on your social platforms. Commit 30-60 minutes, once or twice per day, to answer emails, like/comment/share social posts, catch up on local and industry news, etc. Do what you can to feel like you’re staying connected, but make sure when that 30-60 minutes is up you shut your computer, close your social apps, and get back to enjoying your vacation or downtime!
3. Strategic Planning. Now is the perfect time to plan something big for the fall/winter, and make sure to give yourself deadlines. There’s nothing worse than seeing time slip by and feeling like you could have done so much more. The fall and early winter are great times for many businesses to work on growth, and we don’t want you to feel like opportunities passed you by. Commit to tackling a new project, product, marketing strategy, or big launch in the fall - start planning and be sure to put all the dates in the calendar. Example: Have you been thinking about doing a big pre-holiday, online or in-store sale? Mark the dates off on your calendar now and work backwards to plan all the details, including when your email and social campaigns will start. By putting these dates in your calendar, you’ll be able to enjoy your time off while still feeling excited about the months to come. Plus it will give you target dates for when the party must stop (or at least calm down a little) and the productivity must start.
4. Read Business Periodicals. Catch up on your reading! Take some of this ‘extra’ time, or carve out some time, to catch up on the newest trends that are happening in your industry, or maybe find tips on how to market your business more effectively. You may learn a new way to advertise, how to better optimize your current outlets, how markets are shifting, how to manage and lead your teams better, how to acquire top talent and build a healthy culture, or how other businesses, like yours, are succeeding. A few ideas: Providence Business News and The Boston Globe’s Rhode Map (for RI’ers), Harvard Business Review, SmartBrief - an awesome collection of business, marketing and advertising news focusing on newest and upcoming trends. Ad Age - Check out what some of the largest companies and agencies are doing and brainstorm about how you can use similar strategies in your own business.
5. Plug into a Business Strategy Podcast. Grab your headphones and listen to some of your faves without having to read through lengthy articles. Stay in balance - take a walk or head to the beach, you can now multitask growing your business while getting in a little quality "you" time. Some of our locally produced favorites are Beyond Innovation where Justin Sirotin hosts frank conversations with leaders from B2B technology-driven organizations which make innovation a reality. Change-makers, complex problem solvers, designers, engineers, and strategists sit down with OCTO’s founder (love this one!). Another local favorite is The Hire Podcast with our friend Tyler. The hiring game is changing. Businesses are working at hyper-speed to evaluate practices and pivot their model to stay relevant. Tyler Wentworth, President and Co-founder of The Hire, explores the modern workforce and how it’s evolving in real-time. Then there are some of the evergreen thought leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary Vee is a classic and we love how he gets real about all things social media, entrepreneurship and business best practices. And, two of Tuni’s all-time favorites are Freakonomics Podcasts (especially the original but also the new Off Leash series) and Masters of Scale (we all LOVE the Rapid Response series)!
So, whether you’re taking some well deserved time for R & R or whether you’re still hustling (or hopefully a combination of both), we hope some of these tips might help you get the most out of these dog days of summer, without leaving your business, or your business growth strategy, high and dry.
Let us know how we can help you grow? We love to support entrepreneurs and small businesses at Tuni Schartner Consulting LLC!