When you think of summer, your mind is likely filled with images of leisurely activities like having a cook out, going swimming at the lake or spending time with friends and family.
What you probably aren’t picturing is all of the work that is required to keep your small business running smoothly. This can be a problem, especially because that work isn’t on your other employees’ minds, either.
What you’re facing is often called the “Summer Slump.” It might not seem like it, but it can actually be a big problem for small businesses with a limited workforce. Productivity can suffer because everyone has their minds on leisure activities instead of their jobs, and this can get you way behind schedule.
Fortunately, there are ways to fight the Summer Slump and keep things running smoothly all summer long:
Beef Up Your Social Networking
As things start to slow down during the summer, spend some time focusing on your company’s social networking presence.
The right preparation here can take a little bit of pressure off of your employees, letting potential customers interact with your business online instead. Effective social media use can help drive people to your business even when your other marketing and sales efforts are slowing. Building your social network presence during the summer can also put you in a prime position to advertise sales and other specials heading into the fall and winter holidays.
Bring on the Interns
During the summer, a lot of college students are looking for real-world experience to supplement their degree programs.
In some cases, internships or other work programs may actually be a requirement for graduation. You can take advantage of this by bringing on interns to help keep your business productivity high even in the middle of the Summer Slump.
Contact local colleges or universities to see what is involved with taking on interns if you need help, and don’t forget to report everything back to the school the student attends once the internship is complete. Do your best to provide your interns with a fun and educational summer, and don’t forget to keep their contact info in case you have open positions in the future.
Cleaning up the store or office and reorganizing things may seem like busywork, but you’d be surprised at how much of a difference it can make on your productivity.
Reducing clutter and organizing your workspace is proven to increase productivity, so the time you spend reorganizing the office could help to fight off the Summer Slump. Make sure that your employees know that there’s a purpose behind the work, though; if they think that you’re just trying to keep them busy while things are slow then you might not get the desired effect.
The summer can be a great time to start working on new projects, especially if you get your employees involved in the planning.
This proactive approach not only gives them (and you) something to do, but it also shows that you care about their input. Spend the time planning promotions for the fall and winter, creating a holiday sales strategy or developing new services or products that will go on sale later in the year. The newness of the project will help you fight off the general slowdown that comes with the Summer Slump.
Take Some Time Off
A lot of businesses experience a general slowdown in sales during the summer too, which makes sense considering that your customers will have summer fun on their mind too.
This means that it’s a great time for your employees to take vacations or otherwise spend some time away from work. Encourage them to use saved vacation time during the slow part of the summer, though you may want to make sure that not everyone tries to take off at once. The time away from work will do them good, allowing them to return in better spirits and ready to work.
Of course, it’s important that you stop and give yourself some time off as well. After all, you’re just as likely to be hit by the productivity loss as your employees are. Take a few days off so you can come back refreshed and ready to work.