DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Summer is here and with rising temperatures and kids getting out of school, this time of the year often means a relaxing or adventurous vacation with friends and family. But for some small business owners, it can also mean a slowdown in sales and productivity.
David Kiger, founder and executive chairman of the global logistics company Worldwide Express and a major investor and strategic advisor for a diverse portfolio of ventures including Alef Mobitech, Exos Transport Group and beGlammed, shares seven strategies small business owners should focus on during the summer to combat downturns, make the most of revenue opportunities and plan for the months ahead.
- Promotional opportunities. “When the weather heats up, it might be time to get creative. Brainstorm new ways to bring customers through the doors,” Kiger says. “Ideas can come from all sorts of places, so ask employees, peers and friends for their thoughts, and be open to trying new things. Businesses can take advantage of this time to explore offering discounts for customer referrals, package deals or other limited time special perks to see what drives customers.”
- Innovation. “The summer months could also be an opportune time to introduce a new line of products. This sort of strategy would need to be considered well before the summer begins, so it could be worth planning ahead for next year,” Kiger explains. “Business partnerships or customer contests could be a great way to create limited time merchandise or new products for customers.”
- Customer appreciation. “Small gestures can have a significant impact on customers. When a business specifically sets out to thank its clients, the effort and gratitude can strengthen the bond between the two,” Kiger shares. “One possibility is to throw an event to show appreciation like a cookout — it doesn’t have to be a ritzy banquet. Another way to show appreciation is the old-fashioned art of writing thank-you notes,” Kiger adds.
- Examine the sales process. “If a business has a naturally slower pace during the summer, a smart move can be to dig into internal processes,” Kiger says. “Explore the overall structure, search for inefficiencies in day-to-day operations and in long-term projects. It might be helpful to brainstorm new sales processes in order to work more efficiently for your buyers and your business.”
- Deal with taxes. “This may be an unpleasant topic to consider when beach trips and lazy days are on the brain. But tax season can be stressful — especially for procrastinating types — and that may provide enough incentive to get organized and plan ahead,” Kiger suggests. “Taking the time to meet with a tax advisor during your slower months can help you optimize your tax position and save money in the long run.”
- Study cash flow. “Here is one of the essential elements of keeping a small business afloat,” Kiger explains. “Businesses that are greatly affected by the seasons can benefit from a detailed cash-flow analysis. Reassessing your company’s business strategy and plan during this time can help you determine your company's needs,” Kiger says. “Be prepared that the assessment may call for preparations to get through less-profitable months.”
- Take a break. “This falls in the easier-said-than-done category. Leading a small business means an enormous sense of responsibility, and that doesn’t stop in the summer. For the first few years of a business, it may seem impossible to break away for a vacation,” Kiger says. “But it’s important to take a step away every once in awhile in order to stay motivated and focused throughout the year. Unplugging completely is also difficult, with email, texting and social media playing such a large role in our daily lives. If summertime isn’t the right time, perhaps plan on a vacation in the fall, winter or spring.”
About David Kiger
David Kiger, founder and executive chairman of the global logistics company Worldwide Express, is a major investor and strategic advisor for a diverse portfolio of ventures including Alef Mobitech, Exos Transport Group and beGlammed. Kiger offers advice to entrepreneurs through his blogs on leadership and helping socially and economically disadvantaged businesses. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidKiger