It’s the dead of summer. If it seems like your clients are MIA, your office is running at half capacity and your once-overflowing inbox is almost suspiciously empty, then it’s fair to say that the summer slowdown has taken effect in your business. The “season of auto-reply” may be frustrating for those who are ready to charge ahead, but just because your industry may be on pause doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of these calmer months.
In fact, summer’s slowdown can actually be a great time to harness growth, build stronger relationships and cultivate new leads. Here are five initiatives you can start right now to gain a competitive edge when everyone comes back to work.
Now is the time to approach new leads. Your competition is likely in vacation mode, which gives you the opportunity to cultivate new relationships without interruption. And don’t be discouraged if your prospects aren’t responding, as often their auto-reply email will likely redirect you to someone who is covering in their absence—giving you the chance to introduce yourself to more members of the team.
Remember those clients or colleagues you’ve been meaning to book a lunch meeting with? Make a list and send out invites. During peak business times, finding space in both of your schedules always proves challenging, so now is the perfect time to strengthen those relationships.
Use this period to connect with your employees one-on-one. If fall is typically busy for your business, ensure that your team is set up and ready to take on the rush. Summer is also a great time for team-building activities. Plan an office outing, throw a staff BBQ, or leave early for a friendly volleyball game. It is summer, after all!
Comb through your business expenses and see what can be scaled down, cut back or eliminated entirely. When you’re in the thick of things, it can be easy to just sign cheques and make payments without really scrutinizing the actual need of each item. How often are you using that subscription-based software? Do you really need to pay extra for the premium features? Analyze these types of costs and decide accordingly.
Entrepreneurs are used to working around the clock, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use summer to make time for yourself. If booking a week-long holiday is out of the question, give yourself at least an hour each day to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s going for a power walk, catching up on business headlines or zoning out for an hour of yoga, do something to help you decompress from the daily grind.
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While you may find the season’s downtime discouraging, it can be just what your company needs to regroup, reinvent and grow. View these slow summer months as an opportunity rather than deterrent, and you’ll see just how valuable this time can be.