Hello summer! Break out the beach bags, the sunscreen, the BBQ grills and the bathing suit because it’s time to have some fun! After working so hard through the winter and revitalizing business in the spring, it may be time for a much-needed vacation. After all, you deserve at least one every decade, right? Is summer really the best time to take a vacation? Will your business survive without you for a whole week? There are so many variables involved in this warm weathered season; how will they all affect YOUR business?
Of course, every industry is affected in different ways in different seasons. Some industries will sell more products in the winter, especially if they are holiday specific. Other industries, such as landscaping, gardening and lawn services will see the peak of their business in the spring and summer. Those businesses are obviously seasonal, however. How do restaurants and boutiques and salons adjust business parameters for school being out, traffic and labor patterns changing, travel increasing, budgets tightening, and more?
The good news is, if your business is one that thrives in the summer, you usually have somewhere between 50-100 college kids knocking on your door who are back, ready and eager to make enough money to blow in one weekend back at school. The only challenge is sorting through them quickly enough to find the right fit for your business for three months. Try to “push them into the pool” early and have them shadow long-term employees in order to learn fast. This will save money on payroll when it comes time to pay for training.
Knowing you have the right staff in place for the summer will probably be your most difficult task. Once they are ready to go, it’s time to make sure your business is ready for the heat of summer – that means checking refrigeration (food service) and air conditioning (hopefully all industries). Routine maintenance should be done every three to six months to keep up with all of the equipment and HVAC systems necessary to run your business. It is much more costly to repair than it is to maintain. Not to mention you may lose income or customers during down time if you have to repair.
So, you’ve got your people and your process down. You are ready for ANY season. Whether you sell in-store or online, don’t forget that summer is the only season for many to get the chance to travel or enjoy a vacation. This can translate into two reasons you will need to market in order to maintain or increase revenue. Firstly, your regular customers have disappeared. They are not even in town or online to see, let alone purchase your products. If they are in town, it is because their vacation isn’t until next week, and they sure as hell aren’t spending a dime until then. This is a great time to capture a new audience! If you have the available funds to market over summer, it can be very fruitful. The season can be a great time to add to your list of regulars by targeting individuals who have yet to frequent your establishment. Check out this related article for some creative ways to market your business this summer.
One of the last things that you need to monitor over summer is your inventory. Because the trends over the season can change from week to week, it is important to keep up with reports and analytics over time to better project sales and expenses. It is recommended by many small business owners to have a good inventory management system in place that will assist with the flow of products in and out of your business. Now that you understand the effects that a season can have on a small business, you can better prepare for a marketing strategy or a cost-savings strategy, or both!
Just remember that you need to have a little fun as well this season! Balance, balance and more balance is the key to any healthy lifestyle. If your staff is self sufficient, take a break, dip your toes in the sand or venture off to the mountains. If they aren’t, get a new staff. Then go on vacation. You’ll need one.