Who doesn’t love summer? The long days, sunshine, pool time, barbecues and relaxing vacations are a welcome break from the hard winter most of the U.S. experienced earlier this year. Some seasonal businesses, such as ice cream shops and pool salesmen, thrive during warm months, but for others, the sun-filled season comes with a sense of anxiety. Dipping sales, sinking productivity and low morale all contribute to the dreaded summer slump. But by being proactive and making some changes in the way you approach business, it could turn your seasonal slowdown into a sunny success.
1. Modify your outreach times.
Many people spend summer days outdoors and don’t go home until later in the evening. If you want your marketing messages to be seen and heard, send them early in the morning or later at night, when more people will be home.
2. Embrace the good weather.
No one likes to be cooped up inside on sunny days (especially here in Seattle, where such days are fleeting). Encourage employees to enjoy the weather and go outside for breaks or walks. You can even host meetings outdoors, or entire company outings. The more you let your employees spend time outside, the less they’ll dream of it while inside.
3. Provide unique employee incentives for overachievement.
If you really want your employees to put their best foot forward during the summer, offer one-of-a-kind rewards that will whet their whistles. Consider a brand new iPad or iPod, a sizable gift card to a store or mall, paid vacation days, even passes to a nearby theme park or a bed and breakfast for employees and their spouses. They’ll work hard toward earning the incentives and appreciate the sentiment.
4. Create a coverage policy.
Summer is filled with requests for time off, and if you inadvertently schedule too many employees off at one time, you’re in for chaos, especially where customer service is concerned. To avoid this, create a policy that will prevent too many employees from the same department taking pre-planned absences at the same time.
5. Trust your employees.
There’s a reason you hired your employees. Don’t be so rigid that you become the hovering, micro-managing supervisor. Trust that they’ll ultimately do what is right for the company.
David Nilssen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Guidant Financial. Read more tips about becoming a successful entrepreneur in his book, Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership. He can be found on Twitter at @DavidNilssen. The advice in this column should not be considered legal tax advice.