Summertime and the livin’ is easy…or so the song goes. But small business owners might want to be careful about taking it too easy during June, July, and August. Successful entrepreneur and author Bill McBean says now is a great time to do a half-year review and make some smart business moves while competitors are in a summertime lull.
“I’m not saying you have to work yourself to death this summer,” says McBean, author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t (Wiley, October 2012, ISBN: 978-1-1180949-6-9, $24.95, www.FactsOfBusinessLife.com). “I’m suggesting you work smarter, not harder.
“Often, business owners think they can just wait and review their business or implement needed changes after they’ve enjoyed the summer,” he adds. “But trust me, there are many benefits to taking the time to do a half-year review right now — before time runs out to adjust to the market and make conquest sales to improve your bottom line.”
Read on for a few of McBean’s tips on why you should do a summertime check-up and “mash the gas” on improving your business:
Some important changes will take a while to fully implement. Let’s say you want to order new inventory, hire and train new employees, or put a new marketing campaign together. It takes time to really get such changes rolling. “You probably have a little extra time right now to make things happen,” says McBean. “So take advantage of it!”
You can take action while your competitors are procrastinating. Set a goal to take action on at least one or two important goals. Do it while your competitors are sitting on their hands, and there will be conquest sales and a bigger payoff for you and your business.
Now you know what you didn’t know in December/January. Hopefully you did an end-of-the-year or beginning-of-the-year review back in December or January and it raised some important questions. Like, what will the hottest products be this year? Or what’s my biggest threat? “Now, almost halfway into the year, you should have answers to some of those important questions and you can look at them to see what it means for your business,” says McBean.
You have the opportunity to regrip the reins. Owning and managing a business is more dictatorship than democracy. Now is a good time to get employees on board or let them go. “Success begins with great leadership,” explains McBean. “That means you and your appointed leaders must operate and stick to the processes you put in place every day, all day.”
Nothing good comes from waiting to look at your numbers. Are your sales up or down compared to last year? What about your overall local market? What about your industry, nationally and regionally? Sure, sitting on a beach somewhere is a lot more fun than running the numbers, but when you’ve owned up to them, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing where your business stands and what you need to do to get it (or keep it) on track.
It’s a great time to go after new opportunities. A summer check-up lets you reevaluate the products and services that could add value to your current customers while attracting new ones. “By going after new opportunities now, you can take a bigger piece of the business pie,” says McBean.
There’s no better time to remotivate employees. McBean suggests setting an end-of-summer goal. “For example, let’s say your end-of-summer goal is to increase the number of air conditioning services or brake work compared to last year by 50 percent,” he says. “You would then develop a promotion or a summertime special around air conditioning and brakes, giving your employees an opportunity to upsell your customers on a special limited time offer.”
“With new information comes knowledge, and a summer check-up is a great way to gather the latest information about your business and market,” says McBean. “If you’re the first to harvest this information, you will be the first to use it to boost your business. You’ll have the chance to attack the market — where it’s hot and where it’s not — before your competitors.”
About the Author:
Bill McBean is the author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t (Wiley, October 2012, ISBN: 978-1-1180949-6-9, $24.95, www.FactsOfBusinessLife.com) — now available at Audible.com.