Get Your Business Ready for Summer

Are you ready for the dog days of summer?IMG_1591[1]

For some, the summer means lying around the pool with unlimited lemonade and an umbrella overhead with a convenient misting system. For others, it’s business as usual! If your concerned about how the summer is going to impact your business, plan ahead and make the summer your best quarter yet!

Many business owners run their businesses the same way all four seasons. They set up a marketing plan with the goal of promoting their services or products without any thought to the changes that occur throughout the year.  It’s important to realize that business is different in the summer and recognize how this should affect your marketing efforts and will impact your bottom line.

Typically, one would think of clothing retailers and travel-centered businesses as examples of businesses that would be most affected by the seasonal changes that summer brings. A few others come to mind as well, like rental property, or even children’s dance studios (most do not provide dance class during the summer because of summer travel).

IMG_1589[1]But it is important that other businesses recognize that beautiful weather and time off from school can impact more than the typical businesses you often think of.

Take the time to brainstorm how your business may be impacted by the following:

  • Increased time available for children and teens
  • Increased demand on a parent’s time (possibly)
  • Hot whether equals less casual attire (at home and in the office)
  • Increased level of boredom for children at home while parents are working
  • Decreased funds due to having to entertain and feed kids all day, every day
  • Decreased local socializing and purchases due to family vacations and travel out of town or out of state
  • More or less outings to restaurants due to kids being out-of-school

The above list are just some examples that may affect your community during the summer months. On the other hand, your locale may see an opposite affect. For example, if you live in a vacation destination, you may have increase in traffic. Additionally, explore other changes (not just around family and children) that may affect your business.

Some people increase the amount of reading they do during the summer months. Others hire landscapers to free up time while DIYers may take on yard work to be outside more.

Evaluate changes in the market that could impact your business in the summer, and plan ways to reduce any negative impact they may have on your business.

Possible solutions to making the summer a great experience for you, your family, and your business include:

  • Using time-saving technology to schedule obligations in advance
  • Incorporate children into your daily business routine
  • Create a different marketing strategy or campaign for your business to utilize positive changes the season brings
  • Plan ahead to occupy children while you take care of your business responsibilities
  • Include rest and relaxation into your summer quarter and you would feel like you missed out

Feel good about the plan you’ve created to enjoy and make money during the summer. Look forward and do the same for the Fall! You’ll feel more prepared for the months ahead and reduce any negative affects the next season brings with it.

Practicing Conscientious Business

christmas parade

Give back to the community!

Conscientious businesses are also referred to as conscious business or conscious capitalism. They are businesses that choose to follow a business strategy that includes corporate social responsibility. Conscientious businesses approach day-to-day operations with an underlying awareness of purpose. This purpose is value-based and shines through from an organizations mission to its overall impact on the community.

Conscientious business is not just about profits, but an ongoing process of building relationships with other organizations as well as creating a better community. Some conscious businesses even express their efforts in reducing the impact their products and services have on the local environment and planet as a whole.

The unique component of conscientious business is that sometimes the fundamental principle of profitability, one of the most important aspects of for-profit businesses, conflicts with one’s interest in helping others or the overall social good.

On a global level, conscientious business can include working with environmentally-friendly distributors to creating sustainable product packaging. Overall, a conscious business is seeking to minimize its environmental impact on the planet.

A more local approach to conscious business would be to promote your positive impact on the people, businesses, and the community in which you live. Investing your time and energy in your community results in better local environment from a socio-economic standpoint, as well as, build relationships and promote purpose. Improving your community can include such things as working to improve parks and recreation programs for the summer, or striving to reduce hunger among your neighbors.

The great thing about conscientious business is that the efforts of the few have an exponential impact of the community at large. What can you do to make an impact on your community?

20 Ways to Save on Expenses for Business Owners

  1. Use natural sunlight to light the office. Work in an area of the office that gets great light and save on utilities.
  2. Print two-sided, or four to a page. Printing two-sided doesn’t help on ink costs, but saves on paper costs. If it is necessary to print drafts, print two pages per side and look at four for the price two before doing a final print. lightbulb
  3.  Streamline staffing levels to balance pay and overtime. Ideally, you want just enough employees to manage the work you have on any given day. Cross train individuals to soak up slack in a different department, or outsource simple tasks during peak times so you can use your human resources productively.
  4. Unplug or set timers. Research which appliances, equipment, and utilities that can be set on a timer or unplugged during downtime.
  5. Offer internships. Hire college interns and students in exchange for college credit or job experience. Many colleges offer programs to area business owners. These programs offer practical experience to students.
  6. Go for Cloud technology. Today, many industries provide various services using Cloud-based technology. From accounting to legal case management, businesses no longer have high costs associated with hardware and software requirements. They simply log into web-based services for a fraction of the cost.
  7. Search for inexpensive web hosting. If you’ve had your website for a while, you may want to check into reducing your Internet and website service costs. Many companies have had to reduce prices due to the amount of competition in the marketplace.
  8. Find an inexpensive business phone service. Look for alternative telephone options. If your business requires a PBX system, try Virtual PBX or similar options. No hardware of software required, so the costs are much less than regular PBX systems.
  9. Switch from a merchant account to an online payment. Still using the credit card machine to swipe customer credit cards. Look into Internet-based payment solutions. You may be able to save lots of money in monthly fees, and per transaction costs.
  10. Hire a freelancer. No need for an employee unless you have an ongoing, long-term need.
  11. Reduce advertising costs. Market your business online is much cheaper today. Use social media rather than a local billboard to connect with potential customers.
  12. Explore alternative business locations. Evaluate whether you really need the space you are paying for. Entertain the idea of a smaller building, or different warehouse setup to reduce the space you need. Changing locations or using your space more efficiently can result in serious savings.
  13. Keep the windows open.Cut the cost of air conditioning and heating during seasons that allow you to have the windows open.
  14. Lighten up. Paint walls a lighter shade and reduce the amount of light you need on all day.
  15. Control the unnecessary expenses. Determine whether an expense is a need or a want.
  16. Do the business online.Cut undo expenses by video conferencing, online billing, or Internet-based ordering.
  17. Share a printer among departments. Cut down on multiple printers, ink, and paper supply costs by streamlining with one printer.
  18. Hire part-time employees. Offer part-time positions. You cut costs on employee benefits.
  19. Go Paperless. This may be better to do progressively. Reduce paper waste right away, then look at areas where processes can be changed to reduce paper usage by 50%. Then, strategize to find other ways to minimize paper usage. Some businesses simply cannot go without paper, but avoiding waste and reducing usage can amount to a great savings!
  20. Stop using snail mail. Postage costs have skyrocketed in recent years. Communicating through e-mail eliminates most postage needs. Set up auto-pay on bills and there is virtually no need to send anything via old-fashioned post.