And so we are drifting through the summer doldrums. As heat and humidity rise, our focus and motivation fall. Summer is the slowest period for Freelancers and most others, with the exception of landscapers, building contractors, wedding planners and those in the tourist industry.
For the majority, summer means billable hours that evaporate like the morning dew on roses. But who can afford 10 weeks of idleness? Savvy business owners know it is wise to make hay while the hot sun shines and use the summer months to position themselves to create business in the fourth quarter and beyond. A business slowdown need not mean no business activity. Summer is the perfect time to pick up the thread of what slipped off the radar screen earlier in the year.
You may start this productive cycle by reviewing your business model. How efficient is your operation? How much does it cost to make a sale? Just how profitable is your business, anyway? What processes could be streamlined? What technology could make service delivery, customer contact and/or administrative functions easier, faster or less expensive?
By the way, did you meet your sales projections for the first half of the year? Might it be time to hire help, so that productivity can increase, customer service improved or administrative functions executed in a more timely fashion?
What emerging priorities and concerns are on the horizon that may excite or agitate your clients and how might that impact your business? You have the next few weeks to catch up on industry magazines, websites, white papers and blogs and find out what you need to know to stay competitive and understand what may change in your marketing message or service options and delivery.
Summer is also a great time for professional development. Look for certifications to pick up, or courses and workshops to attend. If you can budget it, use this time to boost your skill set and make yourself appear more of an expert to clients and prospects. Along the way, you’ll meet a few people you should know.
Summer is a time of more flexible schedules and despite vacations, it’s a good time to collar people and arrange those meetings that no one had time for between January and June. So go back through your notes and remind yourself of whom you wanted to meet with and send out a few emails. What intriguing and mutually beneficial proposal will you present?
Finally, summer is an excellent time to do the prospecting that you’ve been putting off for six months. Ask colleagues for introductions and maybe do some selective cold calling. Make it a point to make inroads on new business development. I’ll bet that slippery someone whom you’ve been chasing since last year is more available in July and August.
By taking the initiative, you will see that summer is the best time to evaluate, investigate and create business opportunities that will give you a cushion of revenue that will get you through next year’s summer doldrums!
Thanks for reading,