What To Do When Summer Sales Slow Down
By Shana Lynn Yao
It happens every year - the weather starts to sizzle, the kids get out of school, and everyone is grilling out. Sounds great, right? Unless you're a business owner that is.
If you've been in business or understand the business selling cycle, most businesses operate on a seasonal basis. You've heard about "black Friday" and holiday shopping right? As someone who spent 25 years as a retail and shopping center marketing director, I lived and breathed the retail calendar. And whether you were an international big box retailer or you were a mom and pop small business owner - all retail stores follow this calendar.
It's called a selling cycle - the ups and downs of consumer buying habits during the course of a year. And if you're thinking - "That's great but how does that apply to me? I'm an entrepreneur who sells products or services."
But the truth is, if your customers are human (and I bet they are!), chances are that your business will follow this retail selling cycle too. If you look at your own buying and living habits as an indication of how people shop, you can see why this happens. During the summer months people go on vacation, they travel, they have to spend time entertaining their kids, and, well, it's HOT. So people wear less, eat less, and also SHOP less.
The good news is, if you are aware of it, there are things you can do to combat the summer slow down and actually still move forward in your business.
Getting Ahead During The Summer
1. PUT YOURSELF IN SUMMER SCHOOL
I remember when I was in high school and during the summer my friends and I would go to the pool to hang out. But as we got older, some of my friends got summer jobs and some took advantage of the extra time and went back to school for a few classes.
Now as an adult, if sales are slow, there is no better time than to "go back to school". Upgrading your skills has never been easier - with YouTube and business trainings at your fingertips. Upgrade your social media skills, try new platforms. If you have extra time on your hands, just like a watched pot doesn't boil, looking for customers who aren't looking for you can lead to frustration and low self confidence (a deadly combination as a business owner).
2. CHANGE IT UP
Are you stuck in a rut? During the slow summer months, now is the best time to change it up. Chances are you may have developed a business routine that may not be working to your benefit. Do you wake up and grab your phone to check Facebook and then ended up spending countless hours lost in other people's priorities? Do you go to the same coffee shop at the same time everyday, so much so that the barista knows your name? Are you feeling bored and stuck?
When things are slow, now is the best time to change your routine. Try a different coffee shop. DON'T check your social media until after you have spent at least an hour of quality time doing your own deep work. Change it up - you may be surprised at the results.
3. TALK TO PEOPLE
When was the last time you reached out to your past clients? Or to the random people you've met online? If summer is slow for you, chances are other people are experiencing the same summer slow down. Use this time to reach out to past contacts, people on your list, people you've been meaning to call, and your regular friends. As business owners - especially if you are online - it's so easy to get caught up into the routine of impersonal connection on your social media platforms. We are all human - and real, authentic connection is appreciated by all. Set up in person coffee and lunch dates. Pick up the phone (remember it's not just for texting!). Write a personal handwritten note to someone (remember the excitement of actually getting REAL mail that wasn't a bill?) BE HUMAN and treat others as you would want to be treated.
4. GET SOCIAL
In today's day and age, knowing the ins and outs of social media marketing is essential. You DO NOT have to be on every platform, but the ones you are on, you should master and work to be excellent at. After all, you could be the best at what you do in your business, but if you aren't marketing it correctly, you will not be maximizing your potential to attract clients (and chances are you aren't attracting them). Use this time to upgrade your profiles, your profile photos, and your IMAGE. Your personal brand is what people say about you after you've left the room. What is your personal style and how are you communicating that in your business?
5. GET OUT
The reality is, summer is such a great time to actually spend time to live your best life. The grass is greener, the air is fresh, and it's a time when people are just enjoying life. When was the last time you just woke up and said "let me enjoy my life today - OUTSIDE of my business." Yes, you are a business owner but without you, there is no business. Use the slow summer months to get back in touch with yourself. Take a walk to the park. Dance outside barefoot in the grass and don't care what other people think. DON'T bring your phone on that hike. Remember what it was like to be a child again. To be curious. And just to BE.
Summer may be slow, but if you use your time wisely, it just might spark your next creative idea that could set your business (and life) on fire.
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