Dog days of summer slowing you down? Smart business owners use the summer slump to move their companies forward, says Chris Ruisi, leadership expert and author of Step Up and Play Big (Advantage Media Group, 2012).
"When the weather is nice we tend to get sloppy or lazy, but that's a mistake," he says. "Summer doesn't have to be a slow time for business."
Ruisi says there are several things you can do during the summer to reenergize your business. He suggests that entrepreneurs do these four tasks to build momentum and grow stronger businesses during a slow season.
1. Fine Tune Your Marketing Message.
Business owners know their product and services better than anyone else, but sometimes they have a hard time conveying the right information to customers. Instead of focusing on product or service features, take this time to make sure your website, brochures and other marketing materials highlight the benefits your customers receive.
"People buy things for two reasons: it makes them feel good or it alleviates a pain," says Ruisi. "Make sure your messaging clearly addresses one of those." He suggests reviewing and rewriting your copy or hiring a professional copywriter to do it for you.
Related: How to Give Your Customers Exactly What They Want (Infographic)
2. Reevaluate Your Lead-Generation Strategies.
Once you've got your message down, get the word out. Ruisi says businesses should have five lead-generating strategies in place. "If you're betting your future on one strategy, you're doomed," he says. Use the summer to research and implement new lead-generating opportunities, such as placing ads, networking at events, writing a blog, asking for referrals from existing clients, forming partnerships and engaging on social media.
3. Connect with Existing Customers.
People who have already bought from you are the key to your continued viability and growth. Ruisi suggests taking time to review their buying patterns. Then call, visit or email them to suggest reorders or complementary products and services. You can also drop them a note or send them a card to tell them you appreciate their business. "Business owners are all fighting the war of one territory: front of mind," he says. "Your customers aren't going to remember you if you don’t stay in front of them."
Related: 3 Ways to Make a Killer Impression Online (Infographic)
4. Refresh Your Employee Training.
Do you have clear expectations on how your employees should engage with your customers? If not, it's time to update your training. Ruisi suggests using down time to train your team on building strong customer relationships. Hold meetings, develop scripts, and engage in role playing. "If they don't understand the heart of your business, your employees can destroy your customer base by accident," says Ruisi.