Spice Up Your Summer Schedule

Is summer your slow season? It doesn't have to be.

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Depending on your business, summertime can be your slowest season. Your customers, employees and partners take vacations at various times, so decisions can get delayed. Many people work summer hours, so schedules can be staggered, which makes planning meetings harder as well. Smart entrepreneurs take advantage of the summer months to work on things they tend to neglect during other times of the year. How can you best leverage the slower months so your business is positioned for growth during busier times of the year?

An ounce of planning is worth a pound of execution. When is the last time you looked at your business plan? Are the assumptions still relevant? How are your revenues and costs panning out vs. your projections? Summer can be a great time to do a pulse check and correct your course as needed based on the actual results to date.

Take your top customers to lunch. Because things tend to slow down in the summer, people have time for a midday break. Invite prospective or lost customers to lunch and listen to what's on their minds. They'll appreciate being asked, and you'll get some qualitative feedback you can incorporate into your plans.

Set up a round of golf and invite three clients or prospects who would enjoy connecting. If you don't play golf, get tickets to a sporting event. It's a fun excuse to get out of the office and chat with people on a more personal level. Business is about relationships, so find ways to deepen the ones you have in meaningful ways. You can never go wrong sharing fun experiences with your associates.

Volunteer in your community. Spend an afternoon helping Habitat for Humanity build a home, or join a walk/run for a good cause. There are lots of great activities in every community where you can help a worthy organization and meet some terrific people along the way. You'll feel great about contributing to a meaningful group and come into contact with other like-minded people who could be great business contacts or sources of referrals for you down the road.

Clean out your file drawers. Forget spring cleaning. Summer is a great time to purge outdated info and go through the paper stacks that have turned into permanent furniture in your office. You can take one drawer or stack every week so the job isn't overwhelming, and by the end of the summer, you'll have more space on your desk and in your head for lots of fresh ideas.

Send thank you notes. Everyone sends holiday cards, but very few people send a note just to say thanks. Summer is a terrific time to do this because it'll really stand out during this slower time of year. Everyone loves to feel appreciated, so tell your employees, partners and customers how much you care about them. It'll make their day.

Take advantage of this season to regroup, refresh and recharge, and pick at least one thing off this list to get started on today. You'll be glad you did, and the rest of the year will be better, busier and more fun because you planned your summertime well. Now about that vacation...

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