Three Strategies For A Profitable Summer
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For most organizations, the summer months are typically slower and quieter. While there will always be “stuff” to do, summer usually means fewer sales meetings, regular hours, and a chance to take a breather. While these may not be the most historically profitable months, they can -if done right- be the most beneficial months in setting the firm up for short and long term gains.
Here are three tried-and-tested strategies for making the most of quieter times:
1. Create and Implement Processes
As the organization grows, both in terms of people and complexity, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain consistency. The way most businesses would train a new member would sound like this: “This is Jack, he’s been doing this role for seven years. Shadow with him for the next four weeks, and learn what he does”. This is a recipe for disaster. Apart from learning Jack’s bad habits, there will almost definitely also be a drop in quality, and you cannot risk that in a growing company.
The only way to maintain quality is through implementing strong processes throughout the organization. When the pace slows, and there is some extra time, invest it in the creation of processes for every department. Have the department managers and teams to develop the wire-frame and steps, and -once signed off- have them train the rest of the departments on how their process works. This will have several immediate benefits: it will make everyone aware of what this department does; the members within the department will get a chance to be recognized; and theirs will be a higher level of ownership of the outcome for the team members. Result: fewer errors, higher efficiency, better teamwork.
If a business is a machine, marketing is the engine. It drives the success of the organization, creates the brand recognition in the market, and attracts opportunities. Content, then, is the fuel for the marketing: without it, the engine is running on fumes. Over 64% of buying decisions begin with online searches, and good content -not advertising- is the best way to attract online attention. Blogs, videos, tutorials, interviews, white papers, podcasts… the range of content that you can put out is almost infinite.
Given the stats, why do so few companies generate content consistently? The culprit is often time. We get “busy,” everyone has other things to do, and the content is put on hold. Well, what better time that summer to revisit this? Every week, if each department were to prepare one blog or article, marketing will have enough material for the rest of the year, at a minimum. Additionally, consider getting your corporate videos and images redone- less day-to-day work pressure will mean managers and team members will have time to prepare and look good on camera.
There is a complex dance between the various requirements of the business, and training (usually) gets stepped on the most. In terms of ROI, however, there is no better place to invest than in the people of the organization. You must have heard that famous example where the CFO says: “What if we train our people and they all leave?,” to which the CEO replies: “What if we don’t train them, and they all stay?”
Trainings are normally relegated due to financial and time constraints. If the first six months of the year have not allowed financial issues to reduce, there is a different discussion we need to have. Time-wise, people generally have less stress at this time of year- invest that extra time in getting them to learn and grow. The entire organization will benefit.
What areas should you look to train? It definitely depends on the organization, but typical areas would include the sales, marketing, and the cash-generation machine, accountability and process creation, as well as setting and reporting KPIs. There are other, more niche, areas, such as leadership development, financial management and budgeting and business planning, but this may only be for certain members of the team.