It’s Summer. So Think Winter.

Memorial Day has passed. Your flip-flops are out, the pool is open, and you’ve got the lemonade and iced tea on tap. With school out and vacations coming up, the season can have a drastic effect on small businesses. Everything that can be put off until August, is, it seems.

 

This time of year, it’s tempting to prop your feet up in the hammock of your business, too. Except if you want to get a leg up on the next big uptick in your business, you’ll do the exact opposite.

 

Jim Rohn, the famous business philosopher, encouraged small business owners to think like ants–one of the most insanely productive creatures out there. So just what do ants do in the summer? They work like crazy to get things in place for winter. They never let up, they just switch focus. If business is slow, it’s the perfect time not to get lax, but to tighten things up and get ready for the next round.

 

Here are six things you can do this summer to prep for a successful fall:

  1. Re-assess (and change) processes.

Who has time to change processes when you’re busy? Slow seasons are a perfect time to step back, look at what’s working and what isn’t, and to make necessary changes to streamline your systems. This can take some major time and effort, but the benefits are myriad. Now is the time to check in and get some of that hard work done.

 

2. Go to summer school.

There’s a continuing education need in every industry, and a whole lot of ways to keep learning. It could be a class you physically go to, or it could be one of the many, many webinars now available on very subject imaginable. With technology and culture changing at lightning pace, slower seasons are a great time to pick up on something new or to revisit skills that need sharpening. Here’s a list of great webinars to get you started.

3. Share the love.

If it’s true that summer is slow for nearly everyone, that means your best clients and potential customers have time to connect with you. Take some time to show some extra appreciation via email, phone call, or in-person meetings. Investing in the people that drive your business will pay off in spades over time.

4. Check in with your goals.

Whether you are a January 1 or July 1 goal-setter, or somewhere in between, now is a perfect season to check on how you’re doing. Did you set a goal that needs to be scaled down? Or are you slaying another one that could grow in the second half of the year? Even a simple skimming-and-revisiting of what you said you would do can keep you on track–or get you back in the game.

5. Update your social media.

Has your business focus changed? Do you need to add skills to your LinkedIn account? Are there seasonal images you could use to spruce up Facebook or Twitter? Schedule a day to update your online profiles so your best face is forward when potential customers check you out.

6. Schedule some honest-to-goodness downtime.

One of the best things you can do for your business is to take some real time off. You can’t go full-throttle, non-stop. If it means going to a place where you literally cannot be reached, like a wifi-free cruise or the middle of Montana, do it. Let a virtual admin field the calls and update your social media accounts, but get away and think about something besides your business. When you return truly refreshed, you’ll really be ready for your Next Big Thing.

 

Ants. They may be the pest of your summer picnic, but smart business owners know that those little guys are the best models of the perseverance that pays off over time.

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