Summertime means holiday and a slowdown in the business world. It’s also a time when I see businesses sometimes panic, thinking only of lost productivity and lower sales. However, a slowdown can be very good for a company being a great time to pause and do a little professional housekeeping. Rarely do busy executives and managers have a chance to tackle neglected and deferred projects, organise their office and calendar, and do some future planning.
Consider the summer slowdown as an opportunity to focus on long term plans for a change, revisiting and recommitting to the core strategies that drive your business.
Here are five things you can do to make the most out of your downtime this summer:
Summer is the midpoint of the year and that makes it a good time to assess the half you’ve just completed and make plans for the next one. Systematically review your business goals, staffing situation, and recruitment activities and make sure the business or your department is on track to hit its targets. If it isn’t, now is the time to reassess those goals and put new ones in place, based on the company’s performance thus far this year. This kind of assessment and planning will better prepare you for what’s around the corner.
Upgrade systems and processes
You now have the time to install software upgrades and also learn how to more effectively use the programs and applications you rely on every day, like Excel, PowerPoint or WordPress. If you’ve been meaning to update the company’s website or social media pages, summer is the time to make sure your digital presence is current and compelling.
A business is only as successful as its people so it’s vitally important to invest in yourself during the downtown. Start tackling that big pile of reading (industry publications, relevant articles, research papers, etc) you’ve been putting off. Develop new skills and sharpen existing ones through online courses. Organise yourself and your office.
Do an audit of your suppliers
During the busier periods of the year, you don’t have time to objectively assess your supplierss to determine which ones are working and which should be replaced or contracts renegotiated. During the summer, you can. Informally audit your suppliers with an eye toward cost and time savings.
Network – make new connections and strengthen old ones
Take advantage of the downtime others are having to connect or reconnect. With most companies in low gear, you can feel better about reaching out to try and develop new relationships, as well as strengthen existing ones. Remember, not everyone is at the beach and reaching out to connections and clients is the most personalised form of marketing. Get in touch with important connections and clients, especially those you haven’t checked in with because you’ve been too busy.