business planning

How has your summer been?  Good I hope and a chance to enjoy the sun (when it’s been out!).  My August has been fairly quiet to be honest.  A good chance for me to take stock and focus some time on building my online courses (I have just launched my AtoZ of sales and marketing and am now working on “Customer service excellence” so watch this space).

I am not a believer in the ‘summer being quiet so let’s take our foot of the gas’. I appreciate some industries are seasonal but many aren’t and they only appear so since we believe things will go quiet so we stop marketing, selling, meeting etc and thus it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I have no evidence that my industry is traditionally quiet in the summer.  Yes of course, people go on holidays and become harder to contact but with enough forward planning we can still have a profitable business during July and August.

The problem with a quiet period is that it causes us to go through big swings of being super busy and then super quiet, and these peaks and troughs are not good for our business, our cashflow or our motivation.

We need to plan for more challenging times by foreseeing them and working harder to avoid these peaks and troughs.  I have written before the importance of balancing how you split your time and in this instance you need to plan effectively.  Of course we can’t always predict what will happen (Brexit for example) but we can work hard to smooth out the peaks and troughs and ensure a consistent level of work.  What does this mean in reality?  Here are 5 tips:

  • If you want to ensure July and August are busy then work hard at your sales and marketing in March/April and May
  • Work out when you are working and when you are not (this is particularly important for the sole traders and start-ups) – don’t just sit at your desk trying to fill your time.  Work hard when you are working and don’t work the other times
  • Schedule your work, your client meetings etc in the weeks you are working and in advance.  Make sure your workload and staffing levels match
  • Plan ahead – know when your prospects are back from holiday and get ready to get busy in September
  • Use down time to get projects done – those things you put off or those new initiatives (for me the online training) that you haven’t had time for

So considering I started this blog post by saying I have had a fairly quiet August, what do I need to take away from this?  Several things really:

  1. We reap what we sow – put a lot of effort into your sales and marketing now and 3-6 months later it will bear fruit
  2. Having a slower client month has given me the breathing space to develop my online presence, something I have been planning to do for a long while
  3. Enjoy the downtime and breathing space before it gets busy in the Autumn!

If you have any other tips I would love to hear them and please get in touch if you want some help planning your business over the next 6 months.

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