Seasons of a business - Summer AJS

Summer is a time for the outdoors. 

For walking along promenades, for dipping toes in the sea and getting your feet covered in sand. It’s a time “Summer Romances”, ice cream dripping from cheeks and watermelon pieces galore. 

It’s a time for swimming, for braaiing (or barbequing), for entertaining family and friends and looking forward to playing sport in green fields, to late nights with crickets chirping and summer rainstorms. 

Some people even take vacation in Summer. Yes, that may throw some of you….

But Summer is all about experiences and making memories. 

And this feeling of fun got us thinking. As human beings we’re affected by the world around us. By the rainstorms and days spent in the sun. Our days are brightened by the chirping of the crickets and the smell of roasted marshmallows. 

Does this extend to our businesses too? How does the freshness of summer affect business operations? 

What’s the situation?

Business operations during Summer

With the Summer season flirting with us from afar, we start counting the days until we can swim in our swimming pools and popsicle sticks. There may even be fairgrounds in the future with screams of delight heard from far.  

We all sense the need for some summer frolicking. We all feel hopeful, we all feel more at peace and with that, there is a definitive sigh of relief.  

One thing is for sure – it’s time to start planning what we can do to bring our businesses out into the summer sunshine too. 

In preparation for a little fun, try these suggestions on for size – 

What are the current demands on your business?

What businesses often experience during Summer – according to an Incfile Summer Survey – is hiring talent, marketing, and increased operating hours. Here are a few tips to mitigate these challenges:

Ø  Plan ahead (if possible) – in an ideal world, one would have already planned for Summer as soon as the last Summer ended. But if that didn’t happen, start by making notes of what worked for your business and what didn’t. Then take those points and make a list of new ideas to try, create a sort of roadmap. Take the bull by the horns and get cracking. You won’t know if you don’t try. 

Ø  Widen your talent pool – perhaps a way of keeping up with the summer influx of work is by hiring new employees. This may include hiring temporary personnel to fill a hole during busier months. Or this could be the hiring of more permanent, professional staff. Perhaps it’s a mix of both. This will depend on what your budget is for salaries. But one thing is certain – sometimes if you need help, you need help. Assess this and be open to the possibility of hiring temporary staff to help out. It shouldn’t be an all or nothing approach here.  

Ø  Test out new “things” – whether it be marketing strategies or a new piece of tech. The same can be said for Summer. You need to reach out to new markets, test out new ideas. Summer is all about testing new waters, about trying out new things and growing where you can. Don’t be afraid. The goal here is to increase demand for the services you provide. 

Show your business off (on social media)

Summer represents – to many of us – a chance to be seen, to be out in the open and a chance to express ourselves. 

And the same can be said for our businesses – it’s time for their moment in the sun. A great way to do this is to drive traffic to your website and do a little (tasteful) bragging on social media. 

According to be on – usage of social media and sharing of social media posts is nearly double in Summer compared to other seasons. People are posting and sharing about outdoor activities and all the fun they’re finally having. 

This represents a perfect time for businesses to ramp up their posts. Get their names out there. Or perhaps even introduce new clients to what they do. Its easy to engage with your audience, especially since they are already on the socials. So, take advantage of this increased usage! 

You can grow your business with social media in a variety of ways – 

Ø  By posting photos and videos of your staff at work – give clients (and potential clients) a peek behind the curtains. By allowing people “in” you appear more approachable, easier to do business with. Human. And that’s appealing – who wouldn’t want to do business with someone they can relate to, with a business that speaks to them?

Ø  By posting summer-related content – whether you post about something offered by your business or not, content that’s relevant to your industry and to the season is a great way to capitalise on summer. Sharing other posts is great too. It shows that you’re engaging and interested in the world (and the businesses) around you. Humility also goes a long way.

Ø  By creating content – express your business’s opinion. Show that you do, indeed, have a voice. Relevant written content is instrumental in increasing your reach and attracting new business. By judiciously sprinkling in relevant keywords and using other search engine optimisation tricks, you’ll help more people come across your business in their searches. What you write will depend on your business. As an example, you want your content to not only promote your business, but to also be useful and interesting to your target audience. Entice audiences to work with you. 

Ø  Remember that the customer experience is crucial – your goal when interacting with your audience, should be an easy and frictionless customer experience. You want your clients to return to you time and again and you want them to help spread your name by word of mouth. They can only do this if interacting with you is easy. If interacting with you gets them what they want or need.  Part of this is ensuring you have enough employees to serve your clients. 

Review Your Cash Flow Forecast

Conquering your cash flow as a business owner can be a challenge. Partly because during the year, there will be times when your business is busier than other times. Seasonal upticks and downturns. And this inconsistency can make it difficult to properly plan in order to stay on top of cash flow issues throughout the year. 

As set out in Entrepreneur – 

“One of the most critical components for business growth is access to capital. Consistent and convenient credit empowers business owners to expand the scale of their operations, diversify their revenue streams, acquire new tools and technology, and provide a buffer against economic downturns”.

Staying on top of cash flow problems by having a cash flow forecast is crucial. You can do this by preparing a 13-week forecast to stay on top of inflows and outflows of payments. This additional analysis into your financial systems gives you the insight you need to properly prepare for times of drought, and times of excess.

Maintain a Work-Life Balance

If there’s any season that speaks to balance it would be Summer. 

A busy practitioner doing everything they can do keep up with demand while also trying to grow their business, who is also yearning to take advantage of lazy days on the porch must remember balance. 

Don’t strive for growth by forgetting about your own mental and physical well-being. Staying balanced during peak seasons can sometimes feel impossible – burnout is a serious risk – so finding a way to keeping burn out at bay is key. Business owners can and must take care of themselves while still caring for their businesses, employees, and clients. 

Here are some tips:

Ø  Have a support structure – have people around you in both your personal and professional networks that can support you. That will be there when you need them. You never know when and in what circumstance you may need someone. But just knowing you have them around you can sometimes be comfort enough. And if you need help, ask for it. Don’t struggle in silence. 

Ø  Learn a new hobby – find a recreational activity that you love and build time into your schedule to enjoy it. Your hobby might be reading, perfecting a new craft, playing an instrument — anything that’s unrelated to work. Learn how to take your mind off of things for a while by doing something that brings you inner peace. 

Ø  Go on holiday – it’s ok to take time off. It’s completely acceptable to say that you need it. Plan ahead so that you can decompress and breathe. This is crucial.  

(Sources used and to whom we give thanks: GrowthForce, Americas SBDC, Sumup, Incfile and Entrepreneur.)

While we wait to take our first swim, let’s remember that with every season there is a lesson to be learnt. With each season there’s a plan that needs to be made. 

If you have any questions regarding the information we have set out above or if you have any queries relating to legal tech and how you can incorporate it into your practice, get-in-touch and let’s see how we can take your software solution from good to phenomenal. 

If you don’t have any software supporting your legal practice yet, it’s not a problem. We are here to help you from scratch too. 

AJS – as always – has your back!

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