The summer months provide ample opportunities for small businesses to leverage their working capital into a revenue stream. Customers spend more time out of their house, students are off of school and families take vacations. Most importantly though, people spend more money. According to Gallup, 45 percent of consumers reported spending more money in the summer compared to only 18 percent who reported spending less. Owners need to take advantage of the warm weather to implement original marketing campaigns and business strategies to draw in new customers and get loyal ones buying more.
Here are five tips small-business owners can use to capitalize on the summer months:
Embrace the weather
If you run a retail shop, now is the perfect time to take your wares to the street. Setting up a sidewalk sale ensures more potential customers see what you have to offer while loyal customers are greeted with a new display of your products. Restaurant owners should add patio seating for diners to eat outside. Not only does this create more satisfied customers, but it also advertises your food to passersby.
Treat your customers
Take advantage of this option by offering loyal customers sporting or concert tickets. Or, have a parking lot picnic treating the customers. According to the Internal Revenue Service, you can claim up to 50 percent of the cost of a meal or entertainment expense as a tax deduction if it is business related. Not only can you treat customers at half the price, but you can establish significant goodwill that people will remember when it comes time to shop at your store or purchase your services.
Get involved in the community
The summertime is ground zero for street festivals and carnivals. These events draw sizable crowds from across the socioeconomic spectrum of the local community. Use this opportunity to advertise your company either by becoming a partial sponsor or setting up a booth and selling goods. This will increase your brand awareness and indicate to customers that you care about the community.
Utilize the downtime
While the summer might be the busy season for some companies, for others it might mark a slowdown. Customers and essential staff members take vacations, and people can be more occupied with graduations, weddings and other gatherings, leaving less time for shopping and making purchases. A good way to use this downtime is by tackling that project you’ve had sitting on the back burner during the busy season. Whether it’s clearing out old inventory or having staff go through specialized training scenarios, be sure to use the downtime wisely. Situations like this also create the perfect opportunity for small-business owners to develop a fall marketing strategy that’s ready to hit the ground running once summer is over.
Take a break
If the summer months are slow for your business, use this time to go on a vacation yourself. Small-business owners – especially hands-on management-type owners – need time to decompress and release a year’s worth of stress and worries. Without taking time to rest your body and mind, you can hinder your ability to act to your fullest potential. Take time to detach from the company to rejuvenate yourself and you’ll be surprised how much more productive you can be. Be sure you schedule this trip at least one month in advance, but the earlier you inform customers and business associates the better. This allows you and your staff to plan for your eventual departure from the office so everyone knows who will be taking on your responsibilities.