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Summer Is Bad For Business
Business isn't best in the summer, there are too many distractions and people go on vacation, decreasing productivity.
 Andie47   31 Jul 2008 21:59
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Many businesses dread the summer. Anecdotal evidence suggests they find it one of the toughest periods in their financial year. As those hazy, lazy days approach, business is said to be slow, and profits dip. It's a concern for many, from small business owner to corporate CEOs – any business not in the summer season industry suffers. It’s not difficult to see why.

There are many reasons why summer is a nightmare for a company. Many key staff take their annual leave, leaving piles of mysterious paperwork and take with them critical information that nobody else seems to know.

Likewise, new and potential clients are on vacation, leaving salesman drumming their fingers and tearing their hair out. The domestic retail industry suffers as holidaymakers save their dollars to spend on their vacation. Customers are just not in the mindset to spend money.

It’s tough for a business to network when people are on their summer vacation, recently nurtured relationships can evaporate like a rock pool in the beach sun.

Even supply chains are affected, with some manufacturers often choosing to slow down or reduce production. And who feels like working anyway, when everybody is having a good time preparing their barbeques and trips to the lake?

If your business relies on dealing with companies in Europe, their summer vacation culture can make matters even worse.

It’s a time when businesses have many choices to make. It’s a time to dig your bunker, turn off the lights and sit patiently waiting for things to turn. Where possible production should be scaled down in advance, and overheads minimised. Every dollar saved helps the bottom line.

There is some hope. The summer period is an ideal opportunity to take a look at your business and explore your strategies objectively. Use that time to analyse all your key areas of expenditure and revenue, and see if they can be streamlined, re-structured or improved.

When was the last time you looked at your business's energy consumption, or negotiated with your energy suppliers? Are there equipment maintenance schedules you can bring forward to reduce future downtime?

Invest time into compiling your organisation’s key goals for the next 12 months and beyond. It’s a great time to analyse your organisation’s successes and failures, you have time to think out of the box, so be creative.

It’s a perfect opportunity for training and development without distraction. It’s a great time to implement team building exercises and marketing brainstorm events at outdoor activity centres.

The summer slowdown can be an ideal time to roll-out new technology and implement new work processes. Some of your computer server systems can be overhauled and maintained for example. Analyse your stages of production, are there control loop mechanisms you can put in place to improve the processes?

Design and implement procedures for improved communication flow. If you find an employee is on holiday and taken special knowledge with him, then a better system should be in place to log critical data. There are many communication and workflow tools available which can sit on your network, so that everyone has access to key information. In the technological age, there is no excuse for ‘not knowing’.

Consider whether there are any opportunities for your business to maximise the benefits that summer brings. Many smart entrepreneurs have discovered fantastic opportunities for diversification, by looking at their product range or service and adapting it to suit markets which traditionally see summer as a growth period. Can your processes and skill-set be adapted for use in the air-conditioning, solar energy or even ice cream industry?

Summer is a great time for exhibitions. Let’s imagine you work in CCTV equipment, and typically sell to shops and small businesses. You could share an exhibition space with a company selling summer holiday homes, or a company selling horseboxes that need to monitor their animals in transit.

You don’t need to tackle this on your own. Consider whether your product or service can be useful to another company who is busy during this period. By teaming up with another organisation, a new product and market might emerge.

Another opportunity to turn a weakness into strength is by use of bargaining power. If you have a regular supplier who needs business in these months, you’re in an ideal negotiating position to get the best prices and boost your stock inventory.

Climate and season should not be barrier to strengthening your business. If it’s traditionally a quiet time for your business, you need to use that time effectively. There are many opportunities for you to think out of the box and implement change, which will in the short, medium and long term, improve your bottom line.

There is no good or bad time, only good or bad practice.
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