Many micro business owners choose to slow their business activity down during the summer months. For crafters who busy themselves with summer fairs and farmer’s markets, the weekends stay hopping, but those lazy-day summer temptations can still set in during the week. If you're building a lifestyle business, or simply striving to bring extra income into the household, a lengthy seasonal break probably fits right into your plan. For business owners who wish to expand, it's just not realistic.
As a business coach, I find it curious that a client would take off for the summer only to feel crunched for time the remainder of the year. This tendency forces many critical activities to take a backseat, thus preventing the entrepreneur from being in the driver's seat of their business.
Sure, it's cool to slow down during the hot summer months, but leave time to break a little sweat and get ahead of the game. Here are a few summertime business activities to help you do just that!
1. Develop a new product offering.
Now is the perfect time to shake things up in your product line. What creative ideas have been on the back burner for a bit too long? Push those little gems forward and set them on fire now to have them ready for holiday sales. For new ideas grab your laptop or tablet, take the kids to the pool and sit on the sidelines to do a little research. Enjoy the weather--a new environment may just get those creative juices flowing.
2. Do some field research.
There are different types of craft fairs all over the country, why not visit a few of them to give you an edge back home? By obtaining inspiration from different people and places, not just through the internet or magazines, you’ll be able to gain a new, fresh outlook on the arts and crafts world. Do some research beforehand to make sure you find the events that best suit your craft. Be careful not to gain too much inspiration from one person or booth.
3. Update your marketing plan.
Marketing plans are not intended to be evergreen; they must be dynamic. Dust off your plan this summer, measure the success of each strategy, and fix or change what is not working. Evaluate how well you’ve implemented each aspect of your plan. If there are things on there that you’ve never gotten to, it’s time to replace them with marketing activities that you will act upon. For the important pieces of the plan that lie dormant, get help. Stop believing you’ll get around to it someday if an entire calendar year has passed with no movement. Build upon your original ideas, stay current with your options in the ever-changing environment of digital marketing and revisit your customers' needs and desires.
4. Evaluate your website.
What are you still doing the old-fashioned way? Is it easy to navigate? Is the checkout process streamlined? How about the images? Do you have the latest dynamic technology in place to showcase each product? Your customers can’t touch, smell, or hold your products. Give them the next best thing with high quality images and an up-close look at details.
5. Raise your social media IQ.
Too many micro business owners don't make enough time for social media marketing. If your attempts in social aren't working, you're doing something wrong. According to Hubspot, 92% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. If you don't know anything about strategy hire a savvy summer intern, take a few online courses and read the most popular social media marketing blogs and books.
6. Build content.
Content is one of the best tools when it comes to search engine optimization, building your reputation and enticing your customers. If your blog is lacking in presence, now is the time to make a list of topics for the remainder of the year and get as many posts as possible scheduled to release weekly. You are in an ideal niche to add video to the mix as well. Show your customers how to build beautiful baskets incorporating your gifts. Demonstrate simple, handmade crafts to entertain the kids during summer break. So many possibilities! Write your posts and record your videos well ahead of time to prevent a gap when things are too busy to maintain your blog.
7. Lighten up your winter load.
You have a busy holiday season ahead. Think back over the years and consider the things that take you off focus during the winter gift-buying season and make a list of things you can do early. Do some of your own holiday shopping now. Write your greeting cards out ahead of time. Do what you can to pre-plan or put things into play now to lighten the load later.