The summertime isn’t very kind to many small business owners. As they sweat in the sweltering heat of July and August, small business owners often struggle to cope with reduced sales and seasonality. What’s a small business owner to do?
Summer may be the time for customers to lounge, but business owners should be doing the opposite. With slowed sales, entrepreneurs looking to enhance their businesses should consider shifting their focus to development. Why worry about increasing your client base when half of them are away on vacation anyway? Instead, concentrate on making your business better. When your regular clients return from their travels, relaxed and tanned, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by the improved quality of your business’ goods and services. Check out these tips to keep your business active while your clients are at the beach:
Stay out of the red
Summer’s decreased clientele can be hard on your business’ finances. Fortunately, factoring and invoice financing are two great forms of small business financing you can use to keep your business afloat until sales pick up in the fall.
- Factoring involves the sale of your company’s invoices at a discount to a third party that collects the payments that are later due to your business. In this way, working with a factor allows you to maintain a healthy cash flow while you wait to receive invoice payments.
- Invoice financing is similar to factoring, except it allows you to maintain control of your finances, rather than allowing the third party that purchased your invoices to interact directly with your clients.
- Purchase order financing is another great, short-term solution, as it allows you to pay your suppliers through a letter of credit, which you’ll later pay in full once you’ve successfully liquidated your clients’ orders.
Train your staff
Your grandmother probably put it best: “Good help is hard to find.” Hiring great employees is critical to the success of your business, but hiring is only half the battle. The key to maintaining a great staff is to invest in them. Just because you’ve hired talented people doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way. Keep them sharp over the summer months by teaching them new tips and tricks to make them even better at their jobs. And if you’ve been noticing mistakes, the summer is definitely the best time to correct them.
Revamp your digital presence
It’s a digital world, and we’re just living in it. Staying on top of the Internet can be overwhelming, but keeping your business’ online presence up to date is essential to maintaining its relevance. It’s more than just having a streamlined website (though that certainly is important). When it comes to modernizing your public outreach, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest are all fair game.
While your customers are away, what better project than to build your relationships with other businesspeople? Networking can sound self-serving, but I prefer to think of it as making friends with people who share your business interests. And when you think of it that way, you start to realize that befriending your fellow entrepreneurs can help take your business to the next level. Be generous with your favors, and you’ll be sure to receive some in return if you need them.
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