During the summertime, many businesses experience a seasonal slowdown as typical customer spending habits get disrupted or put on hold. Unless you run a seasonal business (like a surf shop) that thrives in the heat, you may find your small business’s finances experiencing some stress as the temperature rises. Here are a few things you can do to keep your cool.
How to Keep Your Finances Cool in the Summertime Heat
1. Keep Your Costs Down – Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for the slowdown. Start planning now for next summer’s slowdown. Reduce your inventory, and keep full-time staff minimal, if you can. Every summer, there are plenty of students on school break willing to take over essential (but low-profile) tasks such as cleaning or running a register who can be more cost effective than your regular full-time employees. Avoid making big purchases (like equipment) during this period as well.
Energy costs can also soar during the summertime and keeping an eye on your energy use can have a big impact on your bottom line. Using electronics before noon and after seven in the evening can help keep your workplace cooler. If you’re a professional working from home, try to arrange your work activities around these hours. Restaurants can save money by doing prep cooking early in the morning; while businesses that need to keep regular hours can try to complete high energy activities like running a copy machine or vacuum cleaner during cooler times of day.
2. Kick Up Your Marketing Efforts – Summer offers many opportunities for stepping up marketing efforts; from beat-the-heat deals to back-to-school specials. When business is slow, you will some time on your hands to think about your marketing plan, to reevaluate what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t, and to revise your strategy accordingly.
You can also take advantage of the free time to reach out to your surrounding community – both online and off. Online, you should spend some time updating your Facebook and Twitter pages with new announcements, products, and services. Engage with your online customers and they will continue to spread the word about your business.
Offline, take a road trip to explore similar businesses in neighboring towns or cities to see what strategies they’re employing to keep customers coming in during the summer. Summer also offers plenty of community events, from picnics to fireworks to potlucks, which can be wonderful opportunities to get to know new people in your area and talk up your business.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Look for Help – Even if you’ve trimmed down your costs and upped your marketing efforts, many small businesses may need a little financial help to get them through the slow summer months. Taking out a small business loan or taking advantage of alternative financing (like invoice financing) to keep your costs covered until business picks up again can relieve the pressure on your business and give you some flexibility during the lean times. It can also help build your business’s credit and establish a relationship with lenders – a bonus for the next time you need a loan to grow or expand your business.
About the Author:
Mariah Courtney is the Online Community Manager at Biz2Credit. She is an entrepreneurial and social media evangelist with a passion for writing and travelling. Former experience includes running the social media program at The Receivables Exchange and copywriting for WPromote, Inc.
Founded in 2007, Biz2Credit Business Loans is a leading credit marketplace connecting small- and medium-sized businesses with lenders, service providers, and complementary business tools. Having arranged $800 million in funding throughout the U.S., Biz2Credit is the #1 online credit resources for small business loans, lines of credit, working capital and other funding options. Follow us on Twitter for small business news and updates.