How small businesses use summer to their advantage

Business, Money

Have you noticed something amiss at your small business this summer? Even businesses that aren’t seasonally specific (like boat rentals at the beach, for instance), often feel the solstice pain: as temperatures rise, productivity (and profits) can plummet. Something about the hot weather makes employees lose a little edge and focus, and more are out of the office on vacation.

In addition, new business opportunities can be harder to come by. But rather than spend the rest of the summer stressing out, why not consider a paradigm shift and use the remaining time to take stock, recharge, and do some strategic planning?

Importance of downtime

First off, don’t waste energy lamenting lost productivity from vacationing employees. Time off, in fact, is an important piece to the productivity puzzle. While managing around employee absences can be challenging, research shows that everyone benefits in the long run from employees utilizing their vacation time.

Project Time Off, a study from the Society for Human Resource Management on the value of vacations, found that an overwhelming 77% of HR mangers said that employees who “take most or all of their vacation time are more productive in their jobs than those who do not.” The respondents also reported that taking vacation leads to higher performance and greater job satisfaction.

So, instead of bemoaning the empty offices in August, take heart in the long-term benefits to your employees and the business.

Catch-up opportunities

This is also an ideal time to catch up on those tasks that fall to the bottom of the to-do list during busy times. It’s a great time to have employees tackle housekeeping items that might not take as much bandwidth, like digitizing records or refreshing or updating collateral materials or the company website.

  • Take a look at some of the back-office tasks that you’ve been putting off, like employee handbooks, training opportunities, compliance audits, or focus groups. Reach out for help from experts when you actually have the time to process their advice.
  • Use the change of pace to do some big strategic thinking. Before the summer ends, schedule a brainstorming session with your management team, or even do an off-site.
  • If you’re a management team of one, turn your attention away, if only for a moment, from the day-to-day grind of the operation and focus on what’s next and how to ramp up when the summer slump turns into a fruitful fall.