What should you be doing this summer?

using the summer holidays to make your business plansIt’s the summer holidays. Everyone is on holiday – at least that’s what many people tell believe.

That then, somehow, becomes a reason for them not to do things to move their business forward. That may be technology improvements, it may be staff training or whatever.

What do the summer holidays look like?

Summer holidays are six weeks, from July to early September.  If you have school-age children, it is likely you will be taking at least some holiday during this time. You don’t have a choice unless you want their school reporting you to the local council. You take 1-2 weeks off.

Across every business in the country, there is a similar situation, with people taking holiday, but they are highly unlikely to have much more than two weeks off, so, at worst, only 1/3rd of your clients or prospects are on holiday.

Your Resources

The same goes for your staff. Let’s assume they all take two weeks off during the summer holidays. That means your business is 33% down, in terms of the resources you have. This assumes you manage the holidays your staff take, so that there aren’t a huge number of people off at the same time – they are called Holiday Request Forms (click here for an explanation of what you can and cannot do) after all.

Depending on your needs and your trading patterns, you have a number of choices:

If the summer is busy:

  • Recruit temporary staff or give overtime to those who aren’t on holiday.
  • If possible, build up stock before the peak periods so you have what you need available.
  • Work every hour possible

If the summer is quiet:

  • Let more people have time off at the same time
  • Manage production so that you have the stock available for the upcoming peak periods
  • Chill out, doing very little
  • Use the time to plan for the future.

The most productive use of your time will be to plan for the future. What are you going to do in the Autumn, Winter and early 2019 to take your business forward?

What needs to be done?

  • Schedule some downtime

You cannot work all year around and expect to be fully productive. You need some time off. Ideally away from your laptop and even your phone. However, we know what it is like and so you may need to be close to them. Schedule a minimal amount of time (and tell your partner – they will keep you to your schedule) and only spend that time in the business.

  • Looking Back

What has happened over the last 3, 6 or 12 months? Has the business hit its targets or missed them somewhat?

Can you see why this is the case? Did you do everything you planned to do in order to help the business hit its targets? What worked and what didn’t?

Looking back helps you to plan for the future. As they say in the financial services adverts “past performance is no guarantee of future performance”, but it will help you to make better decisions around what is likely to work better going forward.

  • What are your new targets?

You cannot plan for the future without targets. If you grew 5% over the last 12 months and you want to grow by 15% in the coming 12 months, it’s likely you need to do three times as much to deliver the growth. You have to be able to commit three times the resources. You may end up using less than that, but you have to budget for it.

  • Who/Where are your targets?

If you are looking to grow your business significantly, are you going to do this within your current target audiences and products/services? Do you need to consider product diversification or perhaps a market expansion strategy?

  • Planning

To achieve the targets you’ve set the business, you need a plan. In the unlikely event that everything you did before worked, you simply need to do more of that. If that isn’t the case, what are you going to do? Your plan needs to include:

  • Budgets
  • Resources, including skill sets and time
  • Timescales

Without a plan, it is unlikely that everything will get done, particularly if the plan involves other people and/or companies.

Why Plan Now?

Simple. You are taking advantage of the quiet period that the summer holiday are. If you leave it to September when everyone gets back from their holidays, you will be busy again and you won’t do the planning your business needs.

If you do your planning now, you will be ahead of most of your competitors who “took the summer off because their clients did”.

I hope this helps

Want a hand? Call us on 020 8634 5911 or click here