Many small business owners have a tendency to fall into a bit of a lull over the summer.
But summer is a great time to do a mid-year review of your business and perhaps make some smart moves while your competitors are taking it easy.
The idea is to work smarter, not necessarily harder. Business owners often prefer to conduct reviews at the beginning or end of a year and leave summers alone. But what happens is, you come back from vacation and immediately get slammed trying to catch up and deal with past problems instead of looking for opportunities to ramp up after Labor Day.
As a result, businesses end up with the same troubled systems, processes or employees, so nothing changes. Then, suddenly, the year is almost over, and valuable opportunities have passed you by.
Now is as good a time to hit the accelerator on improving your strengths and eliminating weaknesses.
Here are seven benefits of conducting a mid-year review of your business:
- Reviewing now provides more time to implement changes. If you want to make changes, such as ordering new inventory, hiring and training a new employee or launching a marketing campaign, it will take time to get those things rolling. So it’s better to start now rather than waiting until fall.
- You can act while other businesses are procrastinating. Set a goal to take action on at least one or two important changes. Do it while your competitors are relaxing, and there will be new sales and a bigger payoff ahead.
- You probably have a good idea of how the year is going. If you did a year-end review last year, you probably raised some important questions, such as: How will sales shape up, or what will this year’s hot products be? What are the biggest current threats? At mid-year, you should have answers to some of those questions and can make mid-course adjustments accordingly.
- A review offers an opportunity to re-grip the reins. Success begins with great leadership. That means you and your appointed managers must stick to the processes you’ve put in place, and do so daily. Mid-year is a good time to assess your own grasp of the situation, and do a gut check on whether you’ve developed the kind of culture you want, and have motivated employees to give their best.
- Nothing good comes from waiting for more numbers. Now is the time to check year-to-date sales figures against projections, and examine reasons you’re doing well, or not. Sitting beside a pool is more fun than running numbers, but when you’ve owned up to them, you’ll know where your business stands, and what you need to do to get (or keep) it on track. You can squeeze in some down time later.
- Opportunities may exist now that will disappear later. By conducting a mid-year checkup, you’ll be able to reevaluate the products and services that could add value to your current customers while attracting new ones. When you’re thinking about going after new opportunities, ask yourself a few key questions. What are my key strengths, and how can I leverage them to grow revenues? What weaknesses can I shore up? Are there product or service lines I’m just not good at that I should eliminate to focus on others?
- There’s no better time to re-energize employees. One great way to re-energize employees is to set an end-of-summer goal and pre-holiday objectives. For example, you might develop a summer special around those goals, and give employees an opportunity to upsell customers on a special limited time offer. Some employees may be looking for extra summer cash, so offering spot bonuses for a job well done can boost morale and productivity. The idea is to keep employees focused before they leave for vacation and hungry when they return.
When summer is over, your business will be focused and well positioned for a great sprint to the end of the year.
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