Summer is here, and it brings with it much awaited sunshine, the smell of freshly mowed grass and some much needed downtime! For some businesses, the approaching summer translates to a slow and lean period.
Your staff is most likely looking to take some time off from work or they might be looking to adjust their schedules to accommodate children who are out of school. On the other hand, for some companies, summer is the busy season.
Whichever category your small or medium sized business falls into, the summer months offer some unique opportunities, as well as challenges, that all businesses need to prepare for ahead of time.
Here are five tips to ensure that your business stays ahead of the curve, no matter what the summer months throw at you.
1. Get Vacation Requests In Now
This is the time of year that everyone is looking to take some time off. Some of your employees have already made (or are in the process of making) vacation plans that include a week or more of Paid Time Off (PTO).
Request your employees to submit their time-off forms now to help you plan ahead for when your staff members will be out of the office.
There is always the possibility that your employees may decide to take a long weekend here or a day or two there, throughout the summer months, but it’s the extended vacation requests that will cause you needless worry if it’s not taken care of right now.
Getting vacation requests ahead of time allows you to see the members of your team that will be out and also when they will be taking the time off. Since some vacation dates are sure to overlap, early notification will give you much needed time to create a plan of action and keep your business operating smoothly while your employees enjoy their much-deserved time off.
Advance notice also provides your payroll department with the time they need to accommodate the accounts to have money for paid-time-off. As you are well aware, these seemingly small disruptions to your workflow can have an unwanted big impact on your Cash Flow.
Having prior knowledge of your team’s availability allows you to shift work, move deadlines, communicate commitments to your clients as well as oversee processes to keep your business running as usual, even if you don’t have a full staff.
2. Evaluate Your Staffing Needs
In addition to asking for time-off requests, use this time to see if you need to adjust your company’s staffing for the summer. Some businesses may have to increase their staff for the summer to meet customer demand.
These types of businesses may include:
- Home and Garden Stores
- Lawn Care Services
- Air Conditioning Service Providers
- Pool Supply and Cleaning Services
Whether you’re tied to the demands of the season, providing lawn care and A/C repair services, or if you’re tied to seasonal travel trends, such as hotels and restaurants, businesses that cater to summer time sun and fun may want to consider increasing seasonal staff now to accommodate the approaching summer spike in business.
Getting a head start on vacation scheduling and seasonal hiring plans now will help you keep cool and calm in the summer.
3. Declutter your Workspace
In a previous blog, we discussed four great Spring Cleaning tips to help you declutter your workspace as well as your small business processes. This is something all businesses should consider, implement and follow through on a regular basis. It’s not too late to implement some of those suggestions even now, in the summer.
It’s always a good practice to tidy up all aspects of your business so you can focus on the more important tasks like growth and profitability.
Take this time to clean up the mess on your desk, shred the items you don’t need and make room to tackle your summer list. Going Paperless in your business can really set the overall tone to get your financial house in order and also gives you the best return on your time and investment.
How about looking at your presence in social media platforms and reviewing them to clean and maybe close out the ones you are not using anymore? Make sure your presence and brand messaging in social media is what you want it to be.
4. Invest in Maintenance Now While You Can
In life and in business, a proactive approach is a much better strategy than reacting after the fact. Take inventory now to see if anything is in need of a tune-up, an upgrade, or a replacement.
How is your cooling system running? A proactive cleaning and maintenance of your air conditioning units and ducts is always a better, and usually cheaper strategy than an emergency service call once the hot weather strikes. The worst thing that could happen is to have your AC shut down during the middle of a heat wave, which may impact your ability to serve clients.
And, if you schedule your maintenance or replacement now, you may even be able to set up a payment plan with the service company to spread your costs out over a few months.
5. Review Your Business Continuity Plans
Along with fun in the sun, summer also has a darker side with a reputation for severe weather events.
Hurricane season is already upon us, and companies along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico need to be prepared, while companies located in the middle of the country are at higher risk for tornadoes. And, as we’ve seen more frequently in the past few years, even a bad thunderstorm or flash flood can knock out power, sometimes for more than just a few hours.
It’s important to have a contingency plan in place for when nature strikes to keep your business running smoothly with as few disruptions as possible.
Do you have a generator in place, in case should the company loses power? Is your information securely backed up? If necessary, can your employees work remotely? Do you have a cloud-based financial system that can keep your business running if you don’t have power and/or access to your office?
These are all important items to consider and plan for ahead of time.
Additionally, you need to make sure all of your employees know your plan of action if should something happen to your office, or should they have difficulty getting to work. Make sure all of your staff has provided you with the correct contact information in event of an emergency.
If you have the ability to allow staff to work remotely, make sure you and your employees test it out so that if they are not able to get to work – they can log on remotely.
These are just a few ideas for your business to ensure that the summer ahead is more enjoyable instead of it taking up all of your time and resources.
Plan ahead now, so you can spend some time enjoying the warm season with some rest and relaxation.