By David Berry: If you're in business for yourself -- particularly in the 'establishment' phases -- you're well attuned to the fact that there is such a thing as a seasonal slow down. Invariably, for many businesses, that season ends up being summer.
The reasons aren't always apparent, but circumstantially, it's easy to find some causes. Employees take multiple, small summer vacations with their families (hey, the kids are out of school), and likewise, so do your clients. Then, there's the simple element of momentum. At the start of a New Year, the holidays are winding down for everyone, so there seems to be a huge rush -- and pressure -- to aim for hyper-productivity. Summer lacks that momentum, as it's sandwiched square in the middle of the year.
Whatever the causes, the summer slow is real for many industries. So, what's a business owner to do in the midst of such a lull?
1. Keep a Sense of Urgency: It's easy to ride the waves when things are good; leads are answering your calls and pushing projects forward in a timely manner. Prospects are showing up in abundance -- life is good! Except, when it's not, and you find yourself without the practiced habit of maintaining diligence in your day-to-day to make sure the lights stay on. It's a lot harder to develop new, good habits than it is to maintain good habits. So, never let up.
2. Eat Lunch with Someone Else 3X Per Week: In a world where most of our communication happens with our hands (texting, emailing, social media), it's easy to forget how critical it is to actually see people in real life. Go figure. I don't know about you, but it seems like more times than not, in-person meetings are not only better for relationships, but they actually lead to more productivity/opportunities between both parties. Time to leave your desk.
3. Reach Out to Cold Leads: I'm not sure what your business looks like, but for every client I have, there are two or three that never got off the ground for one reason or another. So, reach back out to them. On the phone or in person. They may not answer your emails for the simple fact that whatever they have to say in response is too complicated to articulate, so they go cold. Push them into action and see if you can close.
4. Try to Grow Warm Leads: Want to know the best individuals to grow your business with? Existing clients. It might seem counterintuitive -- since they're already your clients -- but it might be safe to assume that if they're with you, they're happy. Who better to try growing or expanding your business with than the ones who already know your value?
5. Expand or Contract Your Services: If things have indeed slowed for you, spend some free time taking an honest look in the mirror. Is there a service that you offer that no one uses/buys? Consider modifying it or eliminating it. Similarly, do you have a service that users love? Consider expanding it.
So tell me -- is the summer slow down real? How do you work through it? Leave your comments.