School’s out for summer, but businesses don’t get to take a break. In fact, entrepreneurs often face a summer slump in sales as the temperature rises. When regular customers start traveling and there’s less action, it can be tempting to just close up shop or resort to your own vacation mentality, but resist the urge! Focus on “re-creation” rather than “recreation” while staying relevant and getting ready for the months ahead.

Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

1. Get (re)organized – less traffic means more time to revamp your processes and streamline things for when things pick up. I’m a big fan of “procedures.” Take the time to jot down a list of steps for your commonly executed tasks. Not only does this make it easier to delegate, but you also never end up wondering if this experience will match up against the last time. Whether you’re focusing on how you follow up with your clients or how you order supplies, it doesn’t matter, creating order can add to your bottom line.

2. Start (or finish) that project – it’s human nature to put things off until you need them, but summer is your opportunity to tackle those efforts without distraction. If you’re lucky enough to have walking traffic try mixing up your window display with a summer-centric theme. Finally repaint that lobby like you’ve been swearing to do. Finish researching that new piece of equipment so you stop wasting money on outsourcing.

3. Get online – two-thirds of all Americans have a smart phone and use it to find information on businesses just like yours. If you don’t have a social media account (like Facebook or Instagram), find that college student home on break and get one going. Make sure to add all of your contact information, hours of operation, and pictures of products (if applicable). Designing a website? Don’t forget to make it mobile friendly. The Small and Emerging Business Development Program matches small businesses with providers and shares the cost of several types of professional services including marketing. Already have a company in mind? We can help them get set up as a vendor and help you save defray the costs.

4. Learn something – there are several training programs for employees and employers alike that can take you and your staff to the next level. Maybe you need to hone your accounting skills or just sharpen your leadership ability. Online courses and webinars are usually free or low cost and you can do it from the comfort of your cabana! The national SCORE organization (www.score.org) offers tons of free web-based classes for those of you who can’t seem to get away from the office. An hour in the evening or during your lunch break may mean more in your pocket. Your clients will appreciate your continuous self-improvement efforts and they’ll be reflected in the quality of your work.

5. Meet new people – Get on LinkedIn or ask your friends for referrals. Summertime is social and people are generally more available/interested in making new connections. Vermilion Chamber of Commerce offers networking luncheons and there are several civic organizations that offer guests to meet and mingle with their memberships. Try on several before committing, but keep in mind it’s “who you know” so surround yourself with like-minded people who can really help you reach your goals. Don’t forget your business cards, no matter where you go, and practice that elevator pitch. Remember that everyone you encounter can be a brand advocate, so share your story whenever you can!

Need help tackling some or all of these efforts? The Vermilion Economic Development Alliance was created to assist businesses, like the one you own or work for, with solutions to every day concerns. We will customize a list of services or contacts for you based on your needs and short and long range plans. Even if we can’t assist, we’ll find someone who can.

Set up an appointment and we’ll be happy to help. Call (337) 740-0433 or email our scheduler Shari Cormier (shari@developvermilion.org) to book your visitation today!