June 9, 2023 By Kristin Woodward

Longer days and rising temperatures often mean uncertainty for small businesses. Depending on your business, summer may bring a boom in activity and sales as people take vacations, buy new products, and visit tourist attractions.

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On the other hand, the same events that bring in business may also cause disruption due to limited staff availability and increased production costs. This generally makes it critical for business owners to have strategies in place to ensure their growth remains steady throughout the season.

With the right strategies and solutions in place, you may be able to maximize profits while minimizing risk, whether summer means a slump or a surge for your business.

Summertime madness

With school out, consumers are more likely to go on vacation, meaning your regular customers could be shopping elsewhere. Less foot traffic may potentially lead to fewer sales and increased competition from businesses outside the area, as well as online retailers. This means that small businesses must generally work harder to attract new customers and differentiate themselves from their online counterparts to remain competitive during this time of year.

However, some businesses see an uptick in traffic and sales during summer months, so seasonal hiring is often an additional cost you’ll need to plan for if you expect to be busier and need additional staff to cover increased activity during the summer months. But keep in mind that larger companies often hire seasonal workers, as well. So you may have more competition in hiring if your small business is looking for extra help. 

Finally, summer often brings with it higher costs associated with energy bills as air conditioning units are required to keep stores or offices cool throughout hot days — adding yet another financial factor that may affect a business’s ability to sustain growth through the season.

Access working capital

No matter what curveballs the summer season throws at your small business, working capital is typically one of the most critical tools a small business can have in its arsenal. Working capital may provide an injection of cash that may help fill in any gaps for payroll, increase inventory, and cover other expenses without having to wait for customer payments. This potentially allows businesses to take advantage of opportunities when they arise and provides a cushion against seasonal fluctuations or downturns in sales.

In addition to funding immediate needs, working capital may also be used strategically as part of a long-term plan for growth and sustainability. For example, businesses may use working capital to invest in marketing campaigns that will drive business for months to come or hire new staff members who may initially fill seasonal roles, but will remain on the team when summer ends. 

SmartBiz® offers a selection of working capital solutions that may help your small business manage cash flow throughout the year. From SBA loans to lines of credit, custom financing, and more, we are here to help you thrive this summer and throughout the year. 

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Plan for vacation time

Your customers aren’t the only ones planning summer vacations. With employees taking time off to soak up the sun, businesses may not have the same number of staff available as during other times of year. This may lead to a decline in productivity and customer satisfaction, negatively affecting sales and profits. Additionally, when employees are on vacation, it may be difficult for small businesses to find qualified workers to fill their roles temporarily.

To combat these issues, small businesses may plan ahead by ensuring that they have enough working capital available to cover payroll expenses during times of decreased productivity. 

Investing in training programs or hiring consultants who specialize in recruiting quality talent may help small businesses better manage staffing issues caused by vacation time. Such investments may also pay off in the long term by improving employee retention rates and boosting morale among existing staff members, which may lead to improved efficiency and higher customer satisfaction levels.

By ensuring you are prepared for any vacancies created by vacations, you may better help your business remain competitive through the summer season and beyond.

Boost your marketing efforts

In order to sustain growth through the summer season, many small businesses employ marketing strategies to increase visibility and engagement with their customers. Seasonal promotions and discounts are often a great way to draw attention to your offerings and engage customers during the slower months.

For instance, offering discounts on summer items or services may encourage people to visit local stores or take advantage of special deals. Additionally, creating weekly offers and deals is another way to encourage customers to return for more throughout the summer months.

Social media is also effective for engaging with customers and promoting your offers. Leveraging platforms like Facebook®, Instagram®, and Twitter® typically allows small businesses to connect with their target audiences more directly. By posting regularly about promotions, sales, events, or other offerings, companies are more likely to stay top-of-mind while providing valuable information about products or services.

Small businesses may also consider investing in paid advertising campaigns on social media to help reach a larger audience and create greater visibility for their brand during the summer months.

Email marketing is typically another powerful way for small businesses to reach out directly to their existing customers during the summer. Using email newsletters or campaigns targeting specific demographics or interests, companies may be able to foster relationships with their customer base while also driving sales by promoting seasonal offers or discounts. Targeted messages are typically more successful than generic ones when it comes to email marketing campaigns during the summer season as well as any other time of year.

Tap into tech

Technology has become an integral part of small business operations, and leveraging the right technology may help maximize efficiency and increase productivity during the summer. Automated processes typically streamline tasks like accounting, payroll, and customer service, freeing up valuable time for business owners to focus on other areas of their operations.

Additionally, cloud-based solutions help to provide secure access to data from virtually any device or location, allowing businesses to remain agile even when staff are on vacation.

Customer service technologies may be especially beneficial for small businesses during the summer season. Automating customer service inquiries with chatbots or virtual assistants helps ensure that customers receive fast and accurate answers to their questions without waiting for a response from overworked staff members. Additionally, using social media management tools allows businesses to monitor conversations about their brand across multiple channels in real time from wherever they are.

By taking advantage of various technologies available today, small businesses are able to better equip themselves to handle increased demands during the summer season, while also improving productivity and efficiency in their operations. Automating processes and leveraging customer service tools is often essential for small businesses looking to sustain growth through the summer months and beyond.

Your summer success story

Ultimately, like everyone else, most small business owners want to relax a little during the summer months. With these strategies in place and some working capital, small business owners may be able to rest a bit easier, knowing they have the tools they need to sustain growth through any seasonal changes summer may bring.

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