Autumn has arrived, the weather is cooler, your kids are back to school, and-- let's hope--your staff is all back from summer holidays. With the lazy days and decreased productivity (and often sales) of the hot months behind you, things at your business should be humming again.

But what if that back-to-school rush of enthusiasm seems to have passed by you (or your team or your customers), and despite the change of seasons, things still feel like they're dragging or drifting at your company? How can you inject a fresh dose of energy and interest into your business? Experts aren't short of creative ideas to get you and your team back in the swing of things this fall.

1. Consider community service

Sales often slump in the summer, and almost all companies experience a falloff in employee energy. Between vacations and the siren song of sunny weather, it's natural for your team to not feel their most focused during the summer months. But if fall has returned and your team's energy levels haven't fully returned with it, you'll need to take action. How about a team day of community service to get everyone back in the swing of things?

"Get employees out of the office for an afternoon to take on a community-service project together. Help build a house with Habitat for Humanity or clean up a local trail. Staff will likely enjoy the opportunity to give back to their local community," recommends HR World. The outing might also help shake them out of their summer haze.

2. Foster some friendly competition

Remember back in high school how each year your school would use homecoming as an excuse to get students excited to be back in class? There's no need to break out the formalwear or plan a pep rally, but as a business owner you can use the start of a new season of competition to rattle your team out of their post-summer funk.

Blog Careerealism suggests "planning team pick-up games to give employees an opportunity to blow off steam and build relationships. Starting leagues or joining them also is great for team building and uniting the office around activities that don't have to do with work." Don't have the most athletic bunch at your office? "Fantasy Football leagues are another way to get competition going and to connect people," says the site.

3. Support local teams

If the focus on sports intrigues you but you're definitely more of a fan than a hands-on participant, the QuickBooks blog's alternate idea might be for you.

"Sponsor nearby high school football games, which can be huge in the fall months," suggests Sara Soseman, owner of Pepper Event Talent and Staffing, in the post. Getting involved is as easy as contacting local schools. "Large schools with successful athletics [programs] usually have established sponsorship packages available," while smaller schools may be willing to create one for your business, she explains. Once you're signed on as a sponsor, don't forget to pass out samples, coupons, or T-shirts at games.

4. Be a business chipmunk

Adorable forest creatures are looking ahead to winter around this time of year and using the threat of the lean months to spur them into a frenzy of preparation. You're unlikely to run out of nuts to eat this winter, but perhaps you could tap into the same impulse to get yourself moving again after a lazy summer.

"See where you can trim the fat, get a better rate, or often get a free upgrade of services, just by making an inquiry," suggests the blog of bookkeeping firm Benay Enterprises. This can include reviewing the deals you have with service providers, insurance companies, your payroll services company, office-supply sellers, equipment lessors, or credit card and bank companies--basically anywhere you could save yourself a couple of dollars.

5. Go beyond Columbus Day

Fall suffers no shortage of well-recognized holidays--including Thanksgiving and Columbus Day--but according to Firas Kittaneh, CEO of Amerisleep, your business might benefit more from thinking a bit outside the box this fall. "Find an odd occasion that'll give you an excuse to offer a sale that targets more price-sensitive customers. Visitors to your website will appreciate your quirky nature for celebrating an unusual holiday--they'll revel in the savings. Also, when you offer promotions outside of regular holidays, you won't compete with other retailers since they only discount during national holidays," he tells Under30CEO.

Can't find a holiday that suits you? Then there's always the Game of Thrones option whereby you cheekily remind your customers that "Winter is coming."

How are the energy levels at your company as the fall season gets underway?

Published on: Sep 22, 2014