The last weeks of August are often among the slowest of the year for small businesses. It is a time when many employees take vacations and those who remain at work cover for them. However, business owners themselves may not take very much time off. In fact, the Dog Days of August are an idea time to plan for the busier times in the fall and the holidays. Take advantage of slower periods to do long-term and short-term planning.

Work on Your Website

• Review the information on your website to make sure it is current. If executives have left the firm, remove their pictures and bios. Review grammar and spelling, contact information, and hyperlinks (to make sure they work).

• Develop videos and written case studies and update client testimonials. The summer is a good time to touch base with clients to ask for their blessing.

• If your website is not mobile friendly, take steps to upgrade it. While it might not have been the case when you first set up your website, the majority of your traffic likely comes from mobile devices. 

• Engage an SEO expert to examine your website analytics to determine the sources of traffic to your site, the pages that visitors spend most time on and that generate the most sales leads. Optimize your website with relevant keywords.

• Review your company's listing on Google My Business and other online directories to make sure your company's name, address, phone, and website information is accurate. 

• Does your website allow for online ordering? If not, you may be losing out on an important revenue stream. Look into it.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

• Touch base with clients to see how their summer has been going and to plan for their upcoming needs. Ask if they know of anyone else who might need your products and services. 

• Similarly, take time to connect with former clients and see whether they might reengage your company.  

• Network through your local Chamber of Commerce. Explore opportunities to work with non-competing businesses in the near future.

• Become involved with local charitable organizations (youth sports, arts, service organizations, environmental groups, etc.) and community events. It's a great way to reach potential new customers.

• Plan your trade show attendance and possible speaking engagement schedule for 2019.

Ramp up Your Marketing

• If you are engaged in email marketing, the summer is a good time to update your email list.

• If you haven't started an email marketing campaign but plan to do so, engage a vendor such as Constant Contact or  MailChimp. 

• Utilize social media to reach new audiences. Join industry groups on LinkedIn and post columns and blogs you have written, utilize Facebook to connect with potential customers, post photos and visuals on Instagram and Twitter. These tools are free, but if you are not confident in your abilities to manage social media, enlist a freelancer or p.r. firm that specializes in it. 

• Plan your holiday season and 2019 advertising and marketing budget.

Hire

• If your company is on the upswing overall or if you anticipate an increase in holiday sales, begin the search for staff now. The economy is at full employment; it may take a while to fill vacant positions. 

Secure Financing

• If you are planning expansion in 2019 and need to secure small business financing, starting the process during the slow summer months is a smart move. The loan application process takes time, and lenders require potential borrowers to provide information including tax returns, bank statements, balance sheets and P&L [[spell out]] statements.  

• Every company encounters cash flow issues at one point or another. Take the opportunity during a slow period to apply for a small business line of credit, which provides a lump sum of cash that you can draw upon when you need it. You'll only pay interest when you draw against the line. A business line of credit provides quick access to cash if an emergency or unexpected expense arises. 

Published on: Aug 21, 2018