Surviving the summertime slowdown

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By Chris Manley, CEO, Engenius

It’s summer. The signs that Kenny Chesney sang about are in full swing … “That old ballpark, man, is back in gear/ Out on 49, man I can see the lights/ School’s out and the nights roll in/ Man, just like a long-lost friend/ … Temperature says 93 down at the Deposit and Guarantee/ But that swimmin’ hole, it’s nice and cold.”

That time of year is here. Business seems to slow down amid summer vacations, long weekends, and afternoon “meetings” on the back nine. We’re not in school anymore, but summer still holds a special place for us. We tend to knock off work earlier and, when we’re at our desks, daydream of being outside under the summer sun, relaxing by the pool like we did when we were 17.

Summer is a special time. The kids are home, the weather is great, and it’s a season to slow down a bit and enjoy life. Fire up the grill and enjoy the company of friends over an ice-cold beer. Take a long drive in the mountains with the windows down.

For many, this season mimics the lyrics, “It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine/ It’s summertime/ Sweet summertime.” For those of us in business, all this talk of outdoor play, relaxation, and taking it easy can mean something entirely different: the slow season.

Sales opportunities begin to drag out. People you’re calling on are somehow never in their offices. Client projects stretch out because the client’s attention is elsewhere. Unless you’re in an industry that benefits from summertime fun, Memorial Day to Labor Day can be a rough stretch. Here are a few tips to survive the summertime business blues:

  • In America, We Don’t “Summer”
    In some cultures, taking several months off at a time is normal and accepted. As I remind my team every summer, “The people you need to reach aren’t gone for three months – they may take a week to head to the beach or a long weekend, but they’re still around.” It’s easy to write off this stretch of time as impossible to reach out to prospective or existing clients. Don’t buy into that frame of mind. People are still at their desks – it may just take some added perseverance to reach them.
  • Is Your Toolbox Running Low?
    Every business has tools that it can use to aid and drive sales. Whether it is through marketing, sales materials, advertising campaigns, or other means, we all have a “toolbox” of things we can reach in, grab, and use to move us forward. Is your toolbox running low? Is it time for a refresh? Use this slower season to prepare for busier times ahead. Start preparing your holiday campaigns now, refresh your marketing, plan a back-to-school campaign. Make sure your toolbox is locked and loaded for when business picks up.
  • Get Out of the Office
    If business is slow, take some downtime. We’ve all seen studies showing that Americans don’t take nearly as much time off as other cultures. Use the slow season to play a few rounds of golf, or head out early a few days, or take that long weekend with your family. At Engenius, we close early on Fridays and all take the afternoon off. It’s a big culture builder and gives our team time to R&R, knowing the busier season is ahead.

Don’t let the slow season get you down. Take advantage of it and keep on keeping on. All you might need is a fresh perspective to make this season your own sweet summertime.

Chris Manley is the CEO of Engenius, a marketing firm specializing in helping businesses navigate digital marketing through strategic web design, search optimization, and digital advertising. You can contact him at [email protected] or by visiting www.engeniusweb.com.

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