Seasonal small businesses ramping up for the summer, and businesses with seasonal needs have quite a bit to think about when it comes to preparing for the summer months. If you fall into either category, you’ll need to start thinking about things like staffing seasonal employees, preparing stock for summer sales, managing employee vacations, and possibly dealing with slower than usual business. Here are several things you can do to prepare yourself and your business for the coming summer months.
1. Staffing Seasonal Employees
For some small businesses, increasing staff for the summer is essential to keeping the business running during the busier summer months.
Businesses that may need to staff up for the summer include:
- Air conditioning service providers
- Lawn care services
- Home and garden stores
- Pool supply and cleaning services
Temporary employees can help you meet your business needs without the added cost it would take to hire a permanent employee. So if you need to hire temporary employees, consider using a temporary staffing agency to help you hire the best temp workers. If you don’t necessarily have the budget to offer your temp workers paid benefits, find a top staffing agency that can provide those benefits.
Hiring temporary employees through an agency might be your best option if you don’t have the time or the budget to staff temp workers. Prepare to make seasonal offers by assessing each candidate based on required skills, personality, experience, and performance expectations. Before hiring anyone, make sure to set clear expectations by providing a detailed job description to each candidate so they know what’s expected of them before they accept the job.
Consider hiring college and high school students for your seasonal staffing needs since they’re out of school for the summer, usually looking to make some extra cash, and are relatively inexpensive hires. Ask your current employees for referrals and look for candidates with experience in your industry, which can include internships and other types of seasonal employment. Since they’re generally less experienced than other temp employees, they may need more management.
2. Preparing Stock for Seasonal Summer Deals
In some small businesses, preparing for the summer months means preparing stock for seasonal deals. If you have summer deals you’re planning on offering, now’s the time to start stocking up what you’ll need in advance. Start planning how you’ll display items, how you’ll manage inventory of your top-selling summer items, and what kinds of discounts you’ll offer. Think about summer holidays in advance like the Fourth of July, Father’s Day, and special events like Back-to-School sales. Determine what kinds of sales would be most appropriate for your business type and start planning. Keep a file of everything you plan and organize it into one folder. That way, everything will be easy to find when the time comes to implement your summer deals and specials.
3. Dealing with Employee Vacations
Summertime is the perfect time to go on vacation, which means many of your permanent employees are probably going to take some time off. Managing your staff schedule with multiple vacations coming up can be tricky. That’s why it’s important that you get the help you need. Ask your managers and supervisors for help with letting employees know that they need to plan their vacations ahead of time, rather than asking for two weeks off with only a few days’ notice. Additionally, make sure your vacation policy is clear and fair — don’t be arbitrary.
You can also ask your current employees for help when it comes to covering duties. If it helps, plan a meeting with all of your employees present to discuss upcoming scheduling conflicts. Let them know about any extra work or duties they may have to fulfill in the absence of other workers and give them the incentive to help you keep business running smoothly.
How to Manage When Business Is Slower Than Usual
While some businesses heat up during the summer months, others tend to slow down a bit. If you find that your business is one that slows down during the summer months, it can be difficult to keep things running smoothly. But it might not necessarily be a bad thing. Many companies use that downtime to find ways to drive their business forward for the remainder of the year.
Some of the things you can do to manage during the slow summer period include:
- Contact key clients and reconnect – Use your summer downtime to connect with key clients to touch base to possibly drum up some new business.
- Start preparing for tax season – While tax time might seem like it’s far off, it never hurts to get ahead of things and start getting all of your important files organized. Meeting with a tax advisor can help you determine what you should be doing this year to optimize your tax position.
- Revisit your business goals – Summer downtime can be a great time to make sure you’re still on track to meet your short-term and long-term business goals.
- Update your social media profiles – Make sure all of your business profiles are up-to-date with the latest information.
- Update your skills – Learn some new skills that help you perform your job better (like learning new software to make accounting easier, etc.).
- Get financing – Plan ahead to borrow capital to bridge seasons, especially if you intend to use your slack season to work on business improvements that will require extra cash.
Preparing your business for the summer months doesn’t have to be a headache if you plan ahead of time. If you think financing may be a good fit to help you make the most of your summer season, check out our guide to the different types of financing available.