Summer is in full bloom, with days getting longer and tans darkening faster, and your growing business might be the last thing on your mind. It should be, right? Vacations are an essential part of self-care, after all. Mimosas have never looked so good, and business planning has never seemed more boring.

But don’t forget — for your business to really thrive, you’ve got to do the prep. Before you know it, you’re going to be ringing in the new year, and if you want your business to finish the year strong it’s time to start getting ready for it — during last of these summer months. It doesn’t matter if you are a service-oriented, product-based, or an e-commerce business — the end of the year is a busy time for everyone.  Start getting ready for it now.

Take stock of the year so far 

How have your priorities changed since the beginning of the year? Now is an excellent time to take stock before the calendar turns again. Maybe your social media needs an overhaul, or you need to hire more employees. Unlike before, more and more customers are shopping online, so now would be the perfect time to carry out any necessary upgrades to ensure your website is running smoothly.

Summer is the perfect time to carry out necessary upgrades

Don’t wait for Black Friday to take your servers down; make sure you can handle new customers as well as existing clientele. Spend time evaluating and adjusting your focus and work habits accordingly, to make sure you are still on the right track to smashing your goals.

Create a holiday plan  

Between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, the latter part of the year can be a hectic one. Create a spreadsheet so you know exactly when your services will be in high demand, and start planning your social media posts and web content. Small businesses can leverage the holiday celebrations in all kinds of ways, so start talking to your team now about creative promotional ideas or posts. Find ways to stand out from the crowd.

Planning For The Future

Rather than wait until the end of the year to evaluate your growth, use the mid-year months to your advantage. Set up meetings with clients to review what’s working, and how to move forward. By adding value now, you will be building your revenue in the future. After you’ve met with your staff and come up with a plan to embrace the holiday season, start to strategize. Develop a holiday marketing plan to increase your profits. Don’t make it all about business, though — plan to attend social events and networking drinks, to mingle with like-minded individuals.

Think about your staff

Summer is a great time to shift gears and focus on improving your employees’ experiences and efforts. Offer extra training and staff development, which will provide your employees with a sense of community and growth — and inspire them before they come back into the office for Fall. Maybe someone needs a new challenge, or maybe you need to go through the work your intern left behind before a new one gets started.  As a leader, you have to be a team member, no matter what month it is. Focus on your staff as much as your business, and even consider taking time out to ask them how they think the business could improve.

Get inspired again

Between June and September, business is naturally a lot slower, as both staff and clients take time off to vacation. While everyone is away, it’s a brilliant time to recharge and get yourself inspired. Highlight important awareness days on your summer calendar, or exciting events or exhibitions you could attend. If you are running your own business, use this time to stay creative and get motivated to keep pushing forward. That won’t come from staying in during the summer months — get out there and start interacting with people! And use your adventures to think of new ways to connect with existing clients over the coming months.

Your Autumn success relies on the preparation you do this season

The summer months do not have to be slow. In fact, your Autumn success relies on the preparation you do this season; slower months are a perfect opportunity to get your team together and discuss the new targets and new ways to grow your business. Just remember that even executives and directors have to take time off. By switching off your devices, and taking a well-deserved break, you will come back refreshed and re-energized. In fact, if you handle this time successfully, this could be your best opportunity for growth.

Scarlett V. Clark is the founder of Smart Girl Tribe, the UK’s leading female empowerment organisation. When not working or writing her second book, she can be found travelling or in the nearest bookstore. Follow Smart Girl Tribe on Instagram and Facebook.

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