Are you ready for the summer holidays? Is your business?
If you have kids on school holidays soon, the chances are you’re looking ahead to a time of having even less time than usual to get everything done, So how do you make that time count? Here are five questions you can ask to evaluate and prepare your business for the summer months, from my recent Summer Success Strategies call:
1. If you had to suddenly stop work for a month, which parts of your business would keep on going?
This is a great place to start, to see how much of your business actually relies directly on your efforts. Does everything stop in your business as soon as you do? Or do your business activities create momentum?
I like to think of it as the difference between walking and driving a car. When you’re walking, the moment you stop putting effort into those legs, the movement stops. When you’re driving, you put your foot down, fuel gets injected into the engine, you start moving and it creates momentum. When you take your foot off the pedal, the car continues to coast for a while, and you don’t have to constantly keep your foot flat to the floor just to keep going.
The more momentum you can create in your business, the more choice and flexibility you have about when you put the work in, to keep your business going and generating income.
2. What percentage of your work is reactionary? How much is planned?
The more your reactionary your work is, potentially the higher the stress levels can be when you’re also reacting to children and family commitments.
If you have to leap into action as soon as the phone rings, what happens if at that moment, you’ve got a baby screaming, children fighting, or you’re literally in the middle of a rollercoaster ride?
At the same time, if your business operates to a strict schedule, how does that work with having your children off school?
This question is about flexibility and the key here is to give yourself as much margin as possible: more lead time to respond, expectations that give you room to manoeuvre, deadlines that give you time to deal with unexpected events, plans that have some flexibility and breathing space to them – both in your business and family time.
It’s not that margin gives you more control over your time, but it does give you the flexibility to be in control in the moment, rather than be overwhelmed and feel like your day’s running away from you.
3. How are you reminding people that you’re in business?
As Carrie Wilkerson often says, it’s our job as business owners, to remind people that we’re in business. It’s not our customer’s job to remember.
People don’t always remember you, and they definitely don’t think about your business as much as you do. If you don’t remind them you’re in business, then it’s likely you won’t come to mind when they need your product or service, or when making a referral.
So how are you reminding people that you’re in business? What work can you do now, that can be scheduled and time-released in over the summer? Or how about putting a plan of action together now, of some focused marketing activities you can implement in bite-sized chunks over the summer?
4. If you only had an hour a day to work on your business, what would you ditch, what would you delegate and what would you designate as your number 1 priority of focus?
This question is about focus, and is a fantastic one to ask when you’re stuck in overwhelm, because it forces you to hone in and prioritise the one thing that will have the biggest impact on your business, rather than simply let things crop up, catch your attention and fill your day.
It also gets you to look at what you would get rid of – what you could do without doing, if it came to the crunch – and what you can delegate. And on the subject of delegating, another favourite question of mine is if you had to hire someone to delegate to, how would you ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth?
5. How would you maximize the impact of that work?
Following on from question 4, this question is about leverage. What can you put in place now, to make the work you do over the summer more effective? Or how can you make the most of the work you put in now?
Perhaps you can leverage your different marketing activities to work well together, to maximize the business results you get from the effort you put in.
For example, if you sell products that keep kids entertained over the summer, and you’re doing one last campaign marketing to parents at schools and playgroups before the end of term, how about bringing them to your Facebook page so that you can keep in touch with them over the summer, and connect with them when they need your business the most?
So those are your five questions to help you evaluate and prepare your business for the summer months.
Leave me a comment and tell me how you’re planning to do business this summer?