Female business owner dresses a mannequin in a front display of her small business.

How to Manage Your Small Business in the Summer


Here are 4 ways to improve sales if your business’ slow season is in the summer.

Because the months of July and August are notoriously slow for many businesses, it’s likely that your company’s sales may fall off during the summer lull unless your business is related to summer travel or holiday destinations.

Rather than accept this annual decline, however, it’s possible to get creative and entice more customers to walk through your door or enter your online portal. Here are four strategies for increasing revenue throughout the summer months.

1. Offer Extended Summer Hours

No matter where your business is located, adding extra hours improves your chance of getting more people in the door. You can capture extra traffic from tourists in your area, especially on Sundays when many other businesses are closed. Before people head home at the end of the weekend, take advantage of the reduced competition by turning on your "open" sign every day of the week.

Businesses that don’t target tourists can also benefit from staying open later during the summer. Many corporate offices offer shorter summer hours for employees, giving them more time to shop and run errands.

Advertise your new summer hours so people know when they can come in. This includes updating your online listings on places like Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

Even if you don’t have customers on a Sunday morning or Friday evening, identify other tasks you or your employees can get ahead on. Quiet hours give you the chance to focus on administrative tasks like payroll or inventory while remaining open for customers.

2. Plan Summer Sales and Promotions

Because summer is a slower period for many small businesses, use the time to plan out promotions in advance so you have time to successfully launch and implement your ideas. Execute new summer themes, and start preparing for your fall marketing as well.

For summer, tie in a seasonal theme to your small business, whether it’s on your website or in your brick-and-mortar window display (or both). This is a fun way to engage customers online and in person.

Also consider offering bundles, "buy one, get one free" deals, or coupons to encourage larger purchases by your current foot traffic. This can be especially effective if you have seasonal products that you don’t want sitting around after the season is over.

Expand your audience and repeat customers by creating seasonal promotions that bring people back to buy more. Referral discounts, for instance, encourage shoppers to share your brand with others by giving both people a discount code. Another idea is to launch a rewards program that leads up to a free gift once your customers reach a certain number of purchases or spending threshold.

3. Update Store Inventory

Get creative with your summer branding and inventory to create a base of superfans who come back throughout the year. Think about how excited fans get when Starbucks updates its seasonal menu, like tropical flavors in the summer and the beloved pumpkin spice that arrives each fall.

This is also a great opportunity to think about and address business inventory and management concerns, since customer volume is slow at this time. Is it time to raise prices? Expand inventory and add new products? Revamp the way stock is tracked? Would a small business loan from Fifth third Bank help your storefront accomplish all of this?

If you’re not sure where to start, consider incorporating an inventory management computer program if you don’t already have one. Analyzing your historical sales data helps you track seasonal trends so you know exactly how to prepare throughout the year. Experiment with a few offerings this summer to make more informed decisions for next summer. Then you know you’re using accurate information rather than making assumptions about your best sellers.

4. Schedule Social Media Content

Whether this time of year is traditionally slow for your business or you want to capitalize on a summer rush, social media helps your business connect with your customers. One of the best things you can do to grow your customer base is to stay consistent with your posting schedule. You can’t control social media algorithms, but one thing that every expert agrees on is that consistency is key to getting your content in front of people.

As you develop a regular posting schedule, use local hashtags to grow your audience. Create engaging store displays that make people want to snap a photo, then share any user-generated content that your customers post.

Video also is an excellent way to engage people. It’s possible for any business model to create fun and shareable video content. Show off new products, introduce employees, and give behind-the-scenes access to your small business. It doesn’t have to be perfectly produced; in fact, most people prefer to see the authentic side of the small businesses they love.

By following these four steps, you can make a traditionally slow period for many small businesses more productive and financially beneficial.

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