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With summer rapidly approaching, it’s a good time for businesses to take stock of where they are and get ready for the summer season. For some businesses, this will mean stocking up on summer inventory and getting prepared for the rush. For others, it might be a slow time and give you moments to reflect on your long-term goals.

Regardless of the size of your business, here are five tips you can put into action to prepare for summer at your business.

1. Review Your HR Practices for Efficiency

For many employees, summer means vacation. You need to make sure you have a system in place to track and approve vacation requests. If it’s a slow time, employees may look for more flexible work arrangements. If summer is your busy time, you may need to adjust your schedules to accommodate for increased activity. 

Either way, it’s a good time to review your HR policies and procedures for managing schedules and update as needed.

Besides this review, you should also look for ways to optimize your HR process. For example, identify ways you can streamline onboarding, payroll, and other administrative staff. You may want to consider outsourcing your HR services or augmenting your staff to free up resources or handle vacation requests. 

2. Evaluate Inventory and Staffing for Seasonal Shifts

Summers often bring a change to customer demand. People tend to spend more on outdoor activities and travel. Retail companies need to set appropriate inventory levels and safety stock to avoid stockouts that can hurt profitability. 

Keep an eye on current trends to see if you need to adjust your product mix and pay close attention to supply chains. Disruptions over the past few years continue. So, you want to make sure your suppliers are equipped to handle your ongoing needs in a timely manner.

For service-based industries that see increased or decreased demand, you need to make sure you have appropriate staffing levels to meet market demand.

3. Review Marketing Strategies

You’ll also want to review your marketing strategy to ensure they align with the summer season. Historical data can help tell you what worked in what fell short. But you will want to identify new marketing opportunities including both messaging and medium.

In summer, people are generally on the go more frequently. You may want to optimize your mobile marketing and leverage social, email, and other digital channels to capture customers. Make sure your messaging reflects summer attitudes and highlights high-demand products and services.

Your product mix can make a difference as well. Studies suggest increased sunlight also leads to more impulsive purchases. So the way you merchandise products in physical stores and eCommerce sites may be worth examining. 

4. Check Your Cash Flow

Of small businesses, 82% fail due to cash flow problems — the number one reason companies close their doors. And 41% of businesses report seasonal differences make it more difficult to manage cash flow throughout the year.

You need to have enough cash on hand to pay your employees, stay current with your payables, and weather slow times. As part of your demand forecasting, you need to do realistic cash flow projections to make sure you don’t overestimate revenue during the summer months. 

Historical data can help, but you can’t always count on consistency over the years. The economy plays a significant role in how consumers spend their dollars. With rising prices and inflation still a concern, 77% of consumers say they are prioritizing price over loyalty. You may not automatically be able to count on loyal customers to come back this summer.

The Federal Reserve also forecasts that overall consumer spending will be lower than in recent years. While spending has grown at about 2% in the first quarter of 2024, the Fed urges moderation in forecasting consumer spending in light of inflation and high interest rates.

5. Build Business Continuity Plans

Summer also, unfortunately, can produce severe weather events. Early summer has plenty of thunderstorms and tornadoes. The hurricane season kicks off in June. Power outages are more common in the summer as energy demands increase.

Are you prepared in case any of these things impact your business? It’s also a good time to review your business continuity plans, including:

  • Developing an emergency response plan
  • Implementing backups and redundant systems
  • Reviewing insurance coverage
  • Training and educating employees on procedures
  • Establish communication protocols
  • Providing a way for employees to work remotely.

Hopefully, you never have to put any of these items in use. But knowing you’re prepared can give you peace of mind just in case.

6. Enhance the Customer Experience

Of businesses, 75% say improving the customer experience is a high priority. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as customer experience has become more important than price in driving business success.

While it’s good advice any time of year, you want to make sure your team is ready to provide exceptional customer service over the summer. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds. You may have lower staffing levels due to vacations, seasonal help, or new hires who need extra training to handle the crowds.

Train your staff to deliver a strong customer experience by teaching them the importance of customer service, what your expectations are, and how to handle difficult situations. Equip them with tools for active listening and problem-solving, while emphasizing the importance of a positive attitude.

7. Keep Employees Engaged

The warm temps and sunny conditions may lead to the summer slump. Employees may prefer to go outside and enjoy summer activities rather than work. Dips in productivity, motivation, and morale are common during the summer months. If you’re not careful, your business can suffer.

Plan ways to keep employees engaged and avoid burnout or general malaise. Set clear goals for the summer months and build in a few fun activities to keep employees motivated. For busy companies, tracking goals and recognizing achievements can go a long way. 

For companies that have slow summers, you may want to consider flexible scheduling options or using downtime for professional development.

Be Prepared for Summer

While every small business and industry is different, addressing these key items can help you prepare for the summer and manage seasonal shifts. This keeps your team engaged and capitalizing on opportunities as they arise.

A professional employer organization (PEO) can help you plan and manage your human resources, payroll, benefits, and business regulatory compliance. Get in touch with Resourcing Edge to see how we can help you get ready for summer.

Jami Beckwith

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