The dog days of summer are here. Are you ready for them? Wikipedia defines them as “the hottest, sultriest time of the summer.” The term has been around since the days of the Romans, who believed it was a time when “all creatures became languid.”
Given the extreme weather we’ve had in most parts of the country this year, you may feel like you’ve already been through the dog days. What I’m referring to is the fact that many businesses go into something of a slump in August. Whether your clients are consumers, other businesses, government agencies or institutions, most of them are in a languid state right now, taking time off and gathering strength for the frenzy of activity that happens after Labor Day.
If you’re a typical entrepreneur, like me, this inactivity might be enough to drive you mad (another side effect of the dog days, according to the Romans). Entrepreneurs thrive on action, so being unable to get responses, decisions or purchase orders this time of year can make you crazy—but only if you let it.
What can you do instead? Here are some ways to make them pay off instead of pushing you over the edge.
1. Get it together
You know those projects you’ve been putting off all year? The ones that would make your business run more smoothly and eliminate headaches? I’m talking about those “little things” like updating your technology, streamlining your accounting systems or finding a better time-management method. Make a list of the things that waste time or just bug you and fix them.
2. Clean it up
Take a good look around your business and purge what you don’t need. What paper files can you shred and what must you save? Do you need paper at all or can you go totally virtual? Get rid of redundant office supplies, tools and data. With less weighing you down, you’ll be inspired to move forward.
3. Refresh your contacts
What social networks are you on? Which ones do you really use? Have you signed up for accounts that lie dormant? If you’re not getting ROI out of it, close the accounts. It’ll make time for new tools that might help you. Google+, perhaps? Go through your address books and if there are people you haven’t contacted in years, think of how you might work together and reasons to get back in touch. Have recent contacts you haven’t put into your book? Do it now and make a plan to get in touch.
4. Do some detective work
Get ahead of the competition while they’re lounging poolside by spending some concentrated time digging into market research, competitive research and the other stuff you probably don’t have time for during the normal hustle and bustle of business. What are your competitors—and your customers—doing and planning?
5. Get strategic
Spend some time out of your business thinking about your strategy for the coming year. An offsite with your team doesn’t have to be fancy, but getting out of the office can recharge everyone’s batteries. Share what you’ve learned in your research and brainstorm ways to profit from it.
6. Do your own thing (you know what it is)
What else have you put off all year because you’re too busy running your business? We’ve each got at least one big monkey on our back. Take time to tackle yours now.
Try these tips and I promise that, come September, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.
Image credit: Photos.com