Micro businesses are more likely than not to be run by one person in the UK and the Summer can bring its challenges. It might be that it is the busiest season for your micro business and you need to find the resilience to power through. Perhaps it's your quietest time because your clients are taken up with their own summer plans. Maybe you have additional childcare pressures in the school holidays and it all gets a little fraught.
Whatever the Summer brings for you, it is a season that needs particular attention paid to it in the micro business world. How can we make the most of the 'silly season' weeks so that our business and ourselves remain in the driving seat?
Here are some ideas to help you mitigate some micro business challenges and maybe make hay while the sun (hopefully!) shines:
Understand your customer
Of course knowing your customer is a key part of micro business life but we need to understand how they operate, think and feel across the Summer weeks too. Are they going to be tied up with childcare or jetting off on holidays? Are they having a quiet time too and ready to work with you? Maybe they need your help and ideas to keep them going? Possibly they're planning ahead and are absolutely ready to make a decision and buy. Once we have done a deep dive into the psyche of our customers, we can plan accordingly - from our operations to marketing.
Once we know how are customers are feeling and behaving, we can plan, mitigate and even pivot to respond. Think about how you're going to market and communicate during this time. Do your customers want more, less or something specific? Maybe plan your cashflow ahead of time so that you can manage a quieter time to plan and get creative before life gets busy again in September. Is there something about your products or services that could really make your customers feel special and important. Planning this way will reduce anxiety and smooth out peeks and troughs.
If your business has its busiest times across the Summer, then it's time to look at the big picture. Realistically, how much time will you need to spend 'doing' your business and how much time will you have to work 'on' your business. If you'll be working all the hours, what scheduling or automatons can you build in now to smooth out your communications or accounting systems for example? Can you adopt the help of someone to support you with your comms during this time or will you simply let your customers know that your regular blogs, emails or treats will be back in September? Managing elements like this will lead to less stress and anxiety about letting anyone down with just a tinge of 'smug' that systems are supporting your business in the background.
Embrace the quiet
If your clients are completely sidetracked by Summer and really don't want to do business right now, then we can embrace the space for the benefit of our business. First, make sure you've managed your cashflow so that you're not suddenly left with a financial hole in August. After this you can use these Summer weeks to plan for the next season of your business, plan Christmas, schedule in socials, bank some blog writing, write that book (!) or develop new products or packages to launch when your customers are focussed again in September.
Remember to rest
It's too easy as a micro business owner to plough on through the year without proper breaks. Employed environments have likely sorted out the holiday rota and ensured that employees have regular leave across the year but as micros, it's too easy to put this off. It really is ok, nay essential, to switch off and have a proper break and the Summer may be your ideal time (if not, book for September now so that you have the light at the end of the tunnel!). Rest means different things to different people, and it may just be digital free time each week somewhere restful near home. There are enough automated services and easy comms options to let your customers know that you're out of reach but will get back to them soon. There's plenty of data to show that micros don't suffer just because they had a break from business.
If you started the year with goals and targets for the next 12 months, you may have arrived at Summer with a feeling of panic or overwhelm that 6 or 7 months have passed without quite getting to where you wanted to be. Don't let the Summer chaos frighten you into feeling that all is lost and your goals have tanked. Some of the most productive and focussed months of the year are yet to come. Your customers will be starting a 'new term', planning for Christmas or even next Summer. Customers will be seeking out new learning & creating new opportunities in their lives too. Take a few slow breaths and recognise that there's still plenty of time and lots of opportunities left in the year and that you've got this - simply by thinking this way.