Guest Blog by Conor McArdle, Content Executive at Brighter Business
Summer is nearly upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare. For all the sunshine, beach trips, BBQs and picnics that summer brings, there are invariably some challenges that businesses face.
Here, Conor McArdle from Brighter Business has some advice and pragmatic solutions to help businesses and business owners navigate the obstacles they face throughout the summer season.
Summer is traditionally holiday season, and it’s likely that your staff will want to make the most of the weather and get away for some time off.
Be proactive and get organised: ask for availability well in advance and set some ground rules about booking time off so that you don’t end up running the place by yourself. Make sure that there’s adequate cover! Flexibility around working days or an adjusted rota to suit everyone’s availability is another option.
Preparation is key; the earlier you start, the better your staff will respond to the new regime.
The good weather makes a big difference to footfall trough towns and cities across the UK, which means that more people are out on the street and potentially walking right past your front door.
If you can tempt more people into your business, there’s the potential to unlock more value by attracting more potential customers.
Seasonal business is good, but it being prepared for it is important. This goes hand in hand with the above point about staffing; if you’re expecting seasonal uplift in custom, then you should know that you have enough staff on rotation to cope with demand. If you think you’re going to be overrun, then think about hiring temporary staff.
If the good weather has a negative impact on your business, then you’ll have to be prepared for that eventuality, too. For many small businesses, cashflow is a particular issue at this time of year.
One reason for this could be that the people who sign cheques – managing directors, financial and administrative staff – are on holiday. This means that the payments they agree and sign-off take longer than usual to process, with negative consequences for businesses and individuals down the line.
The best way to combat this issue is to try to plug the gap in the cashflow. For high-street businesses, this could be through the use of promotions to entice customers back through the door. Don’t think too much about chasing new custom – it’s costlier to chase new business than it is to retain current customers.
Tailor a unique offer to try to capture the attention of customers who are already loyal to your business; introduce a simple loyalty programme or offer discounts. The only limit is your imagination!
The sunny side of the street
It’s only natural for productivity and engagement to drop slightly when the sun comes out, given the state of the weather the rest of the year. People will be intent on making the most of the good weather with friends and family, and morale in the workplace can take a dip.
One popular way to counteract this is to introduce early finishes on a Friday during the summer season, which gives everyone something to look forward to. As a reward, it shortens the week but turns up the pressure slightly, so urgent work is prioritised.
Balancing engagement with downtime is important to maintaining the health of the business’ bottom line, so it’s important for productivity to keep your staff happy and engaged.
For more tips, guidance and information on how to boost productivity in your business, visit www.brighterbusiness.co.uk.