How to grow your business in summer
Summer can be a slow time for businesses in the northern hemisphere. The weather is nicer and kids are out of school, so it’s natural for people to focus more on their families or go on vacation. And sometimes business owners are short on staff because of it.
But even though lots of businesses take it easier in the summer, the season can also be a great time to grow your business. Taking some time away to revamp and reevaluate ahead of busier months is also valuable.
So what can you do to expand your business in the summer?
Ramp up your social media
A great way to drive traffic and help your business get discovered is to use social media. In summer especially, it’s a good place to engage your audience since many people use social platforms to document their holidays. Use the more relaxed vibe of the season to your advantage and put a human face to your business.
You can grow your business with social media in a variety of ways.
Posting photos and videos of your staff at work
Giving customers a chance to peek behind the scenes of a business makes you seem more open and authentic. Showing employees enjoying their work also appeals to customers. And if you’re doing something new for the summer– like say, a restaurant setting up outdoor dining – showcasing your team helps promote that too.
Promoting local events
If there’s a seasonal event like a street festival or a flea market that your business will be at, tell your audience. Not only are these kinds of events good for attracting attention when the weather gets warmer, but promoting local events shows that you’re invested in the community.
Putting customers in the spotlight
Taking candid photos of people enjoying their interactions with your business is a great way to spread the word. Remember to get permission from customers first though.
Starting a promotion or summer challenge
Special deals are a helpful tactic to get customers in the door during an otherwise slower season. Another idea is to pose a challenge related to your business to your followers. For example, if you sell clothing, you could reward whoever posts the best photo of themselves wearing one of your items with a gift card.
Posting summer-related content
Whether it’s something offered by your business or not, content that's relevant to your industry and to the season is a great way to capitalise on summer. For example, a hair salon might post about trending summer hairstyles, while a bar or cafe might post about must-try summer drinks.
Another form of social media that’s a great way to grow your business is blogging. Starting a blog is instrumental to increasing your reach and attracting new business. By judiciously sprinkling in relevant keywords and using other search engine optimisation tricks, you’ll help more people come across your business in their searches.
Exactly what you write about depends on your business. You want your content to not only promote yourself, but be useful and interesting to your target audience. If you run an auto shop, tell customers how to best care for their vehicles and how to know when things need addressing.
Blogs are a commitment and take time to grow, which is why the summer is a great time to start one. Busier months often bombard business owners with responsibilities and don’t leave much time for planning or writing content, but in the summer, you can use the lull to think ahead. Try to come up with ideas and a publishing schedule to carry you through more active times.
Announce a new product
Have an idea for a service or product you’ve been toying with? You can pique interest in your business by announcing it during the summer. Usually, new product launches coincide with the busier autumn season, but summer is a viable option as well.
One reason summer is a good time to introduce products is precisely because other businesses aren’t. If you’re the freshest, most innovative player in your field, you’ll stand out from the competition. By being the first to come out with something, you set the standard and force other businesses to avoid seeming like they’re just copying you.
The summer being a slower season means there’s less at stake for businesses trying out a new product. There’s always a risk involved with untested ideas, and it’s easier to let go of one that isn’t working if there are fewer eyes on you.
Think of summer as a soft launch, where you have a smaller number of customers and you’re primarily gauging interest in your new offering. If it goes well, you ramp up your marketing and expand your business. If not, you’ll do less damage quietly taking it off the market than you would later on.
For many, summer involves spending a lot of time outside. As a business, there are many ways to reach customers enjoying their fun in the sun.
How to expand your business to include the outdoors? With seasonal business ideas that you can either start from scratch or apply to an existing business.
Open a food truck
Do you love cooking or have a few family recipes stashed away somewhere? A food truck may be a good fit for you. In addition to being mobile and easy to bring to customers, there's a massive range of cuisines food trucks can offer.
From pizzas to tacos to Thai-style barbecue, food trucks are a great way to bring different cultures and cuisines into the public eye. Add that to the fact that they can be operated both indoors and out, and it’s clear why there are so many of them around.
To start a food truck, you’ll need to obtain a street trading licence as well as an alcohol licence, if applicable. Starting a food truck is a great option if you already own a restaurant, since it’s an easy way to attend events and attract new clients. Just pick a few menu items to feature (food trucks tend to have small menus) and start feeding the masses.
If your business loses money when people are on holiday, why not make people on holiday your target customers? Maybe you work in travel or hospitality already or maybe you just know your area well. Either way, tourism is a huge industry with a reliable market, especially during the summer months.
Not only are people always travelling, but there’s nothing legally required to start a tour guide business. There’s no certification, training, or licence required, outside of what’s required to start a business in general.
As a tour guide, you’ll be showing people around local attractions, so it’s essential to learn the history behind them. Because local knowledge is the only hard requirement, expanding into offering guided tours is a great way to expand your hospitality business or supplement a different type of business.
If you’re a photographer, either professionally or as a hobby, you’re in a good position to work outdoors. First of all, photography businesses don’t require an official licence to start. You’ll only need to make sure you have the necessary equipment, from cameras and tripods to photo editing software.
Once that’s done, it’s relatively simple to find opportunities that reflect summer goings-on. It depends what you specialise in photographing, but many niches can expand to include the outdoors.
A sports photographer can easily switch from covering indoor to outdoor sports, travel photography is almost always done outdoors anyway, and an events photographer can take on open-air concerts and street festivals as clients.
Speaking of events, one of the best outdoor business ideas is an event management business. If you don’t have one yet, event businesses can be cheap to start. And just like a tour guide or photography business, there are no legal requirements to open one.
You can run an event business all year round, but the summer brings an extended range of events you can organise. Do you normally organise music-oriented events? Open-air concerts (or any music festival) are a big attraction in the summer. If you’re more of a party planner, you can help organise street fairs and other outdoor celebrations.
As an event manager, you just need a laptop or smartphone and a willingness to network constantly.
Outdoor cleaning business
If you have experience cleaning homes and offices, it’s easy to transition from that into cleaning outdoors. From lawns to windows to roofs to decks and patio surfaces, there are a lot of niches you can break into to grow your business.
If you aren’t already familiar with running a cleaning business, the good news is they’re low-cost to start. You won’t even need any specific training to operate if you’re a domestic cleaning business – only if you’re doing commercial or specialised cleaning.
You only need to pay for your equipment and transportation if you’re starting a cleaning business, since you won’t be working from a fixed location.
Mobile businesses need mobile payments. Empowering customers to pay the way they're most comfortable with is a great way to grow your business.
If you’re looking for a way to accept credit cards, debit cards, and contactless payments, consider picking up a card reader. All SumUp card readers accept these payment methods and fit in the palm of your hand. You can take them anywhere and get paid wherever there’s an internet connection.
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There are lots of ways your business can grow and improve in the summer. Leveraging your social media and preparing for the future are worthwhile investments. And a new product can generate excitement.
If you want to expand your business, there are seasonal business ideas you can integrate into your existing business model, so you can meet customers where they are. Food and drink businesses can offer outdoor seating, hospitality providers can explore other areas of tourism, and events managers can take on outdoor projects. Entrepreneurs in many other fields can devise summer business ideas too.
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