Monday, April 20, 2015

Summer's almost here...Is your Business READY?

Summer is always a time when the world is in full throttle to do anything but work!  Nature is alive and green, the beaches are warm, the sun is inviting - and your customers and employees are not thinking about your what do you do to bring their minds back to your company?

Here's a few ideas that I have implemented in my clients' businesses to bring back their top customers and remind their work force how truly important their company is in their lives:

Host a Summer Business Barbecue
There's nothing like Food to bring people together! A daytime outdoor casual get-together is an ideal setting to bring your customers and employees together.

Schedule the event during the week - not the weekend. Why?  Because you are respecting their summer weekend schedules to be with their family and friends.  This is good because you want their focus to be on your business - not how quickly they need to leave you to get on with their lives.

Cater your business barbecue with help from Dickey's!

The encounters don't have to be long and drawn out...just enough to schmooze with your clients, have them put a "face" or "faces" to your business and create a feeling of friendship and openness.

Want to create the perfect barbecue?  Get advice from the Experts at the Food Network!

You also want a good turnout.  By having the barbecue during the week, and preferably noon to 3:00 PM - you are focusing on a period of time when the human mind is at it's prime "focus and attention span" - LUNCH.  Your clients are not too sleepy eyed to speak to you. They are hungry and getting a free meal.  It's not prime rush hour traffic, so it's easier to arrive at your destination.

Change to Summer Business Hours
Changing your business's hours in the summer doesn't necessarily mean cutting back on the hours your business will be open.  It simply means you are accommodating your business to suit your customers and employee's needs.  Think about this may customers do you actually bring in on a balmy Friday summer afternoon?  And just how productive is your staff on said Friday afternoon?  The answer is probably one to zero customers for most businesses and hardly any employee productivity.  If that is the case, then why on earth would you spend the extra money to keep the air conditioning going, lights on and doors open?

How Summer Business Hours make Employees more Productive!

If your business doesn't need to be open on a Summer Friday afternoon - then don't keep it open...your clients will still reach you via email or phone should they need to.  If that's the case, then assign that duty to someone who will work virtually (from their smart phone for instance) in exchange for leaving early on Friday.

Increase the business hours from Monday through Thursday to make up for the time your business's doors are closed from Friday afternoon through the weekend.  This will make your products and services available during the hours your customers are truly focused on buying during the summer months. Again, remind yourself that their focus will not be your business when they are laying on the sandy beaches or barbecuing with their family.

Why Summer Hours are Good for Business.

Cross Market your Products/Services with other Businesses
Most businesses lose revenue during the summer months.  However, it is a great time to barter with another business owner and provide at least one of your products or services on their showroom floor or business offerings in exchange for you doing the same for them.  You can negotiate a commission for each of you and you increase your product/service portfolio.

Make sure that the business you are partnering with is complementary to yours - not a other words: if you're selling furniture work with an accessories manufacturer.  If you do interior design, compliment your services with a furniture store/manufacturer.  If you sell baskets, work with a gourmet delicatessen.  If you provide pet services, work with a boutique hotel.  Get the idea?

10 ideas for Cross Promoting your Products/Services,

Bartering with a competitor for cross marketing services is never a good idea.  Let's consider this carefully, if a customer came in to purchase products from your showroom floor - whose would you peddle first - yours or the competitor who is cross marketing on  your floor? You know you'll make more of a profit margin with your products.  However, if you are cross marketing with a complimentary product or service and a customer came in because of the other company's can bundle the sale with one of your products.

Create One Social Evening Event 
Have you ever been invited to a Summer White Party?  It can be a truly magical evening.  In fact any evening get-together during the summer is a fantastic way to incorporate your clientele back into your business. The best customers come from "word of mouth" references. From the moment they receive your invitation, you will be forefront in their minds because they'll have to plan everything from their outfit to everything it takes to fit this event into their schedule. Depending on how good a party planner you are, you could possibly be hosting the "must attend" event of the summer.

Of course, the summer evening event doesn't have to be a huge effort.  It can be as simple as a barbecue, tapas party, or outdoor evening dinner party.  The point is to create a social environment to draw in your best clientele.  In my experience, most of my business clients have developed a lot of new business from these events.

Why do I suggest one evening and one daytime summer event and not more than that? Because summer is a time when people in general are focused on their vacations, beaches, barbecues and outdoors in general.  You don't want to overwhelm your clients, you just want them to be in tune with your business.  You should show appreciation for the efforts your employees do for your business by inviting them to (at the very least) the daytime company barbecue.  At the very least invite your key staff to the evening summer event to have them help host your event and converse with your clients.

Incorporating these methods for the summer will help your business thrive and in fact increase your revenues in the long run by creating customer loyalty, employee loyalty, a brand recognition for your products/services and show how truly fun it is to do business and work for you! Not to mention, you also want to take advantage of the summer season to be with your friends and family all the while increasing your business revenues.

For more information and tips on business services and consulting, call us at 646.450.7933 or email us at DME Consulting provides valuable insight on business, based on real life experience.

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