As I write this, it’s the first day of summer in Chicago, and I’m thinking about taking some time off.
But not the whole summer! There’s still work to be done, even though some of my clients, partners and prospects may be away or moving at a slower pace right now.
The summer months always give me a chance to catch my breath, reflect on the year so far and do some research — all things that help me move closer to my goals. I used to feel panicked when things slowed down over the summer, but over the years I’ve realized that summers tend to slow down (at least for my business) and I need to make the most of this time because things always pick up in the fall.
I finally get the chance to get to the things that are so important to my business, but that I don’t have time to work on throughout the year. This is a good thing!
Here’s what’s on my summer to-do list:
1. Evaluating my service offerings.
Markets are changing, so I need to take a good look around at what I’m doing, what my clients need, and make sure they still match. I started serving clients with the model that I’m currently using about 10 years ago. Since then we had “the great recession”, the rise of the mobile internet and a huge influx of millennial workers. Suffice it to say, the world has changed drastically. I need to re-evaluate and see if the problems I’m solving for clients are still what they need. Are there things I’m doing that aren’t working or aren’t profitable? Where are the opportunities now?
When was the last time you reviewed your offerings? How has your market been affected by these macro changes?
2. Taking a look at my client base and my marketing.
The client base I’m serving is a product of the marketing that I’m doing and the services I’m offering. If I’m not serving the clients I want to be serving, the ones I can make a big difference for and who value what I do, then I need to change my marketing or my service offering (or both).
Is your marketing attracting the leads that you most want to serve? Are they closing at an acceptable rate?
3. Researching the competition.
If I want to get a good look at my marketplace, I need to talk to people who aren’t choosing my services – where are they getting the help that they need? How are they finding success? Are there new entrants into the market that I need to evaluate?
How are your prospects finding solutions to the problems that you solve, without working with you or your competitors?
This is some pretty big picture, heady stuff. But summer is the perfect time (for me) to review these things. I can get out of the office on a Friday and dig in to the research. Then, when I’m by the pool or walking the beach, I can think about what it all means. Doing this work in the summer means I’m coming into the fall with more clarity and focus. I know what changes I want to make and I know how I want to set up my budget for 2014.
What’s on your summer to-do list? How is what you are doing now making your business better?
Photo Credit: Nederland in foto’s