Maintaining Momentum During the Dog Days of Summer Hot

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A variety of events occur during the summer months that make it difficult to continue the progress gained during the first half of the year. You and your team plan and take vacations, long weekends get scheduled at your favorite lake cabin (at least for us in Minnesota) or other favorite getaway location, kid’s sports tournaments, camps, and other activities are just a few events that consume our summers. These events often cause in a shift of our focus that result in our firms accomplishing less than we would like during the summer months, particularly during the dog days of late summer.

This shift in focus isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we all need a break.  It’s just a fact that we need to be aware of as we progress through the yearly planning process.

The late summer, however, doesn’t have to turn into the time each year where your growth and momentum grinds to a halt. Without all the staff in the office to manage and many clients away on vacation, the summer months can provide an opportunity for you and your team to analyze and strategize specific areas of your business.

Here are some ideas for areas of your business to analyze and strategize during the late summer. Figuring out the answers to some of these questions will provide direction for the remainder of the year as well tasks and objectives for your final 90-day plan of 2013.

§  Business Planning – Continue to look at how your firm is progressing compared to your 90-day plan. This is a good time to meet individually with key staff members to see how their projects/tasks are progressing and if there are any issues (potential issues) they need your help with. Flushing these issues out now will help keep you on plan for the remainder of the year.

§  Staffing – With staff on vacation, the summer becomes a good time to identify if you have coverage issues and may help identify future needs. Is the work still getting done at the same high level when someone takes vacation? Does the shift in workload cause stress on you or your staff? Summer is also the time that firms bring in Interns, often to help with some of these coverage issues.  If you used interns this past summer, how was the experience?  What changes would you make next year?  If you did not use interns, would this be something you would or should consider doing next year?

§  Staff skill development – Conferences that your staff should attend are often scheduled for the fall and spring. This is a good time to look at the options and decide which conferences your staff should attend in the fall. Ask your staff if there are any classes, certifications, or continuing education that they are plan on or would like to obtain beginning in the fall.

§  Client Service – How is your client service? How do your clients think you are doing?  What areas can you improve? If you are unsure about these questions, survey your clients to find out what they think.  You might be surprised by the responses.

§  Communications and PR – The summer can be a good time to develop new communications with your clients. Have you been looking at ways to communicate and provide better information to your clients?  Perhaps creating a newsletter, providing better reporting, writing a blog, or implementing social media.

§  Competitors –Analyze your competition. What firms are your biggest competitors? Have any new firms entered your market recently? How does your firm stack up against them?

§  Your Firm’s Website – Evaluate your website. This is very often a potential client’s first view of your firm. Does it have the right message you want to convey? Does it need a fresh design and feel?  Have you been looking to add features such as a blog or video?

These are just a few areas that your firm can identify and work on during the late summer.  Figuring out the answers to these areas of your business can keep your momentum going into the final months of 2013.  Some of these areas are “lighter” and easier to focus on when the pace of business is a little slower.

Don’t let the dog days of summer slow down the momentum you have built during the first 180 days of the year.  Keep working your plan, the results of your progress will begin to show!

Build your business wisely.

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