There are certain times of the year that business owners perceive to be slower than others. Usually, they include times when people are on vacation: the last two weeks of the year and June through August. These summer months are often referred to as the summer slowdown. Unfortunately, many business owners have accepted it as the norm that business dries up when kids are out of school. After all, everyone goes on vacation then, right? And especially in Phoenix, where Ink & Quill Communications is based, many entrepreneurs believe that the summer slowdown is a fact of life.
But is it true? Does business really disappear June through August?
Who Gets Business During the Summer Slowdown?
Contrary to popular belief, business continues 12 months of the year. While there are always ebbs and flows, there is no time of the year when absolutely no one is buying anything. Even during the recent recession, sales still occurred. People always have money to spend on the things they need. And if they really want something, they’ll find money for that too.
Summer months are a boom season for companies that thrive in hotter weather. Consider home services. People will always need their AC units serviced or replaced. Pools need to be cleaned, landscaping needs to be maintained, and homes are bought and sold. For many companies that serve homeowners, summer can be one of the busiest seasons.
Some home services companies not experiencing a summer slowdown include:
- Real estate
- Pool services
- General contractors
- Pest control
- Moving companies
- Electrical services
- Home security
Although Phoenix is not a travel destination during the hottest months of the year, that is not the case for much of the country. Restaurants and hotels in much of the country do the majority of their work during the summer months.
Some hospitality companies not experiencing summer slowdown include:
- Bed and breakfasts
- Visitors bureaus
- Chambers of commerce
- Convention centers
- Car rental
- Vacation home rentals
- Tourism companies
- Excursion companies
- Cruise services
- RV sales
Upgrades & Renovations
When schools are closed, it’s a great time to do cleaning, renovation, and even computer upgrades. If a homeowner is considering a renovation, vacation time is the perfect time to take care of that. The summer slowdown definitely doesn’t happen for companies looking to upgrade, renovate, or clean buildings that are empty.
Look to these companies doing upgrades and renovations this summer:
- General contractors
- Interior design
- Carpet and tile installation
- Carpet cleaning
- Residential cleaning
- Commercial cleaning
- Pool installation
- Landscape design
- IT services
- Internet and satellite companies
Marketing efforts usually take 45–90 days to turn into closed business (and this timeline can expand depending on your sales cycle).
What Is Your Target Market Doing in the Summer?
If your feeling is that your business does experience a summer slowdown, it’s probably time to either dig deeper or take a different view. In this article, you’ll see lists of companies that are actively doing business during the summer months. And that’s just a start. If you are serving these companies as a B2B company, reach out to them! If you are B2C, consider tagging on to individuals these companies are targeting.
Although you may consider doing something different or targeting a different audience, remember that such actions are usually undertaken due to fear. And those efforts don’t always end well. You want to stay true to what you do and keep pushing those markets. Of course, if you’re in an area that only offers a seasonal item (e.g., snow removal), you’ll need a summer option to complement that (perhaps landscape maintenance?). Pool and patio stores typically transform into Christmas stores during the winter months, while ice cream shops may shutter altogether when it gets too cold.
Answer the needs of your target market or shift accordingly to provide them better service, especially if your competition isn’t.
While you’re in the thick of the perceived summer slowdown, it’s a little challenging to plan for next week. However, you can take the opportunity during the summer months to plan out the rest of the year. What can you do now that will pay off in a few weeks or months?
Remember: marketing efforts usually have a lead time of 45–90 days (and more with a longer sales cycle). If you’re experiencing a summer slowdown this year, what can you do next winter and spring to ensure you don’t see a repeat? Get your plans in order now.
Increase Your Efforts
The summer can be a great time to increase your networking and outreach efforts. If you are usually constrained by school schedules, for example, you probably have a little more flexibility in the summer months. Use that time to attend a few more networking events. Or go visit your clients and prospects in person. Schedule some face-to-face meetings with referral partners. All of these little drips can turn your faucet on full tilt.
You may also want to do something more creative with your marketing during the summer slowdown. How about a direct mail piece? Or an ad in the local newspaper? Could you schedule time on an area TV news program? Is PR an area where you can focus? Summer usually provides companies who are a little slower with the gift of time. Use that time well to get the word out. It can pay off dividends.
Sell Your Way Out of the Summer Slowdown
It’s important to understand there is a distinction between sales and marketing. Marketing drives traffic to your door (literal or virtual), while sales converts leads into paying customers. If you didn’t plan well with marketing in the months leading to summer, you may be in a place now where you need to focus on sales.
Some business owners don’t like selling and don’t feel they’re good at it. Get over it. If you want more income to avoid a summer slowdown, you might have to “suck it up, buttercup.”
Bite the bullet, knock on doors, and get yourself known. This could be the turnaround you’re looking for to say goodbye to the summer slowdown for good.
Ink & Quill Communications takes marketing off your plate as your outsourced CMO and marketing department. Schedule a 10-minute call to learn how we can help you have more time and money in your business.