What are you going to do over the summer?
Probably: sunbathe, spend time with the family, go travelling…
This is all well and good, but if you’re a sole trader or small business, you’ll know that you have to ‘earn’ your holiday time.
When you’re employed, it’s common practice to pencil your holiday dates on the office’s shared calendar, perhaps running it by the boss/HR and ensuring there’s enough cover to afford you the time off. When you’re self-employed, it’s unlikely that there will be someone there to do all of the tasks you usually do, and you therefore have to work extra hard before you go, to ‘get in front’, or you do a mad scramble when you return to catch up. Either way, you do the same amount of work, just in less time—no one picks up the slack for you when you work for yourself.
Then there are all the things that you never get round to doing; some entrepreneurs use the quieter summer months to catch up on those. These are our sort of people.
How many of these tasks will you ‘get round to one day’?
Updating the text on your website to ensure it still represents what you do and ensuring no links are broken
Updating your CRM with all those business cards you’ve collected over the last six months
Planning your marketing strategy so that you have work secured until the end of the year
Researching prices on office premises, business insurance, vehicle insurance, broadband services, subscriptions, etc. to ensure you’re still getting the best value for your money that you can
Planning your content strategy for the next few months
Determining which clients will provide a testimonial/case study of your help, and when you can gather these
Creating/innovating new products, services, affiliations and collaborations
When you look at that list, it’s easy to see what each one would do for your business if you had the time and focus to address it.
The thing is, you will never find an extra day or a spare few hours down the back of the sofa. You have to carve them out of your already-busy schedule. If you never pay attention to these kind of long term tasks, you’ll always find yourself at the mercy of the feast and famine cycle most small business owners are subjected to.
In many sectors, things wind down in the summer holiday period. Teams run on minimal capacity to account for various members of staff going off on their jollies, and most larger projects are postponed until September, when things gear back up again. If this is the case, why not take advantage of the quieter time to a) take some time for yourself and your family, naturally, and b) commit to spending a couple of hours each week through the summer working your way through the list above?
What is surprising about these kinds of tasks is that they always seem terribly time-consuming when you don’t have the headspace and gap in your diary to complete them, but when you do get to them, they don’t take up anywhere near as much time as you originally thought they would. And the feeling you get when you can actually tick them off your list (until they next need doing) is incredible.
Tasks associated with your marketing and the maintenance of your website are not there to annoy you, steal your time or represent a worthless exercise…they exist to further your success, to streamline your business, to provide a pipeline of work for when your current projects end. They should be as much of a priority as your current workload.