Summertime Slump: 15 Ideas to Explore When Business is Slow
I’m learning that summertime is SLOW in the consulting world. Maybe this is true for your job or your industry too.
There are probably a dozen good reasons for the Summertime Slump: like a break in the academic calendar, a summer road trip or a cruise to Alaska, USGA tournament coverage, some kind of Summerfest like Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo, fiscal calendaring, an unexpected pause in strategic planning, getting kids ready for college, and so on.
But I’m guessing it’s HARD for most of us to make the transition—mentally, physically + emotionally—from a really busy schedule to a slow crawl in summer.
So, here are a few helpful suggestions for navigating the Summertime Slump:
1. READ A BOOK—pick up something fun, fictional or functional (up next on my reading list: The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative and The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles).
2. FORM A NEW HABIT—start making your bed every morning, exercising 4x’s a week, writing 1,000 words a day, meditating instead of checking email first-thing, etc.
3. GET OUTSIDE—take a hike—literally—or do something fun outside because the best ideas come when you’re playing, dreaming, learning, exercising, or trying something new. If your time is limited, then you can live vicariously through someone else’s journey by watching these “hiking” movies on Netflix: Wild or The Way
4. UPDATE ONLINE—update your old posts with new images + statistics, update your profile information on various media spaces, your brand, and so on. But whatever you update, make sure it’s consistent with YOU + your brand across all platforms.
5. SEND HANDWRITTEN NOTES—thank a client, say hello to an old friend, remind a mentor how much they’ve influenced you, and so on.
6. WRITE A NEW BUSINESS PLAN—grab a chair—or a hammock—and think about your vision, mission and values (VMV) for your current organization, your team or a new business idea. Write it all down, and then consider actionable steps you will take to turn your VMV into a strategic plan for the remainder of the year. Here’s an example of a helpful business plan template.
7. CELEBRATE YOUR VENDORS—buy a cup of coffee, grab lunch together or send a note to one of the vendors you connect with on a regular basis. Let them know how much you appreciate doing business with them.
Wondering where to start because you work with a lot of vendors? My favorite motto here is this: “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone”—meaning, it’s ok if you can’t celebrate everyone, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating at least one person or one company (and thank you, Andy Stanley, for those words of wisdom).
8. MAKE A NEW FRIEND—reach out to a new colleague, a neighbor, someone you met on the treadmill at the gym, a teacher across the hall, another parent you met in kid-carpool and get to know them.
9. IDENTIFY YOUR MESSAGE—if someone asked you to share about a topic that’s near and dear to you, what would that topic be and what would you say? Write it all down on one sheet (my fav is bullet-point-style) and save it for the rainy day when you’re asked to share a few words at the next team meeting or community gathering.
10. GIVE BACK—do pro bono work in your field, volunteer at your local community center, find an annual holiday project or summer camp that needs help, do something to give back.
11. ATTEND AN EVENT—Is there a wine-tasting, wedding, dinner party or holiday event you’ve been invited to? Stop dreading it, put on your best pair of shoes or favorite lipstick, and show up with a smile :)
12. RESEARCH ONLINE —research what’s new and trending in your current field or in the culture at large. Even consider researching why business might be slow for you this time of year.
13. HOST A WORKSHOP—What’s one thing people always ask you that would make good workshop conversation? Or find a friend who is willing to facilitate an interesting workshop for you and a few others. Then pick a venue, send an email or text message to your friends or interested contacts, use a whiteboard or your office or a local coffee shop, and share your thoughts.
14. CONNECT WITH YOUR CREW—do a book club, a dinner group, or weekend outing, but whatever you do, be intentional about it. I meet with a group of colleagues (who have also become dear friends) on video chat twice a month. During those calls, we typically ask a set of questions, get advice, give encouragement and offer feedback.
15. TAKE A CLASS—find an interesting class online (through something like Skillshare) or in person at a local art studio or community college. It can be something to increase your skills and/or pursue a personal interest. Learning is the goal!
What works best for you during the Summertime Slump? If you’ve already mastered this transition, then I’d love to hear from you. Share your ideas or insights in the comments below or at firstname.lastname@example.org.