Ah, springtime. Sun, showers, the promise of May flowers. Birds chorusing until they’re hoarse, peacoats and polo shirts on the same day. Mud.
And yet more mud – cold, bottomless, heartless, shoe-eating, dog-tracking-in, carpet-cleaning-company-approved mud. (If you live in friendlier climates, you have our envy. But not our Sketchers, which are now part of the deep-earth fossil record.)
Spring’s teasing its comeback. That’s why it’s time to think about summer. As if you weren’t already. But what about summer for your business?
Though spring has not yet sprung – properly, officially, finally – as smart businesspeople, we really need to be thinking around the corner. That means summer. Fall, even. But first, summer.
Are you ready? Here’s a checklist to help you prepare.
10 Point Summer Business Checklist
- How’s the AC? Comfortable customers and employees are happier customers and employees. Ones who are more favorably disposed to sticking around, buying things, getting work done and not dissolving into somnolent sweat puddles. Strange to think cool air could make such a big difference, but there you go. Your AC’s probably been off for months and now’s a great time to get it checked, before you actually need it, so it can stage its melodramatic death scene while the audience is still small. Many AC professionals are even offering spring checkup specials. Get in on one. The last thing you want is to face the first hot day of the season with an air conditioning system that blows nothing more than warm dust
- Are all vacation requests in and time off covered? Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean aren’t going to ride themselves, you know. Summer is vacation time. Also hair-pulling and customer-disappointing and sales-losing time, if you haven’t got coverage
- How’s your curb appeal? Is your parking lot looking good? What about any greenspace around your property? Your building’s facade, signage and lighting? Even if you don’t have a storefront, it still pays to present a neat, clean and attractive face to the public. People do judge books by their covers
- Do you need to reestimate your estimates? Check your estimated tax payments against actual and anticipated revenues and adjust accordingly to avoid surprises and penalties next tax season
- Is your cash flow still flowing the way you expected? Every businessperson has a cash red line in mind, if not on paper or screen. Then there’s that caution zone, where cash isn’t low enough to trigger alarms, but getting there. Close enough at least to cause low-level anxiety you carry around on your shoulders all day long (and at night, when sleep won’t come). Not healthy for you or your business. You may want to give yourself some breathing room by stepping up your efforts to collect receivables, delay payables and check out alternatives to cash outlays, such as financing
- What’s your progress toward 2016 goals? Are you on track to meet the 2016 sales, efficiency and other targets you set in December? If not, what would it take to get you there? More employees? Additional or more productive equipment? A new marketing push? If the budget’s a little too tight to make some of these changes, see item 5 above
- What about an employee appreciation day? Summer’s a great time for this and a company barbecue is a great – and reasonably priced – way to show employees you value them. Parks, shelter houses and other outdoor venues are going fast this time of year, though, so it’s a good idea to reserve now, as well as arrange food, entertainment, activities and funding for all of the above. Don’t forget the kids – you really can’t go wrong renting a bounce house
- Need furniture? If your office furniture could use an update, May’s the best time to get it. Also a good time for refrigerator shopping, if the one in your break room was there when the Y2K bug was a thing and Battlefield Earth was on the big screen for about five mercifully short minutes
- Is it time for a business energy audit? Depending on the age of your lighting, heating and other business-essential equipment, you could save considerable money every month by upgrading. One way to find out for sure is to get an energy audit from your power and gas companies. In some cases, the cost of your audit is partially or fully refundable
- Have you set aside time for a (real) break this summer? Around 40% of you didn’t in 2015. 76% of those who did stayed connected to work. While it’s sometimes not possible or desirable to get away, everyone needs a break occasionally. You won’t do your best work without some downtime. And doesn’t your business deserve your best?
Summer is coming. Take some time now and plan to make it a great one for you and your business. After you scrape the mud off your shoes and your carpets and your dog and your…
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