“Busy season.” Have any two words ever inspired more simultaneous excitement and dread?
For small businesses, the busy season is their bread and butter. It’s usually a reliable influx of customers and projects — and with it, hopefully an increase in profits. As a result, small business owners can feel a lot of pressure to make the most of it. While it may be exhilarating to be faced with a rush of activity, it can also be daunting and lead to burnout.
But fear not! Just because busier periods can be a lot to handle doesn’t mean it should be a struggle. Here are our top tips for staying safe, sane, and motivated throughout your busy season.
A disorganized workplace can really slow you down. How can you focus on providing top-quality service if you’re busy trying to locate the tools, equipment, and/or other materials you need?
Make sure you have a solid organizational structure in place, and keep it consistent. Keeping your tools, equipment, and workspace organized can both keep operations running smoothly and reduce the risk of worker injury. It also will allow you to use your time wisely, rather than having to hunt down misplaced materials.
As a business owner, you may feel the need to handle everything yourself. Loosening your grip on the reins can be tough. But making sure you have a highly qualified lineup of managers, supervisors, and other team leaders can help keep you from getting overwhelmed with tasks.
Hire the most qualified individuals you can find, preferably those who have managed people before. Delegate some responsibilities to your most experienced employees if you can. You’ll be grateful for the help.
Proper maintenance can help prolong the life of your tools and equipment. But regular wear and tear will eventually take a toll, regardless of any preventive steps you’ve taken.
With the busy season approaching, it’s a good idea to take stock of the condition of your hardware. Are repairs needed? Is anything on its last leg? Now might be the time to fix what can be fixed, and replace or rent what can’t. It’s better to make sure everything is in working order before things get hectic and your time is spent on things other than providing the best service to your customers.
Running a seasonal business is not the same as running a business that operates year-round. Your marketing needs to reflect that difference. Get out ahead of it. Make sure you’re putting your business out there well before the busy season begins. This will help build interest and put your business’s name on the minds of prospective customers or clients.
Up your social media game to get your brand out there, and if you have an email database, utilize it! Send out emails letting customers know that you’ll soon be up and running and ready to be booked for services.
If your business requires seasonal employees, it’s a good idea to get that hiring process going early. Finding workers willing to take on temporary employment can be challenging, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and give yourself plenty of time to find help and conduct interviews.
Getting a head start on hiring also will help ensure that your new-hires are prepped and ready before the busy season peak. The last thing you want during a work rush is to have a worker who’s eager to help but hasn’t been fully trained.
Another benefit to starting the hiring process early is that it gives you time to reach out to former employees. Check in to see if any of your previous seasonal hires are interested in returning for another season. They’ll already have some training and experience under their belt and may require only a quick refresher. Learning how to retain seasonal employees can make your next busy season much less daunting. If your business is open year-round and only sees seasonal spikes, figuring out how to keep employees busy during slow times on tasks that add value isn’t essential but might be worth it if you’re facing a hiring crunch.
Online presence is more important than ever. For many consumers, the internet is the first place they turn for product and service recommendations. So it’s critical that you put your best foot forward with your website.
To prepare your website for the busy season, start by making certain it’s accessible on different platforms. A good website will typically be easily accessed by a computer browser or on a mobile device. If it looks funky on a cellphone, you’ll want to consider making alterations to ensure the page automatically resizes for smaller screens.
Your small business’ website also is a great opportunity to build up your mailing list for more robust email marketing by prompting visitors to enter their email address.If you do ask for visitors for their email, consider adding an incentive. Offer a one-time discount, free shipping, or a free helpful resource in exchange for their contact information.
In certain industries, small businesses may find they have repeat customers or clients — their “regulars.” They can generally be counted on to get in touch with you when they need your services or products. So why not reach out to them first?
There are two potential benefits to reaching out to loyal customers before the busy season peak. The first is practical. If you feel confident that regular customers will be coming back, but don’t know when, sending out an early reminder may fulfill the customers’ needs sooner. Better to get them out of the way now, before your small business is bogged down later in the season.
The second potential benefit is that the customer may appreciate it! Loyal customers are generally loyal for a reason. They appreciate the quality of the services you provide, and they feel taken care of by your business. Being reached out to can make them feel like their needs are being anticipated and prioritized. Don’t bank on loyalty — be proactive in continuing to earn that loyalty from your customers.
The busy season is always rough on a small business owner. But what about the employees? They may not be responsible for high-level decision-making, but they’re on-the-ground every day helping to keep the business running.
Make sure you’re touching base with your employees regularly so they have the opportunity to raise questions and concerns. Take those concerns seriously. As a boss, it’s crucial to address the issues your employees are facing in any way you can. Not only that, but there’s also the chance that your employees have great ideas for improving workflow and making processes more worker-friendly.
Try to keep things positive as much as possible. How you comport yourself will set an example for the rest of your team. If you feel yourself starting to crack under the pressure of the busy season, try to manage it through self-care, your friends, and your overall support network rather than bringing it to work with you and adding more stress to the workplace.
When business is booming, the last thing you want to be thinking about is whether your small business is properly insured. Between the added stress and increased customer demand, you’ll have enough on your plate without worrying about unexpected claims.
So why not set yourself up for success? We can help you there. Simply Business® works with leading insurance carriers to offer a wide range of commercial coverage options to suit your small business’s needs.
Whether it’s general liability or workers’ compensation, business insurance might keep you from experiencing the financial burden of covering a workplace claim out-of-pocket. Our free online quote tool will have a quote ready for you in minutes.
Running your small business is your top priority. Let us help take care of the rest.
… but don’t overdo it.
A busy season should be more than just a frenzied hustle and bustle. It should be your small business’s time to shine. Be strategic. Try to make the most of it without sacrificing too much of yourself. You can’t put your best foot forward if you’ve run yourself ragged.
Breathe. You’ve got this.
After several years of working in insurance while also freelance writing, I've finally found where the two interests intersect. I'm a writer with Simply Business with an insurance processing background and a love of research.
Kristin writes on a number of topics such as small business trends, license reciprocity, and BOP insurance.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.