5 Tips For A More Fruitful Fall
As summer comes to a close, and we near the season for harvesting and gathering, it’s a great time to work on the planning aspects of your business.
For many businesses, the fall is one of the most successful times of the year. Now that summer vacations have, sadly, passed, your customers and clients are starting to turn their attention back to other things in life. That’s where you come in!
How can you capture your audience’s attention as we wind down from summer and ramp up for the fall? What can you say or do to remind them of your products or services?
Additionally, what can you do to profit from this fruitful harvest time, so that your business is healthy and sustainable as we move from fall and into winter later this season?
We’re sharing tips on how you can take advantage of this season so that you can increase your revenues and end 2018 on a high note. But how do you do this when you’re already feeling overwhelmed, stretched, or under-motivated? You start somewhere small and expand from there.
Here are 5 things you can start now:
Cultivate client and customer relationships
If you haven’t already done so, invest in a solid CRM platform, and input all the information for your customers from this summer. Make sure you don’t go radio silent on them; they need to/want to hear from you! Check in with them a few times over the next few months, and let them know you’re here if they need you. If you’re a wedding professional, consider sending them a note on their anniversary or another benchmark.
In addition to connecting with clients and customers, keep in contact with collaborators and colleagues. Now is a great time to reach out to people you admire, organizations from which you find inspiration. Consider meeting for lunch with a colleague, attend a conference or industry event, or even contribute your own content at a workshop or speaking engagement.
The important thing here is to keep up the momentum of your business, even if the client load is quieter than in summer. Shift your focus to content and creative projects, and you’ll start to see your business continue to grow and blossom.
2. Take stock of your resources and revise if necessary
As you head into winter, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared, and that your resources (your energy and finances) aren’t overextended.
Review your monthly expenses, and find what recurring costs can be revised. Where can you trim the fat? Take a look at your commitments and tasks. For two weeks, write down every task you do for your business; take a quick note and move on. Then, after the two weeks have passed, reflect back on where you spent your time. What tasks took up a lot of your energy? Did anything surprise you about how much you spend on any specific task? Take some time to reflect on what tasks resulted in the best outcomes, and then choose to prioritize those for the next two weeks. Then, review again. Over the course of one month, you’ll learn more about how you can best utilize your precious time and energy to ensure that you’re intentional and strategic in where you focus your attention.
3. Make use of your downtime
If your business is more active in the summer (we’re talking to you, wedding and event professionals!), build a reserve to keep you afloat through the next coming months. I know, it’s a lot easier to just say, “hey, but I just finished my busy season and I’m ready to relax!” Absolutely! Reward yourself with a nice trip, a quiet retreat, a fun adventure, lazy weekend sleep-ins. Of course, take the time to rest, but don’t make it a habit for the entire season. If you do so, you’ll risk flatlining. Once you’re feeling refreshed, take the time to consider what priorities you want to focus on this season. Have a creative project you’ve been putting off? Hoping to attend a networking event you’ve had on your calendar for months? Have you been eager to try a new idea out for a service or product? Make a list of three things you’d like to prioritize, and then choose one a month to tackle this season.
4. Review your brand look and feel
Just like an annual wellness check-up, it’s vitally important to give your business an annual check-up to ensure that all of your messaging is on-brand and consistent. When a brand’s messaging falls short or appears irregular and out-of-place, then we risk losing customer attention, loyalty, and trust. Take time to review your website. Make sure that all of your links and buttons work (broken links negatively impact your SEO); look for inconsistencies in your content and update or revise when content is outdated; make sure your typography, colors, and images are all adequately reflecting your brand. Similarly, take a look at your social media platforms; are they all on-brand and consistent? Do you profile images or cover photos need updating? What about your bio or About section? Are all of your links functional? And let’s not forget about the print collateral—just like reviewing your digital pieces, take a look at your brochures, flyers, postcards, and other print pieces to assess any needed revisions or updates. As your business evolves and grows, your website and other messaging need to reflect that evolution.
5. Develop your annual business and marketing plan
It’s an ideal time to plan for next year, especially if fall isn’t your busy season. Get your team (or yourself, if you’re a #solopreneur) out of the office for some fresh perspective on your work. Use this time to think strategically about ways to grow your business and the steps you need to take to continue to succeed. Even if you work on your own, don’t skip this step! The most successful brands, big or small, are built in a way that allows for creative reflection and planning. Create a simple plan for growth next year. Reflect on some long-term goals; why do you do the work you do? What do you offer your customer, and why does it matter? What topics and issues do you want to be sure you share with your customer audience this coming year? What creative ideas do you have that you’d like to see manifest for this coming year? What are your financial goals for the year, quarters, and months? Where do you want to allocate your resources for the next year? What would you like to take off of your plate? How would you like to see your time utilized?
Now’s the time to shape up your business for Autumn!
These five simple tactics are easy to undertake and yet can really help your business build a competitive advantage over the remaining months of the year. They can also help you avoid wasting resources and attention on things that aren’t fruitful. Just like as you would in a garden if a crop isn’t doing well, consider planting a different crop the following year. By being intentional in how you structure your seasons, this coming busy fall and winter will feel more grounded and focused now that you have these solid clarity practices to dig into. Invest a little time to step back and see what fine-tuning your business requires so that it can continue to thrive.
And remember—your business is a living, breathing creative force; it’s continually evolving, changing, adapting, and moving forward as you refine, shift, and plan your next steps.
Happy branding and Happy Autumn!
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