This is the time of year many experience the Summer Slowdown. Some peeps think “my community is off on vacation… nothing I can do but wait for Fall. Might as well kick back and take a break!

While I’m a huge fan of vacations, I’m also a huge fan of embracing the natural ebbs and flows in our business to work in my favor.

Understanding the natural seasons of your biz can help you take off running in the Fall!

I was reading to my kids the other day and came across a parable you might remember:: The Ant + The Grasshopper. Here’s the quick version of the story…

The grasshopper sees the ant working hard all Summer long to prepare for the Winter ahead. He asks the ant “Why don’t you just chill and enjoy the beautiful Summer?” The ant says “I’m preparing for Winter — and I suggest you do the same.”

 

The grasshopper thinks the ant is crazy to pass up the beautiful Summer so he ignores the advice.

 

The seasons change and suddenly, the grasshopper is freezing his booty off and starving while the ant is happily reaping the rewards of all his hard work.

For many entrepreneurs {especially mamas juggling kids during Summer break}, Summer brings a dip in new clients and revenues. Our students + clients are off on vacation. And it feels so easy to slip into the lazy days of summer just like that grasshopper.

Truthbomb:: The summer slowdown is the PERFECT time to build your biz!Click To Tweet

When you’re experiencing a quiet time in your business, it’s easy to kick back and wait for things to pick up again. You might even rationalize shutting down for a month so you can go on vacation {all my clients are on vacation! I should just take the time off!} — but this is a very reactive approach.

Then Labor Day rolls around, people settle into routines again… and you’re running around like crazy + putting yourself on the road to burnout trying to get your business back in action.

I’m a HUGE fan of taking breaks and vacations — but not at the expense of building a sustainable business that works FOR you! And ultimately it’s much much easier to keep the momentum going through the summer than shutting everything down and starting from scratch in the fall.

Let’s go back to our parable and say that ant is a farmer.

Every Summer he plants lots of seeds, nurtures them into little seedlings, fertilizes them and helps them grow until Fall when he harvests his crop.

Little ant knows that not all the seeds will become seedlings.

He knows that the seedlings might take a few years to bear fruit.

But he also knows that if he spends his summers planting + nurturing his trees, then for years and years to come, he will have established trees that consistently give fruit.

This is the journey of the entrepreneur.

Those first few years, it takes more effort to build your business. Not every idea takes off. It takes awhile for your marketing to gain traction and start sending new clients your way. You’re racing up that entrepreneurial learning curve to find profitability and sustainability.

Entrepreneurs who continue to use slower seasons to work ON the big picture of their business and marketing are the ones who, a year or two from now, will have a thriving sustainable business.

So the lesson here?

It’s all about taking advantage of these slower seasons to plan ahead. If you’re at a time when you don’t have to stress as much IN the day-to-day of your business — it’s the PERFECT opportunity to work ON your big picture strategy.

Here’s a few ideas for how you can get the most from the summer slowdown::

5 ways you can use the summer slowdown to grow your biz!Click To Tweet

Make Time for a Mid-Year Review.

If you’re anything like me, the goals you made back in January have changed as your business has evolved and grown. In fact, you might have a completely different game plan for the rest of 2016!

 

A photo posted by Racheal Cook (@racheal.cook) on

If you can find 15 minutes today, here are a few Qs to ask yourself to set yourself up for a strong second half of 2016!

1:: What is your REVENUE so far this year? Are you on or off track?

Behind the Scenes:: We had great revenue this last six months, however we did run into a smaller launch that required me to fill the revenue gaps with a new program and private consulting. Overall – on track!

2:: What is your leading metric that drives revenue {for me, it’s my email list, but your business might run on referrals or repeat business}? How has it grown this year?

Behind the Scenes:: We watch the growth of our email list like a hawk, but we didn’t grow it as much as I’d like due to changes in the game plan after Q1. Overall – need to step up list building game.

3:: What will help you close the gaps between where you are, right now, and where you want to be in December 31st 2016?

Behind the Scenes:: I’ve got 3 ‘Big Rocks’ for Q3 and Q4. 💻 new website is launching this summer on RachealCook.com, complete with an update to the Business Sweet Spot Quiz and new book The Business Sweet Spot! 🎥 Head to toe updates, rebrand, and relaunch to my signature program (including a brand new name) in September 🎙interview marathon coming up this summer and fall as I promote my newest book, The Business Sweet Spot, coming out soon!

Ask Yourself:: What are your TOP 3 priorities for the rest of 2016?

Upgrade Your Systems.

If there’s one thing that will help you to grow your business, it’s having the right systems in place so you can more easily leverage your time and energy {or even get an amazing support team in place}.

What kind of systems should you put into place in your business? Here’s just a few that we depend on behind the scenes of my business::

Google Apps for Work. I don’t know what we’d do without Google Apps for Work. We use Gmail to set up all the email addresses for our business. We use Google Calendar to keep everyone on the same page. And I don’t know what we’d do without Google Drive – not only does it allow us to keep all our checklists and processes in one place, but we use Google Docs to collaborate with all our clients.

Asana. Regardless of it you have a team, you need a dedicated place to manage all your projects and timelines. We use Asana to keep track of all the moving parts in our business {and here’s an amazing tutorial by Female Entrepreneur Association about creating a Business Hub with Asana}.

Satori. There are a million scheduling tools out there, but I ADORE using Satori. It’s designed specifically for coaches to manage your clients – and handles the entire coaching relationship from scheduling to notes to intake forms to invoicing to agreements. It’s an ALL IN ONE for anyone who is working 1×1 with clients for a period of time as a coach, mentor, or consultant.

Ask Yourself:: What systems would help you streamline and systematize your business?

Upgrade Your Content Marketing Strategy.

Raise your hand if blogging, newsletters, and social media is a big part of your overall client attraction strategy? Yep – me too! Educational based marketing has been the cornerstone of how I’ve grown both my businesses over the last 8 years.

This is the perfect time to plant those seeds and nurture your community with delicious content {so when it comes time to invite them to work with you, they are excited to learn more about what you have to offer because you’ve been sharing such relevant, useful content}.

But content marketing – it’s a commitment. It’s not always easy to come up with ideas for what to write about… much less find the time to sit down and create on a consistent basis. {If you need help mapping out your content, learn how you can create a blog strategy right here.}

I’ve found over and over again that summer is the BEST time to sit down an batch create TONS of content. From experience, I know that Fall is a big transition and huge time for my business, but taking the time right now to create 12 weeks of content ensures that I don’t miss a week moving forward.

Ask Yourself:: What can you batch create now so that your Fall is much smoother?

Upgrade Your Brand.

Branding is much more than the colors and logos and design of your website! It’s the overall message of your business. It’s the purpose, the big WHY, of what you do. It’s how your business shows up in the world.

And sometimes… your brand needs a little update.

We all grow and evolve. As you work with more and more clients, you get more clarity about who you are here to serve, what really do best, and your highest value. Does your existing brand accurately reflect that to the world?

This is the perfect time to upgrade your messaging and positioning to truly reflect all the value you bring your clients {no more being told you’re too expensive because they KNOW working with you is worth every penny}.

Behind the scenes, I’m 9 months into a major rebranding process. It’s been INTENSE. This amazing process with Sarah Ancalmo at Public Persona led us to not only completely rewriting all the copy for my website and having a new photoshoot, but also overhauling my offerings from head to toe.

 

A photo posted by Racheal Cook (@racheal.cook) on

Upgrade Your Offerings.

Finally, summer is the perfect time to plan and create new offerings {finally – break free from the feast or famine cycle of hourly work with more leveraged products, programs, and productized services}… or upgrade existing offerings.

The first time I ever offered my signature program, Conscious Business Design, was the summer of 2011. With my husband Jameson home on his summer break from teaching, it was the perfect time for me to create a such a robust program.

And over the last 5 years – there have been at least 4 major updates to the program!

This summer has been the first summer I haven’t run a live round of Conscious Business Design because this year, I decided it was the perfect time to completely overhaul the program from top to bottom before running the next round this Fall. Wanna learn more? Tour CBD right here + learn about Early Enrollment.

Ask Yourself:: What programs, products, or services need an upgrade to better reflect the value you offer?

So while I’m enjoying my 4 day summer work week and have planned a few vacations this summer, I’ll also be working on my second book {The Business Sweet Spot – dropping next month!} and some other projects to grow my biz in the second half of 2016 and beyond.

I’d love to hear from you – what are you doing to keep the momentum going this summer?

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