Summertime is finally here and with it comes more freedom, more time for fun stuff, and more time to do absolutely nothing (if that’s your style). But while your next door neighbors and everyone else you know are out soaking up the sun at the beach, you’re staying put to keep your business up and running. There’s only one problem—with the chaotic schedules of summertime, things at your business have suddenly gotten a little...slow.

Every business experiences a slow down of the daily grind during summer. Business can’t be booming all of the time, right? And that’s totally fine! In fact, no matter how experienced or successful your company is, at one point or another, it will experience a lull.

So, what do you do with this unexpected time on your hands? Instead of getting stuck in a funk, use this time to do something really awesome for yourself and your business! When things are slow during the summer, it’s actually a great time to evaluate how your business is doing and how you can fine-tune things to improve. For example, you could be spending your time taking online courses to learn more about digital marketing for your brand, or (finally) getting around to cleaning out that daunting file drawer to get ahead of tax season. Whatever your priorities are, here’s how to not only survive the slow times but make the most of them, too.

Give Your Online Presence A Makeover

When’s the last time you hit refresh on your social media profiles? Or your business’ website? Even though your business’ digital presence is one of the most vital ways to market yourself and reach new and old customers, it can be pretty easy to adopt a “set it and forget” mentality as soon as things pick up.

Fortunately, these snoozy summer months are the perfect time to finally inject new life into your digital footprint. Sit down and brainstorm Facebook and Instagram posts for the next two months so you can put out fresh content regularly. Update your profile pictures or cover photos. Or consider creating a fun user-generated content contest to spark engagement and awareness.

Don’t forget your company’s website, too! Here are a few important areas you should spend the most time updating: 

Your Website’s Design

First impressions are vital, so it’s important that you redesign your website regularly to stay on top of evolving design trends. Does your site look like it’s from the GeoCities era? Is it structured the right way? Take this time to make sure your site is clean, easy to navigate and, well, just nice to look at. If you realize it’s time to take your site out of 1998 and into 2019, consider intuitive website builders like Squarespace, Weebly or Wix.

Your Website’s Security

Websites get hacked all the time. Before your homepage gets defaced or your entire site is wiped out, make sure you’re putting the right steps in place to protect your business. Whether you’re using Wordpress, Drupal or any other content management system, making sure your website’s software is up-to-date is the easiest way to keep hackers out.

Your Website’s Content

The right content not only gets your customers to your page, but it encourages them to stick around. Consider adding clearer calls-to-action on your website so they don’t just skim through your landing page, but actually take action to learn more. Make sure your CTAs are clearly defined and are interesting enough to your visitors so they actually click on them. Here’s a little inspiration. 

Make sure you also take a look at the quality of the content on your site. Fine-tuning your web writing skills can increase your site’s traffic and authority. To do this, identify and target a few keyword phrases that are relevant to your business. Weaving those phrases throughout your landing page, supplemental pages and blog will make your content more relevant and help boost your search engine rankings.

Learn Something New

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I wish I knew how to do that?” Well, now is your chance to learn how to do that thing—whatever it is. Have you ever wanted to learn the fundamentals of coding so you can create a killer custom website? There’s a class for that. Or maybe you’ve always been curious about the nuances of Facebook Ads Manager to enhance your next digital marketing push. There are easy ways to get studied up on that, too.

Here are a few useful business skills that you can start studying up on today:

Social Media Advertising

Driving brand awareness, affinity and action via platforms like Facebook and Instagram has become one of the most important ways to market your business. But with changing algorithms, you can’t rely on posting announcements organically and still expect them to reach your consumers. That’s where Facebook Ads Manager comes in. Learning how to allocate a budget to posts, target key consumers and optimize based on performance is a vital skill that’ll help get your brand noticed. The best part? Facebook Blueprint gives you free access to tutorials so you can master social media advertising in no time.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

It’s time for your business to capitalize on the astronomical number of searches happening on Google every second. How? Learning how to use Google Ads, Google’s online advertising program that allows you to create online ads to reach your perfect audience. Google Ads lets you set your target keywords, your budget and your target audience so your company pops up the next time someone searches for the exact thing you offer. There are tons of tutorials out there that can help you get started.

Coding

In a sea of website templates, learning how to code gives you an opportunity to make your company website stand out. With some basic HTML knowledge, you can tweak and build a website designed to specifically meet your needs, rather than settling for a one-size-fits-all approach. Websites like CodeAcademy make it easy to get your feet wet with courses on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and SQL.

Take Time To Appreciate Your Customers

Your customers are the No. 1 reason why you’re even in business. Use your downtime to show them some love! After you acquire their contact information from a sale, you can easily send out a personalized greeting to your customers, thanking them for their business. Consider including a short questionnaire in your outreach, so you can learn ways to better serve them in the future. Not only will you establish a meaningful and personal connection that’ll keep them coming back, but you’ll discover new ways to enhance your business and show that you’re always listening.

Reevaluate Your Business Goals

This is a crucial one. As a small business, things can pivot and evolve quickly. That’s why you should always revisit your goals on a regular basis.

Write down your daily, weekly and monthly tasks for the business. What’s taking up the most of your time?

Now, take a look back at the goals you set for yourself (maybe it was to boost more sales, get more followers on Facebook or increase website traffic by 25%). What current tasks helped you make progress on those goals? And what time-consuming tasks aren’t contributing to those goals? This is a good way to realign and reprioritize the things that matter most to your business’ growth, so you can jump in at full speed when business picks back up.

Another detail to consider is whether or not your business entity still makes sense for you and your business where it’s at now—not where it was when you started. If you started your business as a sole proprietorship, for instance, there’s a chance you may have grown beyond that and need to form an LLC. Don’t worry if you’re unsure which business structure is best for you at this moment. Chat with a business entity expert to determine which formation structure will best serve you and align with your goals.

Take Some Time For Yourself And Have a Little Fun

Wait a minute—do something fun during this slow period? Even when it feels like there are a million other things to get done? Any big business executives will most likely say that the secret to long-term success is taking a break from work. We’re talking about leaving the laptop behind and setting that out of office email. Taking a real vacation can do wonders for your mental health and well-being. You’ll come back to work feeling refreshed, ready, and more productive than ever before.