William Shakespeare never ran an online store, but if he’d had the opportunity, I have no doubt he could have been successful.
Because William Shakespeare understood the importance of timing…
He once wrote…
“Timing is everything. There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”
The same applies to your online business.
Selling successfully online means paying attention to the change in seasons, the change in what your customers are buying and making the the right changes in your business at the right time to ride the wave of momentum towards future fortune.
In short, it’s all about timing.
Now when many people think about summer, the word vacation comes to mind. But if you’re an online entrepreneur, don’t plan on taking the entire summer off!
Because… to quote another famous saying “You snooze, you lose.” 🙂
The summer is a golden opportunity for you to make some smart moves that will set you up to make more profits the rest of the year.
11 SMART Moves to Make This Summer (to Put Sizzle in Your Sales This Year)!
1. Put the plethora of available talent to work! Throngs of teens, college students, even your own children are looking for a way to make some extra money during the summer. Summer is the perfect time to enlist the help you might otherwise not have access to all year. Your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, the neighbor kids, etc. would be thrilled to have a great summer job a few hours a week working for YOU.
The pool of qualified workers for straightforward home based business tasks mushrooms during the summer. Yet the home based business sector is the least likely to take advantage of this opportunity. And what’s ironic of course, is that home based business owners need reasonably priced labor most of all!
I already sat down with my own kids and outlined what projects are available this summer in the business and what they’d like to do. And they’re thrilled!
NOTE: I am not a lawyer or tax adviser. You’ll want to be sure and check the specific laws in your state when contracting children under age 18 to work for you. If you are actually going to hire a son or daughter, check with your accountant first. And get clear on the number of hours you can bring someone in to work with you before the IRS requires you hire them as an employee.
I recommend bringing people in on a project by project basis. i.e. photographing inventory, or organizing the office etc. If you do bring someone in to ship products a few times a week or do other tasks on an hourly basis, make sure they fill out a time sheet and that you track their time worked. Dot every “i’ and cross every “t” but take advantage of this ideal opportunity to grow your business.
2. Snap up the sumptuous samplings of available inventory . If you sell unique one of a kind items online, the summer is your oyster. Yard sales abound, flea markets are in full swing, thrift stores are marking down their inventory. In fact some of my clients brings in a team during the summer, just to help them scour the city yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores several times a week. They do 60% of their product sourcing from May – Sept. With a team help them, they can cover 10 times the territory that they could cover on their own.
With the sunny summer weather comes the desire to clean out the house and have a yard sale. This makes for a product sourcing cornucopia.
3. Contact suppliers for sizzling hot deals. End of season merchandise, pre-season specials, you name it! Now’s the time to call and ask your supplier what summer deals they have available. Or take a trip and do some local product sourcing. Heading to hot Atlanta? Visit the AmericasMart merchandise mart while you’re there. Check with your accountant about writing off a part of the trip as a business expense.
4. Last call for holiday importing. Been thinking about importing new merchandise for the holidays? Better get the show on the road – because if you wait past mid-July it will be too late to get it in time for the holiday selling season.
5. Wave the flag and make sure your customers don’t forget you! Keep marketing! Just because your customers are at the beach, on vacation, or enjoying the great outdoors, doesn’t mean that you should stop marketing to them. Email marketing is still the best way to connect with your customers on a regular basis. And people who receive emails from online retailers spend on average 138% more than than those who don’t receive emails. Keep in mind that between Smartphones, Netbooks and iPads your customer may very well be at the beach while she is reading your email and shopping at your online store.
And make your marketing fun! Tie it to the 4th of July holiday or pick an obscure summer holiday like Bloomsday (June 16th) or Sewing Machine Day (June 13th) or National Pink Day (June 23rd) and tie a related promotion to that. Make it fun! It’s summer!
6. Retail resale is real swell during the summer. Lego sets at 90% off. Wet suits discounted 60%. Pre- back-to-school sales previews what will be the hot holiday products. It’s all there waiting for you at your local retail store. By July 5th, brick and mortar stores will be transitioning to their back-to-school inventory. You can pick up some GREAT deals in you local store and bring that inventory online for your global customer base.
Which brings me to… yep, dare I say it? 🙂 The holiday selling season!
7. Stock up now for the holiday selling season. Even though you’re wearing a bathing suit and sitting by the lake, your need to spend some time thinking, planning and sourcing for the holiday season. If you’ve been tracking the trends for 2010 in your category, you should already have an idea of what will be hot in your category for Christmas. And for some categories, especially the toy category, NOW is the time to head to your local retail store and stock up on those hot sellers you can’t get from a wholesaler.
8. Sit under a tree, envision and plan. Did you know that envisioning what you want your business to look like, then planning it out on paper will make you money? In fact, without a vision and a plan, I can guarantee you won’t hit your goals. Next time you’re sitting under a tree, don’t just watch the grass grow. Take a few of those summer days and purposefully get away from you desk, pack a lunch and head to the park to work.
Bring a notebook, a pen and let your mind flow. Think about your business. What you from it. What you want your day and your life to look like. Let all the creative business ideas you have in the back of your head come flooding back into your consciousness. And let them flow onto the paper. By the time you’re done, you’ll have numerous profit generating ideas documented, a mind that’s clean and clear – ready for NEW ideas to grow and the empowering feeling of knowing that you are in charge of your business as the CEO, rather than beinghe business every day.
9. Clean sweep your product line. Throw open the windows, let the sun shine in and dig in to those boxes of inventory that need to be listed an sold! Have anything that will sell on Amazon? Box it up and ship it to Amazon FBA. Let them handle the packing, shipping, customer service and while you spend your time being the CEO of your company with a focus on growth, marketing and bringing in new inventory.
10. Get organized! There is a direct relationship between the amount of clutter you have and the amount of income you can make. Over the years, I’ve consulted with many types of clients – those who are neat as a pin and those work work in a “lived in” office. And I’ve never once have a worked with a client whose income didn’t improve when they cleared out the clutter!
While you’re clean sweeping your product line, it’s a perfect time to clear out the clutter. It’s also a opportunity to hire a Neat Nellie teen and let them have at it. (And for those who think such a bird does not exist, I’ve had three of my 13 year old son’s friends beg me to come help with my organizational projects this summer because they “love to organize”. (PS: So far it’s all been girls who have offered.) 😉
Buy shelves, label your inventory, take inventory! and put it in a spreadsheet. Get your paperwork filed. If you haven’t filed your tax returns yet, find the forms and finally get that refund.
11. Implement One New Thing In Your Business You’ve Never Done Before. There’s something about the summer sun (maybe all that Vitamin D?) that brings out the adventuresome spirit in us. A vacation spot you’ve never been to before, a taste of an exotic summer fruit, maybe a spin around the lake on a Seadoo or camping out under the summer stars…
Why not apply your adventuresome summer spirit to your business and challenge yourself to implement something different in your business over the summer. Maybe it’s a trek into video, testing a new product line, creating a Facebook Fan Page. Maybe it’s sending out your first email marketing campaign!
In fact, I’ll even go one better – I’ll put out a challenge to everyone – implement something new in your business this summer and then come back to this post and tell me what you did! The winner will get something cool.
Sales Happen When Preparation Meets Opportunity
There’s a Chinese Proverb that says “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”
The same is true of your sales. If you use the dogs days of summer like one smart puppy and do a little every day to to get ahead of your competition. Come fall, when everyone wakes up out of the summer haze realizing that the biggest selling season of the year is right in front of them, and they’re not prepared… you’ll be sitting in your nice clean office, watching your products sell, calm and relaxed and excited about your sales figures this year…
Now that’s a long cool drink of lemonade!
PS: If you make a plan and do a bit every day, you’ll be able to put the sizzle in your sales and still have plenty of time to enjoy your summer!