The lazy days of summer are here!
Hopefully you’ve had some fun, whether that means relaxing at the beach or the lake, extra family time, a chance to catch up on that perfect summer book, or whatever it is that’s special to you.
At the same time, a lot of Amazon sellers, and business owners in general, worry about what is called summer slowdown.
Summer can be a challenging time to run a business. We are out of our usual routines and for many, the kids are out of school and roaming through the house looking for something to do. This is also the time when many people take vacations and simply aren’t around.
That can be a lot of distraction! No wonder some businesses take a hit. Not as much work as usual being done.
Today we’re going to talk about running a business in the summer: some strategies for being productive, areas where we can find a competitive advantage — and we’ll even grant you a little “permission” to play hooky. 🙂
Take Time To Enjoy Your Life As An Entrepreneur
As entrepreneurs, we tend to be “on” constantly. And I am totally talking to myself here! Ask Cliff, he will confirm that I am always running ideas around.
When we’re not physically doing something to grow our businesses, we’re mentally plotting the next 15 steps.
But, take a look at why you originally started your business in the first place.
In our family, we do this for the freedom to choose our schedules, and for us, that means taking it a little easier in the summer. We work like crazy during Q4, when we earn half of our annual income, in order to let off the gas a little the remainder of the year.
It’s that kind of flexibility that appeals to many Amazon sellers. After all, what’s the point of having a business if you don’t have the time to enjoy it?
To us, it’s ok if you don’t spend a lot of time working in the summer. That doesn’t mean you stop or go backwards; it just means you give yourself permission to relax and recharge. After all, that is just as important! You need to be fresh and focused to run a successful business.
Find Creative Ways To Have Your Kids Working With You In The Business
Many people like to involve their whole family in their business. We do! There are so many great life lessons that kids can learn from watching their parents build a business, whether that means two parents working together, or just one.
Kids learn time management, delayed gratification, budgeting, leadership and attention to detail, to name just a few!
So as long as they’re home from school, summer is a great time to involve your kids in your home business.
There are a lot of age-appropriate ways to do this in an Amazon FBA business. Younger children can help with labeling and taking stickers off of boxes, for example.
Aiden loves to put the FNSKU labels on the products, almost as much as he likes to use the extra labels for coloring his own “stickers”.
Kids who are old enough to handle a packing tape dispenser can help tape up boxes. Children can polybag products. Older kids can help carry those boxes to the car and then into the UPS store (if you don’t have pickup). We have the cutest video of Aiden weighing a box when he was just a little tiny toddler! It’s memories like this that make having our family business so special. I hope you are experiencing the same joy in your own business.
And kids are also quick studies when it comes to sourcing! A lot of kids have their own smartphones, so why not install the free Amazon Seller app on there and have them help find product?
Of course, it’s nice to offer them some type of reward in exchange for the work, whether it’s actual cash or a toy they’ve been eyeing (bonus points if that toy comes from your returned product stash).
And if your business includes an online presence, you definitely should involve the kids! They can take photos or video for you, then post updates to places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
You’ll probably want to approve of the posts before they go live, but older kids would almost certainly have some fresh, creative ideas. I can’t wait for Aiden to get to this point 🙂
Use The Down Time To Catch Up On Some Needed Tasks
Summer is also a great time to catch up on those business chores that so often fall to the bottom of the to-do list.
This is a great time of year to make an appointment with your CPA to ask any tax questions and discuss your business. They won’t be as busy, and enough of the year has gone by that you have plenty to review, yet there is also enough time to make corrections if needed.
Summer is also the perfect time to take stock of your goals. What did you plan to accomplish this year, and are you on track to do so?
If you’re new around here and haven’t started an Amazon FBA business yet, you still have time to take advantage of the Back to School season and the Fourth Quarter / Q4 season. Ditto if you’ve been selling for awhile! Those are two seasons that can help you make up any lost ground.
Check out our Back to School Profits guide for more information on selling during the second most profitable time of year.
It’s never to early to get some Q4 studying in either. So grab the Q4 Profits guide and be ready to roll when the Christmas holiday is here. Because we all know it will be here before we know it.
The great thing about summer is that you can brainstorm anywhere! Take your laptop or a notebook to the beach and write down ideas for growing your business. The change of scenery and the laid-back atmosphere will probably help your ideas to flow. It’s amazing what happens when you relax a little.
A lot of my time in the summer is spent by the pool with my laptop open looking for new product opportunities online!
Use The Summer To Grab Some Awesome Deals
Of course, all of this talk about relaxing and brainstorming doesn’t mean we aren’t still running our day-to-day businesses!
Summer is when retail stores run a bunch of clearance sales, making this a great time to source and stock up on inventory of all kinds. You’ll hear a lot of sellers talk about the annual Target toy clearance sale, when the giant retailer works to clear its shelves to make way for its Q4 inventory.
Other stores will be doing the same, and you’ll often find product at 50% off or more.
A couple of things to note. First, we always recommend buying product that will sell now rather than buying inventory and hoping it will go up in price around Christmas. If it does go up, that’s a nice bonus for you, but don’t rely on it.
Second, be aware that these summer clearance sales are taking place nationally, so thousands of other sellers are out there buying the same product. This tends to result in a drop in price; be prepared for it and either make sure you can profit despite the drop, or be ready to wait it out and capitalize when prices rebound.
If you don’t already understand best seller rankings and how to read Keepa and CamelCamelCamel charts, here’s a great post that explains it. For even more detailed information, check out the “How to Keepa Camel” video course.
Understanding a product’s sales history will help you know what an item’s typical price point is and give you the confidence to wait for those lower-priced sellers to sell out of their inventory.
There you have it friend! Our best tips for running a home based business in the summer.
What other tips do you have for running a business in the summer? How do you combine business and pleasure?