Summer Is Almost Over: Here’s 10 Ways to Get Back to Business for the Fall | Business

As the dog days of Summer come to an end, it’s time to ramp up your business plans for Fall. There’s no better time than now to put things into high gear.After reading this list of practical ideas you will be able to get back to business armed with great ideas and inspiration to help you finish the year on a high note.1. Review and Assess. Many small business owners spent so much time working IN their business, that they don’t take time to plan, review and strategize ON their business.Schedule quiet time away from the office to think, dream, and assess. Here’s some questions to ponder:• Have you reached your goals?• If so, what attributed to your success?• If not, what got in your way?• Did you reach your revenue goals?• How many new clients did you gain?• How did those clients find you?• What areas of your business were the most profitable?• Are there expenses you need to keep an eye on?• Which marketing activities get the best return on investment?• Are there people you need to follow up with that are back from vacation?2. Make Goal Cards. I am a firm believer in the power of focus and intention. Writing down your goals and reviewing them daily keeps them top of mind. It also keeps you from getting sidetracked from things that are not in alignment with your top priorities.I love to take time in the morning visualizing each goal as if it has already come true. This gets me engaged and excited to do whatever it takes to make my business goals materialize.

3. Define Action Items. Take your goals and break them down into action items with deadlines.Define what you will do yourself, what you can assign to a team member, and what you can outsource. Wunderlist, Asana, and Basecamp are excellent project management tools that make it easy to track, manage, and follow progress of tasks for virtual teams. We use eGroupware and it works great for our virtual team productivity.4. Identify Resources Needed. What do you need to make your goals happen? Do you need to hire new team members? Do you need to learn a new skill? Should you invest in new technology or software to get it accomplished? Will you hire a coach or mentor to keep you on track with your goals? Is there an industry event you should attend? Are there new networking groups you should look into?Arm yourself with everything you need to make your goals a reality.5. Update Your Website. Carefully review your website to see what is out of date from this summer and update it with new information about upcoming Fall promotions, new blog posts, and change anything else that is no longer applicable to your business.If you haven’t given it much thought, now is the time to stop neglecting your website and get it working FOR you instead of AGAINST you.6. Holiday Planning. There’s still time to have a back to school sale. Plus, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas are just around the corner.Many people start holiday shopping early. So, plan your seasonal promotions and plan out your marketing calendar accordingly.Organize your plans and promotions such as:• Put your summer items on a clearance sale.• Create a new product or program launch around a holiday theme.• Get extra visibility by signing up for Fall events and trade shows.• Schedule your Cyber Monday shopping specials.• Write and pre-schedule your email marketing, and social media, and blog posts now so you can kick back and relax with your family during the holidays instead of slaving over your business.7. Offer Gift Cards and Top Holiday Gift Ideas. Make it easy for shoppers looking for gifts for those hard-to-buy-for individuals.• Make a landing page just for your gift cards.• Add a navigation button on your website.• Make social media graphics to promote your gift cards and top gift items.• Write a blog post with the most popular gift items you offer.8. Boost Sales with a Facebook Ad. Grab holiday sales fast by setting up a Facebook ad that captures buyers attention. Re-market to your business’s Facebook Page visitors using a custom audience re-targeting pixel on your website.For example if someone is looking at “gifts for dad” on your website, use a Facebook re-targeting pixel to show your ads for best gifts for dad to them on their Facebook feed!

Not sure how to do all that? Get help from a marketer who knows how to get the best value from those efforts.9. Show Gratitude with Season Cards. Now is not too early to hunt for those perfect holiday cards. Better yet, get a card custom designed to enhance and really showcase your brand.Let your clients, colleagues, staff, and trusted vendors know how much you appreciate them.One idea to stand out from the crowd is to send Thanksgiving or New Years cards instead of the typical Christmas card.10. Schedule Your Holiday Vacation Time Now. Summer isn’t the only time you can get away and enjoy a break. Add your holiday schedule to your calendar now and encourage team members to put in their vacation requests early too.This gives you time to work out any scheduling issues and make holiday time less stressful.I hope this inspires you to come up with creative and profitable plans to build your business as we near the Fall season.A systematic approach to a fall review can produce amazing results if you plan in detail and cover all the bases.The more you plan now, the easier and more successful your business will be for the rest of the year.Do you have any further tips you can share about getting back into business focus once summer is almost over?

the best business to start right now

Nearly everyone likes the idea of being their own boss. Entrepreneurship has long been a popular goal. With the current challenging economic times, this goal is even more desirable – and more difficult – than ever. Many hopeful entrepreneurs are turning to their computers, as internet based businesses typically have low start up costs and are easily managed in one’s spare time. This leads to the question, just what is the best business to open on the internet?

You have probably encountered a variety of get-rich-quick schemes (if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is), and work from home offers (usually minimal pay, and they still include a remote boss breathing down your neck). Along with these simple sounding, yet not feasible, solutions you will find a host of expert advise. If these experts claim to have a one-size-fits-all solution telling you the best business to open on the internet consider this a red flag. In truth, the best business to start online depends largely on the person starting it.

One of the first rules of business is selling what you know. We are all experts in something. Hobbies, interests, life experiences and current or previous employment can provide you with above-average knowledge of skills in specific areas. Likewise, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Think of things you are better at than your peers, and specific strengths such an organizational skills or communication. Make a list of your own special qualifications, and use that to build your own business opportunity.

Once you have determined your skill set and area of expertise, it’s time to decide what to do with it. Here are the top three ways to turn your skills into online business opportunities.

1) Affiliate Marketing. If you have enough knowledge about a subject to create an informative website, you can easily monetize it through affiliate programs. For the cost of a web host, and the time to build a website you will be on your way. There are companies in nearly any niche imaginable, offering affiliate programs. Select the ones you feel comfortable promoting, and post testimonials or advertisements on your site along with the affiliate link. You will receive a percentage of every sale made from a click-through on your website.

To start with, you will need enough content for a 5-10 page website. Make sure you provide valuable information or insight, as this will keep your traffic and page-rankings high. Add to your site weekly at minimum. Fresh content will boost search engine traffic. Affiliate marketing can be easily incorporated into a static website, blog, or both.

2) Outsourcing. Contrary to popular belief, outsourcing isn’t all about sending our jobs overseas. Many companies are streamlining operations by contracting out work previously done in-house. If you have skills such as accounting, preparation of legal paperwork, or art that can be performed remotely, this may be the easiest and best business to start online.

There are a growing number of websites dedicated to freelance work. You can choose one of these or create a website to promote and sell your service. This is very similar to setting up a professional practice with a home office, except your clients come to you virtually.

3) Consultation and Tutoring. If you have truly expert knowledge in any particular area, you can start your online business by selling that knowledge. Whether the subject is world travel, coping with grief, or advanced algebra people in need of an advisor will typically pay good money. This option requires good people-skills, as you will likely be dealing with clients one-on-one.

You will need a website to promote your service, and allow potential clients a way to contact you. It can be a simple one-page site with a description of services and contact form, though websites including valuable information about the topic will lend credibility. Online communities and topic specific forums are often the best, free, places to advertise your business.

Depending upon your specific area of skills and knowledge, the best business to open on the internet may be some combination of the three discussed above. Whatever your choice, remember the first rule of business (sell what you know), as well as the second rule – offer value to the customer. This is always a winning combination.