One thing that is true in business is that nothing ever stays the same. People’s taste’s change, habits change, customers come and go, the economy gets worse or better, employees leave, new technologies emerge, and more. It’s not a matter of if things will change, it’s a matter of when will things change.


This begs the question, “how will you manage that change?”


For example, it’s especially important during this time of year to make sure you continue to market your business in new ways, because 1) people are certainly not getting their information they way they used to, and 2) folks are busy outside and on the road doing other things. That tired old marketing campaign that you have used forever might need some freshening up.


Indeed, relying on old habits when new and better tools have emerged is only one mistake small business owners can make. There are plenty more, that’s for sure, especially this time of year.


Here then are the top traps you need to avoid this summer:


Discounting too much: For many businesses, it is easy to get so caught up in the slowness of the season that they are tempted to have, say, a “sidewalk blowout sale!” as a way to grab attention or gain more business.


Don’t fall for that trap.


Customers shop with you for many reasons, and only one is the price. Of course you need to be sensitive to price, but remember that there are other facets that go into the buying equation that are equally, if not more, important. Unless you are the low price leader, your customers are your customers for a lot more important reasons than your low prices.


And this leads directly to a similar mistake:


Not competing on your turf: We all love big box retailers for a few reasons, generally speaking they offer:


  • Great selection
  • Competitive prices
  • Professionalism
  • Reliability


That said, we cannot and should not play on their turf, especially in the summer when they may be advertising more to get noticed, and gain more traffic. It is far smarter to make them compete on your playing field. Your friendliness, convenience, and personal touch can’t be beat. That’s your secret sauce.


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Not giving or taking time off: If this is your busy time of year, it is understandable that you and your staff will be working hard. Just keep in mind that all work and no play not only makes your employees dull, but also makes them unhappy. If this is not your busy time of year, then it’s important to be sensitive to the fact that employees expect extra free time right about now.


Be sure that your team (including you!) get some time off to partake in the great weather.


Relying too little on social media: With a little extra time on your hands, a social media marketing campaign just may be that new idea that you need to try this summer.


Not being mobile ready: Even if your business does not engage in e-commerce, people will still find you, or be able to look for you, via their phone. This is especially true when customers are out and about more in the good weather. The thing to remember is that right now, at this very moment, people are searching and shopping via their mobile device.


Combined, this means you must have a strong Web presence, and your site must be search engine optimized, full of key words and phrases and content, and has to be mobile optimized. Being listed in Google My Business, and Bing Places is similarly vital.


Similar to golf, summer is a lot more fun when you don’t hit the traps.


About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

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