How To Maintain Business Momentum During Summer

Here’s a cautionary tale: I have a pal who used to own some very profitable and popular restaurants. The operative phrase you may have already noticed is, “used to own.”

My friend built the place from the ground up. He started there as a busboy when he was in high school, went on to become a waiter while in college, and afterwards became an assistant manager and then manager. Eventually he bought the place. After a few years, he grew it to a chain of three restaurants. But the thing is, he was a tough boss, and worked everyone, himself included, very hard, too hard. He didn't take vacation, and neither did his staff. No one really liked working there, and frankly, I don't think he did either.

Not surprisingly, eventually he burnt out. Divorced and exhausted, he sold the business and now is trying to figure out what’s next. The moral of course is that you have to have balance when you are an entrepreneur. This is especially relevant this time of year when the weather is nicer and your staff wants and expects time off. So the question is – how do you run a business when people’s minds may be elsewhere and still keep up the business momentum?

The ironic answer is that to be more productive in the summer . . . you probably need to be less productive in the summer.

Here’s what I mean: This time of year, people have a lot of other things to think about and do, other than work. Employees want time off, their kids are around, their spouse may be expecting a vacation – it all comes into play. So whether you like it or not, this is a unique time of year.

Let me suggest that the proper course of action is to, instead of resisting that, run with it instead. If people want time off, give it to them. If they need an extra day here or there, or want to swap days with other employees, say yes instead of no.

The upshot of this sort of policy is two-fold:

First of all, you will have a lot of happy campers (pardon the pun.) People like working for people they like. If you take into account the emotional (and recreational) needs of your staff and yourself, plan accordingly, and maybe loosen the reins a little more than normal, what you will find is that your employees will love you. And when you employees are happy, usually that means that your customers are too because they are being treated properly.

And that brings us to point number two: It is highly unlikely that either you or your staff will be productive this summer if you all really wish you were someplace else. So go with the flow. Don’t fight it. Use it to your advantage.

Time off is the key. If your staff understands that in order to get to play hard they have to work hard too, they will very likely agree to, and appreciate, that bargain. And that, in the end, will mean that you will not only have a refreshed business, but a productive one to boot.

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