Is it just us, or does spring break seem to come earlier and earlier each year? Mind you, we’re not complaining, but if you’re like us (and not heading to Daytona Beach or Mazatlán), this welcome week off might catch you off guard. But business owners rarely get to take a week off. And if you’re not prepared, you could be missing out on some serious opportunities to set yourself up for success. Here are five things you can do this spring break season to make a lasting difference and boost your business.
1. Do something you’ve been putting off all winter.
Everyone has one of these projects in the back of their mind, and if you don’t, you’re probably forgetting something important. Maybe you’ve been putting off re-shingling your not-quite-leaking roof, maybe you’re almost ready to launch a new product that requires a little more manpower than you currently have, or maybe you want to pass out flyers in the community to drum up some business.
The point is, there are endless possibilities for a business owner who’s determined to think outside the box and accomplish a project that’s going to benefit them in the long run.
2. Plan a project you can accomplish in a week.
Here’s where your creativity is really going to have to shine. Anyone can plan a small project that can be done by just a person or two in a couple of days, but we’re aiming bigger here. After all, spring break is not for the faint of heart. Let’s go back to the example of re-shingling a roof. Can it be done in a week? Certainly. Will it be easy? Not unless you’re a Hulk-sized shingling machine.
You would need to buy the supplies early, have enough tools and equipment for all of your helpers (more on that later), and be ready to put in long hours to get it done. Making a list of what your project requires (along with how much each item will cost) and how long you expect each task to take will help you prepare for the big week. Once you’ve got your list written, proceed to do everything in your power before your start date. This week-long work sprint can be difficult, but when you’re looking at your completed project, your well-deserved margarita will taste even sweeter.
3. Save your pennies to fund it.
Depending on how high you’re aiming, you might need to dig pretty deep into your pockets. That’s alright, because you’ve got the determination and sticktoitiveness to make it work. Maybe you’ll have to focus all your resources on this project, maybe you’ll have to borrow a little from your vacation fund, or maybe you’ll have to forgo your salary this pay period. Depending on the nature of your project, you might be able to put it on your business credit card (which will have perks of its own) or take out a small business loan quickly to help you foot the bill on the project. Most of the “get approved fast” loans have higher interest rates, so planning ahead and keeping an eye on your credit can make sure you have access to low-rate loans when you need them. (You can check your personal and business credit scores for free on Nav to see where you stand.)
Pro tip: No matter how you plan to fund your project, never put off paying your bills on time. Paying late can wreck your business credit scores, increase your interest rates and hurt your future financing potential.
4. Hire a spring break-er.
Have children who are old enough to hold a paintbrush without getting drips on the floor? Hire ’em! Know a neighbor who would love a week’s worth of income? Hire ’em! Is your friend’s kid home from college and they deserve an extra cupboard-full of ramen? Hire ’em!
This is quite an oversimplification of how to arrange a workforce, but you get the idea. By lining up a full roster of limited-time employees, you won’t have to scramble when the project begins. Just remember to keep everything kosher with your record keeping and have plenty of tax forms printed out before you get started.
5. Help your customers make the most of spring break, too.
This last tip won’t work for every type of business, but most business owners can benefit from increased community patronage. If you’re able to, run a promotion during spring break to drive more business. Consider offering a discount on your services for the week, and make use of the extra employees you have around. Though it might seem counterintuitive to spend extra on more staff while offering discounts on your services, building a loyal following in your home town can pay big dividends in the long run. Just be sure to run the numbers before overcommitting in either direction so you don’t decimate your bottom line.
Since spring break is just a few short weeks away, you’ve got limited time to get your ducks in a row and plan how you’ll spend it. Armed with these tips and your big idea, we expect to hear some great stories of what you’ve accomplished!
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