By June Brockmeyer and Jeanette LeBlanc
As a small business owner, you’ve been doing everything you can to own your summer but with the end fast approaching, you need to think of new ideas and things you can do to move on to the next season having made a positive impact. If you haven’t felt like you’ve done enough to rock your small business summer, check out these fun ideas you can start implementing today.
1. The adult version of a sandcastle contest
Remember building sandcastles on the beach when you were a kid? The great feeling that you built something amazing out of a pile of sand was enough to make you happy for days. Showing your masterpiece to everyone on the beach made you proud and ready to go after the world. Now, think about the sandcastle contests that are happening on beaches as we speak; they generate so much buzz because they’re innovative. There are people from all over who show up to these competitions to admire the unique creations. You can take part in something similar if you host a day for your small business to build something new and unique, like a hackathon. The point is to bring your team together for one last big project this summer and make something that will help grow revenue quickly.
- Set specific time frames for your event, like 48 hours to innovate and create
- Be specific on what types of creations you want (products, services, etc.)
- Share some possible big rocks that need solutions and allow their minds to start the innovation
Even if your employees aren’t able to build something new or effective the first time around, the experience and process of thinking outside the box and collaborating to innovate can make an extremely positive impact, both inside the office and out.
2. Take a deep dive into your old content
If you’ve ever given your customers or prospects something of value like an e-book, blog post, sent a newsletter or made a video, you’re using content marketing. Those valuable assets may have been sent out to someone months or years ago, but they may still be relevant to someone new. To expand your reach, repurpose your content.
Take inventory of your existing clients and brainstorm potential options for repurposing or repackaging content that you already have. Find out if your audience finds particular pieces interesting and see if they can be adapted to different formats or updated to fit today’s world. You can change up the wording, the graphic design or even the headlines a little and soon you’ll have newer pieces of content that came from older pieces you had all along.
3. Marco polo
If you grew up anywhere near a body of water, your childhood summers probably included more than a few games of Marco Polo – long hours in the pool with your eyes closed, calling out “Marco” and waiting for your teammates to respond “Polo” so that you could locate and tag them. Thankfully, to find your customers you don’t have to navigate a body of water with your eyes closed, but it can feel just as challenging sometimes. Despite difficulties, it’s important to stay in touch with your audience. This keeps you connected with their needs and pain points, and helps them connect with you as a real person, not just a business owner. As summer winds down, why not think outside of the box when it comes to your customer connection? You don’t have to invite each of them over for a pool party, but you can get outside your norm and get proactive in relationship building: consider a Google Hangout, conducting a customer survey or hosting a webinar. Look around your industry for new ways to engage with your customers and deepen your relationships while the weather is still warm enough to close your computer early and head to the pool.
4. Venture into the deep end
It is all too easy to spend most of the summer – and a great number of years in business – sticking stubbornly to the shallow end. There are a number of things that keep small business owners from venturing into the deep: fear, procrastination and overwhelm can be powerful motivators for staying right where you are, just dipping your toes in the water. But the big growth, for yourself and for your small business, happens in the deep end. As this summer comes to a close, vow to do things differently. Sit down and take stock of the areas you have been holding back and brainstorm a list of ways that you can leave the shallow end behind for good. For instance, if you’ve put off activities or investments that you know your business needs because you lack the time, organization or energy, it may be time to consider outsourcing. Just because you can do it all does not mean you should. Hiring an expert to help you with graphic design, copywriting or email marketing can make the difference between staying where you are, and ending your summer swimming with the big kids in the deep end.
5. Go for the belly flop
There is no doubt, belly flops hurt. So does failure. It can be so hard, especially for a passionate small business owner. You put your heart and soul (and considerable time and money) into an idea that seems destined for success – except that in reality it does not succeed.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. -Thomas Edison
But failure is also an essential part of success. A willingness to fail is also a willingness to take risks and taking risks -- educated and informed risks -- is an important tactic for small business owners to embrace. If you’re ready to end your summer in a big way, why not try that one thing that you’ve been carefully considering for so long? The big, bold move that you think just might work. And yes, you might fail. You may end up in the most epic belly flop of your life, or you may end up completing the most successful (and graceful) dive of your life. For more ideas on how to end your summer with a splash, download our Content Marketing e-book and exclusive content strategy worksheet to learn how 3 entrepreneurs found success with content marketing.