Strategy Plan One
June 20, 2012
As summer months on now upon us, it is important as leaders to plan in advance for the differing business dynamic summer months bring. Your business needs to be prepared in order to meet customer needs, continue business as usual and continue to grow. Whether it’s staffing levels, supplier issues, demand issues or opportunities, it is best to plan contingencies around the challenges you may face in the summer.
The three key business issues faced in the summer discussed here include:
- Staffing and human resources issues
- Supply and demand issues
- Business development and opportunities
Of course the summer season is notorious for the majority of staff wanting a bit of a break during the summer months. Some of it is centered on family concerns with children off school, while others find it advantageous to take off the months during the best weather and tourism offerings. Certain human resource strategies can alleviate these pressures.
Ensure you have policies and procedures in place for staffing when there are leaves from work. The policies will differ and be stronger if you are in a business of essential services, like medical practices. For the most part, policies and procedures can be flexible and fair to all staff to ensure everyone has the ability to take much needed breaks. Policies and procedures will provide standardization to the organizations and will bring clarity to staff when all are seeking leaves.
To alleviate pressures of staffing levels, you as a leader can plan to fill the gaps in the summer in creative ways. Students are always looking for work in the summer and would be an appropriate human resource pool to pull from. Contracting out is another option if you need professional services to carry on complicated, complex projects in your business. Offering opportunities to staff for assignments or acting positions may fill the void temporarily and would go a long way to building up capacity in your organization. Lastly, encouraging and implementing work-life balance with flexible scheduling in the business may give the flexibility across all employees to manage the staffing levels.
Supply and Demand Challenges
Depending on what business you are in, summer months can bring a higher demand on some products or services, and likewise, supplies can fluctuate during this period. Supply and demand issues should be adequately identified in you business plan.
A simple example of supply and demand is the local ice suppliers as ice demand would be in high demand by all sectors in the summer. On the services front, certain services would be in high demand and potentially hard to obtain such as HVAC specialists around cooling system maintenance, or in the case of trying to acquire service from pool maintenance companies. Building contractors and the construction industry are in higher demand during the summer months. These businesses face the same human resource issues during the summer months to complicate their own operational demand issues.
If you are business that relies on specific supplies and through your research you know supplies fluctuate during the summer period, ensure you have planned out your contingencies to keep the supply level consistent. This may require you to secure commitments from a number of suppliers in the chain. You may also develop RFP processes in advance to ensure you have suitable suppliers ready to go.
If you are in a business where the demand for your products or services increases in the summer, once again your business planning process should identify your operational plan to cope and accommodate increased operational demand. Through a pattern of previous annual experiences, you may plan to ramp up staffing to accommodate increased service demand. In terms of a supplier type business, retail or food services, you may increase inventory levels in advance of the summer months to ensure you can entertain increased commerce levels. This piece should be carefully researched, analyzed and planned well within your business planning process. Over estimates can be costly, but so can missed business and revenue with not being prepared and having to hang the dreaded “out of stock” sign.
Business Development and Opportunities
Summer months can be challenging to try and grow your business. As your business has challenges regarding staffing levels and the need for everyone to take time off, so do your partners, investors and other entrepreneurs that could help you in business development and partnership building.
Although people can be away for periods during the summer months, most know that entrepreneurs stay connected, no matter where they go or what they are doing. In the interests of their own business goals and growth, entrepreneurs and business leaders are highly motivated and dedicated to their own businesses. It may be easy to connect with those partners and synergistic businesses out there during the summer months for further business development.
In the case where you or other business leaders cannot be connected during the summer months, it is appropriate as a good leader to delegate tasks to those who do remain in the office. Delegating to staff members and encouraging responsibility, accountability and decision-making are ways to build excellent capacity building in your organization and build business at the same time.
Know well in advance of what challenges summer may bring your business. Through adequate planning and establishing your plan of contingencies, your business will be ready to more than satisfy the markets, and your business will be well positioned to grow.
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