Tue Jul 11 2017
Is your business suffering a seasonal slump? Don’t worry – now’s the perfect time to make sure you’re in shape for the rest of the year.
Some businesses spring to life in the summer, while others take a dip as their customers head for the beach.
If you’re feeling the heat, stay cool. A summer slowdown is the perfect time to refocus your attention on the busy months ahead.
So, swap the beach for the boardroom and top up your tan in these four important areas.
Who thinks of Black Friday when they’ve got blue skies and sunshine on the mind? You should. Because with that and Christmas looming, not to mention other calendar events such as Cyber Monday, there’s a lot to do.
One of the most important is to make sure you can cope when the tide comes in.
Stress test your infrastructure. Does your website hold up to traffic spikes? Can your packing and logistics handle a surge? Do you have the staff you’ll need?
It’s important to think about where you might need to invest, before it’s too late.
The way you craft business relationships can make the world of difference to your performance, so it’s worth seeing if yours could do with some fine-tuning.
Start with your suppliers. Is there anything more you could do to further your rapport?
There are ways in which your Barclaycard can help – allowing you to commit to larger orders, for example, or to pay immediately rather than at the end of the agreed payment terms1.
Cast a glance towards future financial relationships too. Banks consider many factors when making decisions on loans2, but if your business shows it can manage credit relationships effectively (such as making minimum monthly repayments), it could help to improve your eligibility.
A quiet time for business can be a great opportunity for you to make a noise that rings loud and clear into the future.
So, network like a demon. Making and maintaining good contacts can help unveil hidden opportunities and create positive word-of-mouth.
Work on your social media strategy too, checking out what your competitors are doing while you’re at it. Things move really fast here and you don’t want to get left behind. Taking a look at the social media modules that are available from Barclays Digital Wings could be a great place to start – especially as Barclaycard Business customers have free access to the service.
You shouldn’t neglect traditional marketing though, and now may be a good time to take advantage of the discounts that Barclaycard’s Business Rewards offer to ramp up your advertising3. It’ll help make sure you’re in people’s minds when the heavy spending season rolls around.
After all, many major brands and retailers hold PR events in July to secure Christmas press coverage. If they’re thinking about it now, shouldn’t you be too?
If your business experiences a summer dip, it may give you some additional flexibility to boost skill levels among your staff.
A key area to think about is whether your digital abilities are up to scratch.
In a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce, three-quarters of UK businesses said they are facing a shortage of digital skills in their workforce, with a quarter saying it is leading to higher operating costs4.
So investment here could help keep you competitive, and if you’re worried about any initial expense your Barclaycard can help by allowing you to spread the cost. Credit card customers benefit from up to 56 days interest free when paid in full and on time each month, while charge card customers have up to 38 days to pay.
It’s also another good reason to make the most of the free access to Barclays Digital Wings that Barclaycard Business customers can benefit from. It’s packed with tools and tutorials that could help develop your employees’ digital knowledge.
But it’s not actually money that’s the biggest blocker to investment in digital skills. It’s a lack of time for staff training4.
If you’ve got some on your hands, why not make the most of it?
1 Cardholders should pay on time and in full each month in line with their T&Cs
2 Loans will be subject to application and status
3 T&Cs apply. For full details visit https://www.barclaycard.co.uk/business/rewards