Like so many industries, the serviced office industry as a whole is transient, with short term licences and flexibility people come and people go at different times throughout the year.
When you have worked in the same industry for over a decade as I have in the serviced office sector, you know when to expect the high and low periods.
A lovely, warm Summer is fast approaching (forever hopeful) and for serviced offices this is often when we experience a drop in enquiries.
From the end of July through to the end of August business owners and professionals are quite rightly heading off to enjoy some quality time in the sunshine with their families, they’re generally not planning to move their entire business to a brand new office space.
There’s so much advice online telling us what to do when business starts to slow down during the holiday periods, here’s some of it:
- Develop new services
- Do competitive research
- Catch up on your accounts
- Start another business – explore other ideas
Here’s what I do:
- Have a look at my goals and set new ones
- Increase customer engagement – spend more time talking to my customers. I frequently pop into their offices just to say hello and have a chat, which usually results in a lot of laughter
- Say a sincere thank you to all of my customers – take them for lunch, last week I sat in the chip shop in Altrincham Town Centre with one of my customers as we unanimously decided that we should take a break from all the wonderful artisan offerings that our alfresco dining scene has to offer and opt for good old fashioned chips and fish (fish and chips to normal people). Alongside this, I take them for wine at Altrincham Market House.
- Give the office a good de-clutter or a deep clean – I really don’t mind getting the henry hoover out, it’s all for a good cause and keeps you grounded
- Do more exercise, there’s no excuse when you’re quiet and have a local gym membership
- Work on WorkSmart’s blog and social media content
- Take a holiday – ah yes please
It really is a mixed bag of advice, you can get your head down, get focused and take to the admin during your quiet times or you can increase your opportunities by getting out and about. Some may suggest that this is the time to invest in marketing, but I’d always advise on making any investment when business is booming, not when it’s slow.
Make like the Italians and take the whole of August off?
As a small business owner with a brilliant, but small team, the trickiest hurdle is splitting tasks when one integral person is taking a break from the business, especially when that person is it’s ‘selling face’ as I am at WorkSmart Hub.
Here’s what I struggle with; nobody is me, and in many ways clients buy into me, the face of the business, the selling face of my business. As a small business owner I make it my job to invest in each client, I show how curious I am about them, I make them feel at ease, I always show a real interest in finding out what they do, why they’re looking for space, and how I can help them find the best solution at WorkSmart Hub. In these situations authenticity wins every time – I always try to be myself. Ultimately, people don’t buy from people they don’t trust, so if you’re good with people and you’ve created something that people want, you’re onto a winner. When you’re away from the business you have no choice but to hand that baton over to somebody else. Hopefully you’re working with people who are the right fit for your business, understand it’s culture, positioning and language.
This Summer I’ve planned trips to Cornwall (there is something timeless about a British beach during Summer) and Mallorca with my family which I’m really looking forward to, but like so many business owners I am going to have to be contactable, however, I will be leaving the laptop at home.
However you’re planning to spend your Summer, I hope that you do manage to take some time off and recharge . To quote R Branson “I don’t think of work as work and play as play, it’s all just living”. When you enjoy what you do this is true, but a physical break from the office is ALWAYS good for the soul.
Carla Wells – WorkSmart Hub Ltd.