The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Timeline as a schedules of events and procedures. In all things, there is a beginning and an end. In business, it’s the fiscal year in which financials are closed out so that a system of measurement can be established and monitored. The general convention of timelines surround the calendar year, but not exclusively. For instance schools start at the end of the 3rd quarter of the year (August/September). As a business owner, it is actually beneficial not to have your fiscal year line up with traditional or popular timelines, so as that you can take advantage of these instead of work around them.
When it comes to the school timeline, none is more polarizing and notable as back to school time. As a parent, do you view it as a time where family vacations start to wind down and busy hectic schedules start back up? Are do you view it time to move forward and enjoy the focused learning that will take place, not only in your child’s life, but yours as well for the next 9 – 10 months. As a company, you have to ask yourself, what does “back to school” mean to you and your business. Can you take advantage of the increased population growth, if you live in or near a college town? What about the season of back to school. If you don’t live near a college dominated area, what adjustments will you make with the population change? Will you even have to make any adjustments? These are some questions that you will need to ask yourself as you prepare for the upcoming months.
Seasonal considerations are another item to remember as we prepare to enter into the month of September in just a few short weeks. I’m a big sports fan, and fall hosts my most favorite seasonal events: Football, basketball, and Hockey. You also have the playoffs starting for Major League Baseball, where you will see some of the best baseball of the year played. Sport talk shows become interesting again. In addition to sporting events, you have holidays to take into mind for the next few months. There are 4 federally recognized holidays and a bunch of other smaller, less celebrated holidays. As a marketer, there are plenty of opportunities for you to have your message fit within any of these topics. It helps also to plan for these events and get your timing set so that you aren’t left scrambling or working up something last-minute.
Overall, as you prepare for your next few months of work, regardless of what industry you belong to, you should make sure that you have a plan of attack and that you cover the basics necessities when planning out the best approach for your business.
- Proper Inventory levels: Whatever your field is, whether you are a mom n pop store or a landscaping professional, you need to make sure that your inventory is always up to par. Even more so now, because this is a time where the majority of businesses will see an upswing of activity over the next few months. This includes time. If you are a service oriented business; marketing, project management, accounting, etc, you want to make sure that you don’t take on more than you can handle at any time. In order to make sure you are offering the best service possible.
- Proper Materials: Being prepared is essential to survival of any business. In order to service anyone, you need to make sure that you have the tools needed in order to conduct business. Otherwise, you find yourself making excuses and losing business to competitors. Trust me, there is nothing worse than going to a store, only to find out that they are out of stock for something that you need. Proper maintenance of items, especially speciality items, is key.
- Proper Planning: As mentioned before, you will always have an opportunity to capitalize on the season and moment in time. This is another reminder that it’s always best to pre-plan and forecast your course before time and not wait until last-minute to set up your course of action. I went into Target stores a few days ago and they had Halloween displays up already. My wife mentioned how crazy that was because it’s not even Labor Day yet, but I thought of how great of an example they are for planting the seed early. Target will be the store that comes to mind when I think of where to get Halloween candy from now (even though I probably still won’t get it until October 31st, but I digress).
Overall, I believe that this season is more than just a preparation time for school children/adults. This is a time where companies can began to establish their plan for finishing out the calendar year strong. Companies that use this time to put a strategy together and plot their course for the final quarter of the year have a better opportunity to take advantage of all aspects of the fall season and not just one or two events that will happen before January rolls around. Trust me, this is a golden chance to emerge as a leader in your particular industry, if you make a plan and then prepare yourself, like you’re going back to school.