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Bizee Summer Survey: Small Business Insights for Entrepreneurs

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    For most entrepreneurs, summer means business as usual, and the ones who experience peak sales season during the summer are really feeling the heat. Luckily, the summer season offers unique opportunities for entrepreneurs ready to seize them. 

    Bizee surveyed businesses that seriously ramp up during the summer months, and their insights left us feeling inspired. Here’s what we learned.

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    Summer Isn’t All Easy Breezy for Business Owners

    School’s out, vacations are on, and relaxation is the name of the game — unless you’re a business owner, of course. Many entrepreneurs operate businesses that are at the peak during the summer, and that means several months of high stress and major challenges. 

    When asked about their biggest obstacle this summer, 36% of respondents said it was trying to stand out in a crowded market. Hiring talent and budgeting for marketing were tied for the second and third spots, at 24% each. Another 15% said increasing operating hours in the summer was a major hurdle.

    58% of Small Business Owners Say Supply Chain Issues Have Improved Since Last Summer

    Previous small business surveys conducted by Bizee found that supply chain issues were a major roadblock for business owners, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Luckily, those tides appear to have turned in the last year, as close to 60% now say the supply chain issues are beginning to resolve. Just 15% say they’ve seen no change in supply chain delays, while 27% report seeing more delays.

    85% of Business Owners Feel Pressure to be More Sustainable

    Summer is when awareness turns to nature, earth, and oceans, bringing sustainability and ecological responsibility to the forefront of people’s minds.

    In our survey, 85% of respondents said they felt greater pressure to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly as a summer business, while just 15% said they didn’t feel that pressure. 

    Many business owners say they want to be more sustainable, but there are barriers standing in their way. In fact, 42% said it’s simply too costly, while another 22% said they aren’t sure how to reduce business costs to make up for it.

    Beyond that, 24% reported that it’s difficult to find eco-conscious suppliers, and 12% said the impact of sustainability efforts is just too difficult to prove.

    Fortunately, we know that business owners are used to dodging and leaping obstacles in their path, and these challenges won’t keep them down for long.

    Bright Spot: Over Half of Entrepreneurs Anticipate a 30%-50% Increase in Revenue

    Pop those sunglasses on because the summer outlook is pretty bright for most entrepreneurs. In fact, only 14% of respondents said they weren’t sure if they’d see any revenue growth this summer, while 30% said they expected to see up to 30% more revenue during the season, and a remarkable 57% said they’re predicting revenue growth of 30%-50%. 

    Of course, that means they’ve got a busy summer ahead, but they’re prepared. So how do they ramp up and get ready for a blazing sales season?

    In our survey, 41% reported they’re planning to add new products or services to their lineup. Another 29% are tackling the busy months by hiring more staff, and 22% are putting their money where their mouths are and increasing their marketing budget to expand their reach and be heard. Just 8% said they aren’t planning anything in particular. 

    “Summer is a competitive season that requires attention to marketing strategies. Attract customers through network marketing, promotional activities, and other ways to improve the visibility of the enterprise and sales.” — Bizee Survey Respondent

    Nearly 40% of Business Owners Say They’ve Raised Prices to Combat Inflation

    Another challenge uncovered in previous surveys is the looming and lingering threat of inflation. As the economy continues to fluctuate, entrepreneurs are faced with the very real dilemma of how to balance rising costs with their often tight budgets. Perhaps not surprisingly, a majority of small business owners said they are left with little choice but to increase their prices to offset the negative effects of inflation. 

    However, bright and resourceful business owners have found several ways to combat this, such as negotiating better domestic and foreign supplier deals and cutting low-margin products and services altogether.

    Over 30% of Businesses Are Focusing on Negotiating Better Deals With Suppliers

    Another significant segment of respondents said that instead of simply raising prices, they’re working diligently to negotiate more favorable terms in their contracts with suppliers and vendors. 

    A quarter of respondents took yet another approach, studying the books to identify products or services with low profit margins and eliminating them as needed. 

    Finally, 8% have bigger fish to fry and responded that they aren’t prepared to tackle the issue of inflation just yet.

    “Never give up. It is a roller coaster journey, and you may mess up. But in the process, you will learn from it.” — Bizee Survey Respondent

    Quick Tips for Entrepreneurs From Entrepreneurs 

    As part of our survey, we asked business owners to give their best sizzling summer advice in their own words. Here are their top tips, straight from the entrepreneur’s mouth:

    Invest Time and Energy in Hiring Right

    Instead of focusing on hiring the most staff possible, focus your energy on hiring the right people and building a team with a strong foundation. According to one respondent, that all starts with you. “Be the best manager/boss in order to retain employees. Hold staff meetings to ensure you get feedback from employees on how you can make the workplace thrive better as a whole.”

    But it takes planning, says another respondent. “Have the proper staff trained and ready. Start training before the summer months.”

    How? First, says one respondent, mix up your staff. “Recruit excellent employees, including experienced professionals and passionate young people, in order to better manage the business and improve productivity.” 

    Build Relationships With Other Small Business Owners

    Collaborate with other small business owners as you plan and prep for the summer season and share insights on tools, marketing strategies, and operations. As one respondent says, “Work with professionals and successful entrepreneurs to seek their advice and guidance to help you achieve your goals.”

    Don’t forget to build a support system that includes non-business owners, too. This can be your loved ones, colleagues, or your extended network. In fact, according to our survey, 32% of respondents said they rely on family and friends to help them avoid burnout — a very real concern among small business owners.

    Manage PTO Effectively

    One way to staff your business adequately during the height of vacation and travel season, according to one respondent, is to streamline your internal operations. “Automate what you can, and encourage time to be taken off throughout the year.” By urging employees to schedule PTO during off-peak seasons and then automating some processes through the summer, you won’t have as many gaps to fill.

    There’s another strategy that many businesses take, according to another respondent. “Hire part-time or seasonal employees because a lot of employees will want time off, and you’ll still want to be able to operate with a full staff to meet consumer needs.”

    Protect Your Own Time

    If it’s not possible to take time off during the busy months, plan to set some time aside once the season is over to recover and recharge. It’s a common practice — in fact, 52% of respondents said they plan to take some time off starting in the fall.

    Most importantly, according to one respondent, remember why you do what you do. “Keep true to what you started out to do. Don’t try to change your ways too much, or else you may no longer enjoy what you do.”

    Plan Ahead, Rinse, and Repeat

    How do you prepare for the busy season? Take it from this respondent: “My number one advice to newer businesses wanting to thrive in the summer is to prepare. Prepare to find talent. Prepare to sustain sometimes higher operating costs. Prepare to balance time off and scheduling. Prepare for a rainy day fund. Prepare, prepare, prepare.”

    Your planning can include any number of critical business operations, like reviewing your target markets, setting budgets, looking for funding, or revamping your marketing/advertising strategies.

    Fill Your Toolbox

    Look at email automation tools, social media management, chatbots, or marketing automation like HubSpot to save you time and maximize your summer campaigns. 

    Automation is the way of the future. Want proof? In our survey, 29% say they’re currently automating business processes as much as possible because it helps them avoid burnout. Another 28% say this is the one thing they’d do if it would make their business grow faster.

    Consider a Tale as Old as Time

    When we asked survey respondents about their primary marketing tactic to beat the competition this summer, “word-of-mouth” was the most popular write-in response by far.

    What else sets a summer business apart from the crowd? A significant 62% said it’s social media. Fortunately, social media is one of the absolute best ways to leverage word-of-mouth advertising

    Many respondents also advised that it’s smart to revisit your marketing strategy before the busy summer months, with 40% saying that an update would likely help their business grow. 

    Bottom Line? Summer Is Looking Bright for Business Owners

    Entrepreneurs are an optimistic crew, and they know that summertime sales will send them bursting into Q4 and holiday shopping season with a bang. If you’re a business owner with a busy summer biz, take the advice of the entrepreneurs above, and remember this very summer-appropriate tip from a survey respondent: “Stay hydrated and hustle.” 


    Survey Methodology 

    Bizee surveyed 2,000 small business owners from across the country. All respondents said they own a business that sees its peak season during the summer. Respondents were evenly split between those who have an established business (in operation 2+ years) and those who have a relatively new business (in operation 1-2 years). 

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    Wendi WIlliams

    Wendi Williams

    Wendi is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, IN, with over a decade of experience writing for a variety of industries from healthcare to manufacturing to nonprofit. When she isn't working on solutions for her clients, she can be found spending time with her kids and husband, working in the garden or doing more writing (of the fiction variety).


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