The dog days are here, and with it the dip in productivity many companies experience during late summer. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In fact, you can use the dog days to make Finance even more of a well-oiled machine than it already is. And we’re not talking about using the quiet time to clean up your filing cabinets (though that’s good, too). We mean real, cash-flow boosting, revenue growing results.
Here’s how you can do both.
Debunking the myths
There are plenty of misconceptions about how business gets done during summer. And you can use all of them to your advantage:
Myth No. 1: “I’ll never reach anyone.” This is a big one folks throw up right about now to stay off the phones. But more than any other time, companies know when their employees will be away on vacation – and plan for it.
That means even if one of your key contacts is out, your odds are good a designated substitute has been named. So go ahead, have staffers make those collection calls – they’ll likely be fighting fewer other suppliers for dollars if they’re buying into the idea that nobody’s reachable.
In fact, if you’ve been making no headway on a certain issue, like getting a supplier to switch to electronic payments, try making a pitch again. Appealing to the controller instead of your usual A/R contact just may finally get you the yes you’ve been after.
Myth No. 2: “No business gets done in the summer.” Try using other companies’ slumps against them. There’s a widely held belief in many companies that few deals get done in July and August.
But that just means the field is smaller for the companies who are willing to move now. Sales should be as busy as ever in the summer. They may find they’re a lot more successful.
What that means for Finance? Credit can get lend a major hand on this by pre-screening or even pre-qualifying prospective customers.
Taking advantage of summer’s upsides
It’s not just the downsides of summer that can be harnessed – by zeroing in on what people love about the season you can also make significant improvements to the tone of your entire department:
“I just want to get outside.” The warmer temps and longer days make even your most sedentary staffers longing to get some fresh air. Let them. Encourage it, even. Both you and your people stand to benefit from it.
Taking an hour break in the day will boost productivity significantly. So get folks to take a walk at lunchtime or in the middle of the afternoon.
Not only will they return refreshed, but they’ll be doing good things for their health, which can help on a whole host of fronts, from healthcare costs to workers’ comp.
“Summer isn’t nearly as fun when you’re not a kid anymore.” Play to their inner child for a morale lift. Other than the holidays, perhaps no other time conjures up more good childhood memories than summer.
Wiffle ball in the parking lot at lunch? Why not? A box of ice pops will run you less than $5. But the smiles you’ll put on staffers faces with an unexpected treat on a cool day are priceless. Better yet, see if the local ice cream truck would make a stop outside your building.
Folks will love the throwback to childhood days. And you’ll almost definitely see a boost in morale.