Now that it’s warming up, business starts slowing down. The summer is a time when the U.S. government takes a break, everyone takes vacations, and people really do leave work at 5:30pm.
In the startup world, Demo Days have pretty much passed, VCs aren’t taking as many pitch meetings, and event and accelerator applications are either done or too far in the future, so we all have a little time.
Sure you might go to the beach for a few days, attend a conference, and you probably have a few weddings to attend, but other than that, the summer lull is upon us — how are you going to take advantage?
Since you’re likely not pitching or presenting, there are some things every startup can do to get ahead of the coming months. By taking a step back, startups can start September with an even stronger team ready to tackle anything.
Here’s what I recommend doing this summer:
Conduct Employee Evaluations
Is everyone where they should be? On a team of 2-3 probably, but on a team any bigger, it’s important to take a step back and think if you are really utilizing the strengths of each person and understanding and dealing with the weaknesses as well. Conduct anonymous (or open) evaluations for each staff member and set goals for the next six months.
Make a Homepage Video
Videos do take time and effort, but now you might have an extra hour each day. Spend it crafting an explainer video that can be used on your homepage, in presentations, and at events. If you have a budget, there is a great list on Quora of the top video production companies. But most likely you’ll want to take the time to make a video yourself. There are many tools out there that are free (like my company’s online video creation platform, Wideo) or based on a premium model with low fees.
Read Business Books
These are probably stacked up by your bedside or on your Kindle, but now is the time to actually read books that can help your grow your company. I recommend The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, and The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup by Noam Wasserman. Take what you learn and improve your business.
Take an Online Course
Skillshare has incredible courses where you can learn a new skill or brush up on old ones. Everyone on your team should learn some basic coding, and there are many free courses like Codecademy so the developer doesn’t have to fix every little problem. Take this time to invest in your skills.
Clean Up and Backup
We all hate doing this, but use the downtime to backup your files — you’ll be happy you did it later. Also clean up; literally and figuratively. First, clean your office and recycle old posters, get rid of things you’re storing, and make some space. Second, clean up your social media presence. Is your Facebook description out of date? Update your address, use new hashtags, and make your online presence fresh and tidy.
Now is the time to invest in yourselves and company, so while there is a summer lull, get your company on track to hit it hard come the Fall.
Agu De Marco is a serial entrepreneur with a background in engineering and innovation. He is the co-founder and CEO of Wideo, a DIY animated video production platform. Connect with @mrwideo on Twitter.
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