How to navigate the school summer holidays if you run a small business

Wondering how you’ll juggle your work and family during the school summer holidays? One small business owner shares her advice.

As the co-founder of a small business, Toothbuckle, and a mother of a five-year-old, I understand that the school summer break can impact sales and revenue. Families often go on vacation during this time, which can lead to a decline in sales. However, they also tend to spend more time at home, presenting an opportunity for increased online shopping.

To make the most of this situation, we launched a successful kids’ oral care range and improved its social media presence with engaging content. Consequently, we are experiencing a significant boost in sales and revenue leading up to the summer holidays.

To effectively market your business, it’s crucial to be creative and adaptable, as well as target your audience where they spend their time.

In the case of Toothbuckle, this means focusing on social media and using third parties like Amazon to streamline our operations. Ultimately, I’ve learned that the school summer holidays can provide excellent opportunities for online businesses to capitalise on and achieve substantial growth in sales and revenue.

Five ways I juggle my business and parenthood in the summer holidays

It’s not always easy to juggle being a parent and running a business, but it’s definitely possible. These five have helped me find a balance that works for me and the family which is the most important thing:

  1. Plan ahead. Before the summer holidays start, I make a plan for how I will divide my time between work and family. I also make sure to schedule in some time for myself to relax and recharge.
  2. Set boundaries. It’s important to set boundaries between work and family time. This means not checking work emails or taking work calls when I’m supposed to be spending time with my family.
  3. Delegate. If possible, I delegate some of my work to others so that I can have more time for my family.
  4. Be flexible. Things don’t always go according to plan, so it’s important to be flexible. If my kids have a doctor’s appointment or a playdate, I need to be able to adjust my schedule accordingly.
  5. Ask for help. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I don’t hesitate to ask for help from my family, friends, or colleagues. They are usually happy to help out, and it can make a big difference.

How to outsource fulfilment over the summer using Amazon

For us at Toothbuckle directing our customers over to Amazon is great as the outsourcing of fulfilment is one of the most helpful things that I do. This means that I don’t have to worry about packing and shipping orders myself.

I simply send my products to an Amazon fulfilment centre, and they take care of the rest. This frees up my time so that I can focus on other aspects of my business, such as marketing and customer service.

Planning for the Q3 and preparing a Christmas offering also helps to stay on track and keeps the creativity within the business. 

Finally, making goals so when key buyers are back from their holidays, you are reaching out and making those connections as they start to look for new products again in September. 

Four strategies for reaching parents during the summer holidays

I’ve found that a few specific strategies and marketing tactics have worked effectively for my business during the school summer holidays. Here are four that work best for me.

1) Social media

Social media is one of the most important channels for reaching parents during the summer holidays. I focus on creating engaging content that is relevant to parents and their children. I also use social media to run contests and giveaways, which helps to generate excitement and engagement around my brand.

Here are a couple of quick tips to help you reach more people on social media:

  • Using relevant hashtags: When posting on social media, be sure to use relevant hashtags. This will help when posting to reach a wider audience.
  • Partnering with influencers: Partnering with mum/dad/child influencers is a great way to reach a new audience.

2) User-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is another great way to reach parents during the summer holidays. I encourage parents to share photos and videos of their children using my products. This helps to build trust and credibility with potential customers, and it also helps to generate social proof.

3) Brand partnerships 

Partnerships with other businesses that appeal to families with children is another great way to reach parents during the summer holidays. I’ve partnered with other businesses to run joint promotions, which has helped to increase my brand awareness and reach.

4) Free shipping 

Free shipping is another great way to attract customers during the summer holidays. I offer free shipping on all orders over a certain amount, which helps to make my products more affordable and accessible to parents.

The ups and downs of being a small business owner during the school summer holidays

There are both pluses and minuses of being the owner of an SME in the summer holidays. Here are my positives and negatives.

The ups of being an SME during the school summer holidays

On the positive side I’ve found that the summer holidays are a great time to launch new products or services. This is because families are often looking for new things to do with their children during the summer.

I’ve also found that the summer holidays are a great time to run contests and giveaways, which can help to generate excitement and engagement around my brand.

The downs of being an SME during the school summer holidays

On the negative side, I’ve found that sales can slow down during the summer holidays. This is because many families are away on vacation and not shopping online. I’ve also found that it can be difficult to get in touch with customers during the summer holidays, as they are often busy with other activities.

Overall, I’ve found that the school summer holidays can be a challenging time for SMEs, but there are also some opportunities. By being prepared and taking advantage of the right strategies, you can still be successful during this time.

Photo by Liana Mikah