The holidays have passed. Spring is on the horizon, and then summer. With back-to-back busy seasons on the way, now is the time to prep, plan and land more business.
We surveyed Top Pros who run popular spring businesses (from home remodeling and hair and makeup styling to personal training, accounting and more) on what’s behind their springtime business success.
Before the Rush: Prep
By February the New Year’s rush is just about over and in certain parts of the country, winter is in full swing. If business feels sluggish, rest assured it’s a good thing. As resolutions fade and projects taper off, you get a few weeks to catch your breath — and if you’re smart, get ahead.
? Ready your team: Get ready for the rush by hiring and training up your staff. This is especially true for event pros and stylists, who see a huge bump in the spring. “I spend any extra time making sure that everyone on my staff is up to par. I generally hire around ten employees for the spring, and they all have to go through my training,” explains Top Pro stylist Winstead Barnes.
? Update your marketing plan: According to general contractor RJ Nassar, keeping customers is all about knowing what they want before they want it. “I send an email in February, listing some of the most popular springtime projects that customers tend to overlook,” says the Top Pro. A few other ways to prep: refresh your social media, website and Thumbtack profile with examples of your best springtime projects and looks.
? Check your inventory: If you’re in a business that requires keeping inventory, consider stocking up now. Once spring comes, competition for materials gets fierce — side step the headache by ordering ahead. “I need to know what’s in my inventory and supply at least a season ahead so we don’t take on orders that we can’t supply. Spring is graduation season and business tends to pick up by at least 20 percent,” says Francis Regala, who runs a Top Pro party rental business on Thumbtack.
? Up your business game: Winter is a good time for some learning and career development. Whether that’s learning seasonal trends or connecting with other professionals in your industry, the effort you put in during the off-season can make a huge difference when spring rolls around. Top Pro Wedding planner Brittney Bartling says, “I spend that time going to wedding shows and working on my overall business needs. I get organized for the months ahead.”
During the Rush: Stay Organized
You’re busy. Your staff is busy. Even your to-do list is out of room. Two things that will help you stay on track: an updated calendar and a spotless inbox.
? Optimize your schedule(s): “I don’t want to get to a point where I have to reject new business because of booking issues. I try to optimize and fill in everyone’s schedules as far ahead as I can,” says Top Pro personal trainer Evan Mather. And be prepared for change — make sure to update your schedule when appointments move or fall through, especially if you have employees.
? Organize your email: It’s easy to get lost in a sea of junk mail and promotions. Keep your inbox in order by flagging messages for follow-up and archiving emails that you want to keep hold of (but don’t want to see in your inbox any more). It’s easy to keep your messages tidy using your Thumbtack inbox — categorize customer messages by where you are in the job process.
? Follow up ASAP: Remember to follow-up when a customer reaches out. If you wait a day, you might miss them. “Spring is a busy time and it’s easy to get wrapped up in other things. Customers appreciate you helping out by reaching out—it’s one less box they have to check,” says Top Pro makeup artist Cynthia Mitchell.
After the Rush: Get Ready for Summer
No slowing down from here — the weather’s not the only thing that heats up in the summer. Get ready for customers, and a lot of them. Here are few things you can do to get your Thumbtack account in fighting shape.
? Perfect your Thumbtack profile: Win customers over with a profile that’s complete, professional and authentically you. (Here’s how.)
? Turn on Instant Match: Don’t waste time glued to your phone when there are weddings to plan, trees to cut and cocktails to make. Turn on Instant Match and let Thumbtack do the work for you. (Here’s why.)
? Update your Thumbtack settings: Play around with your prices, travel preferences and service areas until you find your summertime sweet spot. Update your service preferences now. (Here’s where.)
? Get a background check: Pros with a background check badge on their profile are more likely to win jobs than pros without one. Why not give your customers one less thing to sweat about? Get a free background check. (Here’s how.)
? Check your pro Insights: Learn about your business so you can make smart changes as you go. “We use the report to help tweak our approach on Thumbtack. It gives you the data and tools to help to see what works and how to be successful,” says accountant JR Gramstad. Check your Insights. (Here’s where.)
Check out these tips for succeeding on the new Thumbtack, no matter the season.