It wasn’t that many years ago when the summer months in Tucson were perceived to be a time when business slowed to a snail’s pace.
The snowbirds were gone, kids were out of school and many businesses would shut down for a month, while everyone took off to San Diego or Rocky Point to escape the heat. I personally feel cheated because I never had the luxury of taking a month off, nor did I ever work for a business that did.
I’m beginning to question if that ever really happened or is it just an old fairytale.
With the exception of a few well-established professional offices that do take a few weeks off, Tucson businesses are grinding it out during the summer months. It doesn’t have to be a grind, however. You can do more than just survive — you can thrive during the summer months.
When I ran the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce from 2001-2008, I enjoyed seeing my summer networking events increase in attendance each year. Not only was the chamber growing, but members were also increasing their sales over the previous summer and continuing to raise the bar.
Similar to the way a mother lathers up her son or daughter with sunblock before letting the child in the pool, savvy business owners prepare their businesses for the Tucson summer.
I reached out to a few of these people who are long time Tucsonans that know how to make it happen for their business during the summer months. Here is what they had to share.
Patrick Lopez, president of MPG Automotive Services, which has four locations in the Tucson region, said, "Being consistent with our advertising and marketing during the summer months is critical. Staying top of mind is the goal.”
Lopez spends a lot of time educating his customers on what to watch for during this time of year such as what the dry heat does to rubber products on your car, such as tires and hoses, and your car battery.
"My industry is still very coupon-driven, so knowing what to offer at what price point is a moving target that I always keep an eye on,” Lopez told me. M.J. Jensen, chief idea officer for IdeaMagic visionary marketing, said, "My goal is always to increase activity; attend more meetings and mixers, talk to my clients and more social media activity.”
While Jensen’s competitors might slow down, she is determined to outwork them.
She also spends a lot of time in and out of her car, so packing an ice chest with fresh veggies and cold water helps her stay hydrated and keeps her energy level up.
Ron Janicki, commercial accounts manager for Northwest Exterminating, said he targets businesses that thrive in the summer months.
"A business is more likely to spend money when they are making money, so it’s important to know which of my prospects do well in the summer,” he said.
Janicki also said that being flexible with your schedule is important. Spending time out in the field during the morning hours and attending mixers in the evenings works well for him and keeps him indoors when the heat is at its peak.
Business activity in Tucson can and must thrive during the summer months; payroll still needs to be made. We need to do is reverse the mindset that business in Tucson is lousy during the summer months.
A mentor once told me that if you plan for a decrease in business, expect a decrease in business. I encourage Tucson businesses and professionals to keep their foot on the accelerator and stay on their "A” game this summer.
Let’s stick a fork in the antiquated mindset and commit to making Tucson a great place to do business year round.
Jerry Bustamante is senior vice president of public policy and oversees the Southern Arizona office of the Arizona Small Business Association, 4811 E. Grant Road, Suite 262, in Crossroads Festival, phone (520) 327-0222.
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