Back to school means back to work for many entrepreneurs - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Back to school means back to work for many entrepreneurs

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While most business owners don't have the luxury of a summer vacation, back-to-school time often coincides with the beginning of their busiest season. While students get back to the homework and books, business owners are getting ready what often proves to be a hectic fourth quarter.

By the time kids head into class, businesses are already thinking about the holiday season, which proves to be the busiest for many retail operations. Then there are the year-end reports and financial decisions that come along with starting a new year.

So if you find yourself with a little downtime before a typically fast-paced end of the year, here are a few things to consider before things start to pick up again:

* When was the last time you updated your website? If it's been a while and things are starting to look a little dated, it may be time to hire a Web design company to give your site a facelift. By taking care of this now, you can also add features just in time for the holiday season.

* Are you taking full advantage of pay per click services? If not, now would be a good time to give it a try, especially if your site's busiest season is during the holidays. If an advanced search marketing program is something you think would give you an edge, factor it into next year's budget.

* Brainstorm. Just before the busy holiday season is a great time to kick around some new marketing ideas with your other employees. If you come out with some winners, you can test them out before the end of the year so you have more information to use when you set next year's marketing budget.

* Plan end-of-year events. Fall is a great time to start planning your company holiday party, or end-of-year gathering. Planning your event early may also offer you the best chance at booking the venue of your choice.

* Send your employees back to school. If you have a big training exercise that you've been thinking about, now may be a good time to get it out of the way before the rush hits.