School SuppliesAs a parent who runs a small business, one of my favorite times of year is the 1st day of back to school season! For us, it was today: 9/06/2012!  It’s exciting for me to see my kids gearing up for another year in the classroom, getting ready to make new friends and have fun new learning experiences. Just as back-to-school time is an occasion for kids to leave behind the relaxing summer months and focus again on learning, activities and growth, I try to use the back to school season as a way to refocus and re-energize myself and my business as well.

Once the kids go back to school, that’s a sign that the year is in the home stretch. Many businesses start to get busier after the slow summer months. Many seasonal businesses and retailers are starting to get ready for the busy holiday shopping season. Small business owners all over America are looking ahead to the last four months of the year hoping to meet or exceed their profit goals.

Back to school season is a special time of year and whether or not you have kids in school, we can all use this occasion to reflect on how we’d like to re-energize and reinvent our businesses as we prepare for the last few months of the year. Here are a few ideas to help you ignite a new spark of creativity in your business, inspired by “back to school” season:

  • Invest in new “school supplies” for your business. Going back to school is always a time for shopping for your kids, getting them new backpacks, clothes, pencils, notebooks, and supplies. Just as you wouldn’t want to send your kids off to school without the right supplies, maybe this is a time of year when you should take a fresh look at how well you’re supplying your business. Do you need to invest in new supplies or tools for your business? What about a new laptop, iPad, office furniture or other office equipment? Doing some “back to school shopping” for your business will help you get a head start on racking up some year-end business expenses that can be deducted from your tax bill. There are probably some great back-to-school shopping deals that can help you save money on office supplies and equipment as well.
  • Make new friends! Back to school is a great time for kids to reconnect with old classmates and make new friends as well. Maybe your business needs some “new friends” in the form of new customers, new suppliers, new business partners or affiliates. This back-to-school season, dedicate some additional time for networking. Now that summer is over, people are less likely to be on vacation and more likely to be attending the next industry conference or after-work networking event. Even though you’re not a new kid at school, you can use this time of year to motivate yourself to get out and meet new people that can help your business grow.
  • Keep learning. Even though you’re a busy entrepreneur and you’re not in a classroom anymore, that doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Invest in professional development for yourself and your staff. Read about the latest trends shaping your industry. Go to a seminar or conference for your industry. Learning outside of the classroom is one of the best ways for entrepreneurs to keep their skills sharp and keep innovating ahead of the competition.

I hope you can realize the potential of this back to school season, and use this time of year as an occasion for discovery, growth, and learning! Here’s to a great 2012-2013 school year!