Pencils are being sharpened, rucksack straps tightened and shoes are being squished at the toe – all ready for the imminent start of the school year.

But it’s not just children and teachers who need to get ready for a fresh start in September…

Back-to-school time also signals a significant point in the small business calendar, as many organisations will be returning to their normal operations after the inevitable peak in holidaying employees over the summer months.

It’s also the point when – and we’re really sorry to bring this up so early – businesses start to think about Christmas and other seasonal events and celebrations coming up towards the end of the year. It’s a key time for scheduling marketing activity and getting your business ready ahead of what is often a very busy period for most.

This return to a more ‘normal’ working routine along with the opportunities that the coming weeks have in store, makes September a month that’s brimming with potential for freelancers and small businesses.

So without further ado, here are a few things you can do as a small business in back-to-school time to help put you top of the class!

Join a Networking Group

There are hundreds and thousands of business networking groups across the country. By joining one that’s local to you, you’ll find yourself becoming more acquainted with the people and businesses in your area. This can really help those who work from home and feel isolated. If you’re running a business on your own, it can also feel a little overwhelming at times; networking groups usually offer tons of support and guidance for and from businesses similar to yours. And who knows, you might even make some new and valuable business connections while you mingle.

Work Somewhere Different

What’s that old saying,  “A change is a good as a rest”? If you’re a parent who also works from home, there’s probably a good chance that you’re just dying for a change of scenery after six weeks stuck indoors – thanks to the predictably gloomy July and August we’ve had. So perhaps this September, try stepping out of your comfort zone and doing a bit of work in a different environment. Many people find that working in a new setting does wonders for their productivity. Business centres with coworking areas not only offer desk space and free WiFi – as well as tea and coffee – but they also offer company in the form of the other freelancers and businesses using the space. This means it’s also another potentially good place for making new contacts.

Get into Better Working Habits

You don’t need to wait for New Year to roll around to make your business resolutions. Instead, use the start of the new school year to get yourself into some good work habits. For example: Been abysmal at regular blog writing? Schedule a couple of hours one day a week to do better – and stick to it. Need to get better at gaining new business? Make yourself get in touch with at least one prospective new client per week. Terrible at time management? There are loads of time-management apps out there that can help you organise your working day better.

Ask for Referrals & Recommendations

There’s no greater form of marketing than referrals and recommendations. So with this in mind, don’t be afraid to ask your previous clients to put in a good word for you to help you gain new business. One of the best ways you can do this is to write a personal email politely asking if they’d be willing to leave your company a review on your chosen platform. The more positive reviews you have, the more confidence prospective customers and potential business partners will have in choosing you for their next project. It’s also a great excuse to reconnect with past clients and remind them that you’re still available for any future work.

For more articles offering advice to small businesses and freelancers across Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire, take a look at some of the related posts from our blog below.