Fall is coming, and that means it’s time for back to school work! This autumn, it’s time to fall back into good leadership habits that we may have let slip away over the summer months. For most small business owners, sales are going to pick up this season, and it’s time to get ready to tackle them head on. Here are my top three steps to hit the ground running as summer fades away and we move into fall.

Management Overhaul

The easiest way to fall into good business habits this season is by overhauling your business plans, budget, and management style. Make the time to take a hard look at your finances, business plan, and marketing plans. Are they outdated? Have they been updated to reflect new growth, sales, accounting software, team members, or a number of other things that may have changed since you looked at them last?

When you’re ready to redo your leadership plans, visit the Small Business Administration.

This site is a great resource for small business owners. It offers free business tools, including guides for financial management, marketing, taxes, and more. Need a balance sheet or a cost benefit analysis and have no idea where to start? This is the place. Not sure how to make a marketing plan for your new product or service? Find tips and tricks here to help you succeed.

You can even sign up for a local mentor to get specific advice for your city and state! Start your fall off organized, and the rest of the year will be smooth sailing.

Online Learning

That’s right, back to school isn’t just for the kids anymore. Children are going back to school, and you should too. No, I don’t mean registering at your local college for another degree. It’s easier than that! Today, there are an abundance of online learning sources to take advantage of.

Why should you get serious about online learning? Many successful entrepreneurs (like Oprah, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet, just to name a few) implement the 5 hour rule. This rule dictates they spend five hours of each work week putting their tasks aside and spending their time reading, learning, reflecting, and growing instead.

If you want to implement the same habits into your day, start with online learning in your field.

Right now, Lynda.com is offering a free 30-day trial to try out their video tutorials on tech, marketing, and business education. Another great free source is the Khan Academy, which has completely free courses in finance, economics, computer science, coding, and more.

Whatever your field is, the internet is vast. There are free learning materials, courses, and tutorials out there for you. Carve time into your day to take advantage of them!

Fall Fridays

Now, for my personal favorite, Fall Fridays. Taking time for yourself and your family isn’t just a summer activity. Sure, sales may be increasing and your workload may be growing, but it’s very important to remember to keep an eye on your work life balance.

This article from Entrepreneur breaks down why work life balance is important for many different reasons, including keeping us happier, healthier, and more productive. Keeping this in mind, every Friday I like to plan a fall-themed activity with my family and friends. This forces me out of the office and into my weekend at a reasonable time, no matter what I have on my plate!

Heading to a pumpkin patch, wandering a corn maze, shopping for Halloween costumes (and candy!) ,and celebrating the season during your weekend can make sure that you are even more productive when you’re in the office during the week. Remember to celebrate your own Fall Fridays, and manage your work life balance in a healthy way even as your business grows this season.

As the seasons change, it’s important to make sure that we are growing and changing too. That means taking stock of your small business and updating all of your management, finances, and marketing documents, and practices.

It also includes going back to school with online learning, and carving out time in your work week to continue learning in your field. Finally, make sure you take a good look at your work life balance, and keep it healthy to ensure a productive season.

Management overhauls, online learning, and Fall Fridays are my three go to steps I’m taking to tackle the season head on here at JER Marketing. Will you do the same?