Business Rx: The summer to-do list for entrepreneurs

The thick summer humidity is settling in over Washington for the next few months, but the weather isn’t the only thing heating up. Summer is the perfect season to break in that hot new business idea. Whether you’re staying in town to pound the pavement building your business or you have plans to head to a favorite family getaway spot, er, satellite office, there will be plenty of opportunities to work on your venture.

Here’s what our experts say entrepreneurs should have on their to-do lists this summer:

Dive in, head first. “Take the plunge. You’ve been sitting on an idea for a couple years, it’s time to act. Put together a business plan and start getting feedback from people you respect.”

— Elana Fine, director of venture investments, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

Forget Paris . . . and Hawaii . . . and even Ocean City. “Entrepreneurs don’t get vacation. There is always someone who needs to worry about the next payroll. Focus on making sure there are contingencies for contingencies, because the unexpected always happens. Also, just because everyone slows down during summer doesn’t mean you should. If you continue to execute well you can gain ground on your competitors.”

— Asher Epstein, managing director, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

Test the waters. “Use neighbors at the barbecues, the people on the beach, fellow vacationers on your family cruise to market test your (new) product, flavor or next big idea. There’s nothing better than real customers to tell you what they think.”

— Oliver Schlake, PhD, entrepreneurship teaching fellow, business consultant, researcher and entrepreneur

Send your employees packing. “Make your valuable employees take a vacation and then do their job for a week. It will put you back in touch with what is going on in your company.”

— Harry Geller, entrepreneur-in-residence, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

Compile your beach reading list. “Review your media consumption. What are you really reading these days? Subscribe to the magazines, online services, etc. that (a) you need to read and (b) will be able to spend time to read.”

— Schlake (Stay tuned for a best business books summer reading guide in an upcoming Business Rx column)

Take advantage of long summer days and nights. “Working harder and longer is a competitive advantage. Spend time in the market selling, or if you’re a new entrepreneur just starting out, use the summer to work on your Beta test or prototype.”

— J. Robert Baum, PhD, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Director of Entrepreneurship Research

New season, new look. “Update your business card. Chances are you are scribbling your new cell/Web site/address on it. If your back side is empty, think of a great idea to use to promote your business.”

— Schlake

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