Fall is right around the corner, with the days getting shorter and "back to school sales" fliers filling your mailboxes. If you are a parent like me, you are scheduling children for doctor's appointments, and reviewing bus and class schedules, refocusing them on getting school supplies and books and making sure they are ready for the academics ahead.

If you are a small business owner, this is also a good time to prepare your business for the upcoming autumn months to come.


Fall is traditionally a time to refocus and renew. It's as much the start of a new year as is January. Your employees are back from vacations and it's time to focus them on gearing up the final quarter of the year. Retailers are nearing the busiest, and most profitable, time of the calendar year. Preparation for school spurs the sales of everything from clothing and school supplies to services such as hair cutting and dry cleaning.

This is also a busy time for professionals, such as accountants and attorneys, who are getting ready for the end of the calendar or tax year. Service businesses, such as those in car repair and vehicle maintenance, go into overdrive as streets and highways get busier.

It's time to shake off the heat and relaxed attitudes of summertime and start rechanneling everyone's energies into the pursuit of profits again.



Fall is a busy time for businesses as well as for students. While the summer months are relatively quiet, fall is the time when networking events, conferences and business-related events start jamming the calendar. Take time to plan your time for networking wisely, as not every event is necessarily good for your business.

Schedule some time to reflect on, and perhaps re-evaluate, financial and personal goals. Take stock of your obligations and make the appointments with your tax accountant, financial planner, broker or insurance agent to ensure you get in to see them before the end of the calendar year.

Just because you are busier, doesn't mean you are more productive. When every minute and hour counts, there's no time available to waste.


While the children are back to learning, the fall is a good time for business owners to learn something new. The Miller Center for Small Business at Carroll Community College's schedule of fall non-credit business courses for entrepreneurs and small business owners is now online. Go to the Carroll Community College website at http://www.carrollcc.edu and click on the "Courses and Training" drop-down menu, then click on "Class Schedules" under "Continuing Education (Non-Credit)." Look for the courses as well in your mailboxes in the Balance brochure.

The SBDC and Carroll County Department of Economic Development have upcoming group counseling sessions in which small business owners review and re-evaluate business plans and goals. The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce offers low-cost or no-cost "lunch and learn" workshops on human resource issues.

Whether you are trying to improve your bottom line with new marketing techniques or just trying to create a better functioning company, there are many opportunities to brush up on your business academics.

So, while you're juggling all the activities and obligations that the back to school season brings, remember that fall is also the time to get back to business.