By Chelsea Duggan 

It’s Summer time and you could use some rays. Why not head to the pool with your notebook and pen for some impromptu business fun in the sun? What will you find at your local water park? The answers you’ve been looking for and a sunny smile on your face.

Pack your bag to stay cool and take a calm moment to make a list of the three things you wish you had the answers to for your business. My list includes the following questions: 1) How can I improve sales of current products, 2) How can I best expand my product offerings, and 3) How can I best meet my customers needs? Throw in some sunscreen and snacks plus a few business give-away items – I’ll bring copies of our recent book to share with those I connect with.

Stake out the perfect spot where you can easily strike up conversations with as many potential customers as possible. This isn’t the day for a hard sell so relax a little and enjoy chatting up your neighbor. Get to know them and let them know you. Ideally, you’ll hit it off and be able to ask your questions and get some great insight. Keep it low pressure and don’t be afraid to move on if the conversation isn’t proving fruitful.

Just like you don’t want to forget sunblock there are a few key points to consider in your search for answers. Keep in mind that casual conversations will take their course and that you may not be able to ask all of your questions to a single new friend. Instead, keep the vibe easy and focus on surveying a large population. You may also find that you really connect with someone and you might go off topic and put her in your shoes, asking what she would do in your position. You may open yourself up to possibilities you’ve never considered.

Summer brings plenty of opportunities to make work feel more like play. You can continue to canvas customers at your local coffee hang out, at the forest preserve or at a picnic. As you learn more, let your questions evolve and gain confidence that you can grow and rise to meet your business challenges. Go ahead and mix business with pleasure and have a great Summer.

Chelsea Duggan:: An entrepreneur, parent and advocate for early childhood development through creative education, Chelsea Duggan is the Founder and Director of Milestar Babies. This innovative online resource enables busy parents to have an influential impact on newborn children, up to three years in age. Chelsea’s background in education – a passion she shares with her two children, so they themselves can enjoy a lifelong interest in learning – is at the center of Milestar Babies. That commitment to excellence starts with shared moments and teacher-designed lessons, which parents can further customize, so children can discover, synthesize and pursue their own discoveries. Chelsea believes that every child is an amazing individual, who deserves to learn at his or her own pace. This kid-tested, parent-approved philosophy is Chelsea’s distinctive concept, complemented by the convenience of the Internet and her dynamic site. A graduate of Northwestern and a member of the Chicago Women Entrepreneurs Network, Chelsea welcomes the opportunity to interact with parents and children throughout the nation and the world.