In the business world, the new year is always an exciting time. It’s a time for new beginnings, goals, achievements and most importantly, growth. As a business owner, strategist or someone who’s in charge of operations, you already know how important quarterly planning can be. Sound quarterly planning can be the difference between hitting your goals, objectives, and scaling your business, or spending another year flying by the seat of your pants.
So, here’s 3 strategy tips to plan your business quarters and hit the ground running in the new year.
In today’s blog, we’re discussing three strategy tips to plan your business quarter.
WHAT IS QUARTERLY PLANNING?
Quarterly planning is a strategic method used by decision makers as a way to set key performance indicators, goals and objectives. As a rule, this involves breaking the year into four 3-month quarters. As a business owner, planning for an entire year can be a daunting task, but with quarterly planning, the decision maker can focus on short their term goals 3 months at a time.
This improves the efficiency of your team and keeps them hitting their goals, it also allows you to measure the progress of long-term projects over shorter periods of time. By establishing KPIs, goals, and objectives, then meeting every few months, owners get a real time oversight of the progress being made.
But not all quarterly planning is created equal, there are certain practices that will yield better results than others, that have been tested over the years and remain tried and true methods to help successfully map your businesses journey.
REVIEW THE LAST QUARTER
While some might say don’t let the past dictate the future, when it comes to quarterly planning for your business, this isn’t the case. If you have launched a new strategy over the last few months, it is very important to include the previous quarterly numbers of your business. Adding the numbers from the previous quarter is a sound method of establishing quarterly goals. Decision makers can look at the numbers, identify which strategies are working and which need to be adjusted to move forward accordingly.
Aside from being used to set goals, a review of the numbers from the previous quarter can also show you where things may have gone wrong for your team. If your team seems to be struggling in certain areas and the level of production isn’t indicative of the effort, they’re putting in. Odds are, owners can take a look and review the numbers from the previous quarter and identify those potential problem areas. Doing so will also allow you to see what goals were missed and in turn you can add those objectives into an upcoming quarter to get back on track.
WHAT ARE YOUR AREAS OF FOCUS?
As a business owner, chances are you opened your doors because you felt that you could provide a service better than the competition, or even, your previous employer. One sure fire way to stay a step ahead of your competitors and maximize quarterly efficiency is to define no more than three areas of focus for your business at any given time. A common misconception with businesses that are in their infancy, is that each of the five business functions should be focused on simultaneously, when this just isn’t the case.
The fact is, if you’re in business, you understand the day-to-day importance of operations. But you should remember that operations isn’t just a singular function, but the product of all the functions of the business working in unison to create the final product. By focusing on no more than three functions in any given quarter, you gain the ability to nurture and grow these departments and ultimately help scale your business due to the increased productivity.
By approaching quarterly planning in a manner that promotes focusing and investing on these healthy departmental habits, your business will certainly move in the right direction in terms of growth and scaling your business.
RISKS, OPPORTUNITIES AND PLANNED GOALS
Let’s face it, sometimes in business, owners and decision makers have a habit of focusing too much on the positives and the potential numbers, rather than on the situation at hand. Sure, sky high K.P. I’s and lofty goals are all well and good, but it’s also important to first make sure everyone is aware of the risks that are involved. Some may consider this pessimistic, but a smart decision maker will be able to look past the potential success and focus on past failures as a means of avoiding them in the future.
Realistically, risk is a part of every business venture. In quarterly planning, Risk should be calculated alongside your businesses K.P. I’s and objectives. It's no secret that being in business can be turbulent and sometimes things don’t work out the way they were supposed to. But one thing that can really make or break a company is having the ability to learn from those mistakes and take them into account in the future.
By including things like, being transparent about roadblocks as well as potential roadblocks to projects and other problems that may arise, you will start creating a strategic quarterly plan that promotes problem solving and open communication among employees.
In business, one thing you can take to the bank, besides your profits of course, is the fact that opportunities are everywhere for a business to grow. As an owner or chief decision maker, it is important to recognize these opportunities as they come. But in other instances, strategy and the market may call for a company to create their own opportunities as well. For example, if the data from the previous quarter indicates that your vendor rates are too high. A potential opportunity to fit into the next quarterly report, would be to renegotiate your vendor relationships into a more favorable contract.
However, it is important to make sure all partners are aware of the risk that is involved with each created opportunity. Sometimes planning power moves of advancement for your company doesn’t always pan out and things go the opposite way. In many cases with quarterly planning, the greater the risk, the greater the reward, just be sure to do thorough research first.
In business, everybody has goals. It’s human nature to want to succeed and make your company the best that it can be. There's nothing more rewarding than going out and smashing your goals quarter after quarter. But, before you get too excited, there's a few things you should remember.
First, make sure your goals are realistic and understand that just because you believe in your team's abilities doesn’t mean they can do the impossible.
Secondly, just like with objectives, make sure that everyone knows about the things that can go wrong just as much as they know about the things that can go right, this allows for partners and investors to make informed decisions based on data, instead of emotion and opinion.
Lastly, you should understand that some goals may take longer than others to complete and may need to be re visited quarterly until they are finished to completion.
You should also plan for team goals as well. In order to improve communication and cohesion, every quarterly meeting and report should contain information regarding the different projects that have been assigned to the different teams, their progress, and estimated completion date. Only having a few months to complete each segment of the project keeps employees focused, motivated, hardworking, and honest.
One of the most important, and overlooked things in business is quarterly planning and it can be the difference between your business succeeding or failing. By looking at the data from previous quarters, understanding the risks that are involved when establishing goals, opportunities, and that some projects may take longer than others through to completion, your chances of success increase exponentially.
An owner who Takes all of these things into account has a very good chance of seeing their business grow into something they can be proud of.
If you’re looking for an expert consultant to help you determine your next move and assist with quarterly planning, the right advice is priceless. As business consultants and COOs, we work with entrepreneurs every day to set them up for success by identifying where their business is suffering. We help them pinpoint which processes to re-evaluate and adjust to grow their business. And best yet… We offer hassle-free, no obligation 30-minute discovery calls to see how we could help you. Just email us today.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Scaling 4 Success
YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/S4S-YT-Channel
Scaling For Success: www.scalinggrp.com
Facebook Page: http://bit.ly/S4S-FB-Page
LinkedIn Page: http://bit.ly/S4S-LKI-Page