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How To Have The Best Quarterly Planning


Every quarter, owners and decision makers of a business sit down and plan out the strategy for next three months. It’s a chance to realign focus, set goals and analyze past performance. It’s an opportunity to fine-tune operations and see how you’re faring against the competition


In the fast-paced race that is the business world, having the best quarterly planning can be the difference between being number 1 in your industry, or being left scratching your head wondering why your ever elusive goals slipped away again.

So, here’s some tips on how to have the best quarterly planning for your business.

In today’s blog, we’re discussing how to have the best quarterly planning for your business.

DETAIL IS EVERYTHING


Some people hate being hung up on details, but if you’re a COO or decision maker laying out the groundwork for your year, detail is everything. In fact, the more detail that is put in to your quarterly planning, the better off you will be.


A well-organized business will already have the data and reporting to flesh out your quarterly planning. Everything from inventory, revenue projections, staffing, production fluctuations, sales figures and more. With this information, you’re not only able to see if your goals are logistically achievable, but it helps you to avoid any potential pitfalls on the horizon.


It also gives you the ability to put some names, numbers and predictions next to the action points in your quarterly planning.


By clearly outlining key performance indicators, goals, objectives, risks and rewards over 4 13-week periods throughout the year, employees tend to have an easier time meeting their goals and objectives over the short term, which ultimately moves the long-term needle as well.


MAKE SURE YOUR TEAMS ARE ON THE SAME PAGE

If you stop and take a look at the most successful businesses in the world, one thing they all have in common is that everyone involved from the top down has a clear sense of purpose and understanding as to the role they are playing to aid in the company moving forward.


A lot of this purpose and understanding comes from carefully crafted quarterly plans that outline the tasks and deadlines of every team.


As a decision maker, it falls on you to make sure that everyone knows the part they are supposed to play in relation to ongoing projects. Each department or team needs to understand their roles, responsibilities, deadlines and support channels.


Without a clear plan delivered to everyone from the CEO down, there’s no hope of coordinating an ambitious strategy.

TEST YOUR TEAMS AND ADD STRETCH GOALS

One sure fire way to get the most out of your quarterly planning and your teams throughout the year is by adding stretch goals.


Stretch goals are a set of extra goals that can be used as a way to really see what your team is made of. It involves taking a reasonable target and “stretching” it a little farther to inspire determination.


For example, say your quarterly goal is to do $150,000 in revenue over the first quarter. When planning, add a stretch goal of $200,000 and see if your teams are capable of turning up the heat and hitting the bigger number. Just keep in mind that if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world, or your business.

REMEMBER WHAT THE CUSTOMERS SAY, IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT

One of the best ways to get ahead in quarterly planning is to remember why you got into business in the first place. That’s right, satisfying the customer.


Now, as chief decision maker, we all know how important it is to try and set ambitious goals. Just remember that the ultimate goal of your business is customer satisfaction, so the majority of your goals and objectives should be centered around keeping the customer experience as positive as possible.


Check back and see if you have repeat customers. While everyone loves a new contract, repeat customers are the bread and butter of a business. If you do have repeat customers, dig deeper into the data and find out what drew them back. Use this info to fine-tune your quarterly customer strategy.

MAKE IT AGILE


One of the best ways to get the most out of your quarterly planning is to keep it agile and flexible. In some cases, something that was a huge priority in January won’t be such a big deal in July.


The needs of a business can quickly change, and the ability to pivot, adjust and reallocate parts of your business to respond is crucial for survival.


When it comes time for your quarterly planning, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate your current efforts and quickly change focus if needed


BE REALISTIC, INCLUDE THE NEGATIVES


The truth is, if running a business was risk free, everyone would do it. One of the biggest mistakes someone just starting out can make in planning their business quarters is being overly optimistic. New owners and operators tend to get caught up on what could potentially happen and not include the proper risk assessment in the quarterly plan.


Sure, it’s nice to think that all you’re gonna do is knock your KPIs out of the park, but, what if you don’t? What if your team struggles and you miss your goal for the quarter?


It’s always better to include situations of potential failure in quarterly plans. By outlining your potential points of weakness, your company is not only being transparent about what can go wrong, it’s also being proactive in establishing protocols to use as solutions in the event of these situations as well.

WHAT FACTORS ARE INVOLVED?


When trying to plan for the future, decision makers always have to consider the possibility that external factors could derail the company’s strategy.


Is there a big launch happening on another team that will pull resources away from your own?


Is one of your team members going on vacation or is there some other type of organizational announcement?


By taking the time to focus on other things that are out of your control and understanding when your resources will and will not be available, decision makers can plan to avoid most of the issues that will arise due to these factors.

BRAINSTORM, GET OTHERS INVOLVED


Let’s face it, sometimes other people have the answers that you need, and they’re sitting in the meeting with you. One way to truly get your quarterly planning to its best level is by brainstorming for goals and objectives with the entire team.


Not only does it foster an inclusive work environment by allowing everyone to get involved in the planning process, but it also promotes creativity in the work place and allows everyone to have a say in direction the company is moving.


Also, don’t be afraid to use brainstorming exercises to get everyone involved if they don’t want to participate.


Bringing out the best in your quarterly planning isn’t always an easy task and there are certain things you should remember. For example, detail is everything, the more detail you put into your quarterly plans the better off you will be. Make sure your teams are on the same page with a clear understanding of their responsibilities and add stretch goals in order to see how motivated your teams really are.

Also, don’t forget that the needs of a business are ever changing and that it’s important to keep your quarterly plan agile in case it needs to be changed quarterly. Lastly, you should remember that even though it’s important to keep the higher ups happy, the customer experience is more important.

Keep all this in mind and you’ll have the best quarterly business plan around.


If you are looking to identify areas of operations to work on, 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.



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