Most business owners have solid and clear ideas of where they would like their business to be in a year, two or even 5 years from now. Developing a strategic plan to get to those goals are a little less evident. There is no doubt that benefits come alongside having a full understanding of your long-term goals. Yet, the implementation of specific strategies to reach those goals is the follow through needed to make them happen. Quarterly business planning is a proven strategy in reaching your short term and long-term goals.
I recently wrote about applying a 12 Week Year to your business goal setting strategy. The 12 Week Year involves taking the necessary steps to excel your business in just one quarter, in what you normally would have accomplished in one year. It takes commitment and it takes effective quarterly business planning to bring success to fruition.
Although it is still essential to make 1-5 year plans for your business, the goal of getting there can become slightly blurry without concrete steps to implement them now. This is why planning for your business in quarterly increments is essential and effective in keeping you on the right track towards your 1-5 year goals.
Taking steps to keep you focused within the next three months will give you the opportunity needed to grow and to adjust your plan wherever needed.
There are some fundamental elements of effective quarterly business planning that we can take into consideration. I emphasize the word effective because we can plan all day to get to the next level in business, but without putting the plan into action you will get nowhere. The key is to take attainable steps forward during the quarter.
Here are a few things to consider when focusing on the effectiveness of your business planning for the quarter:
Take a Day to Plan Your Quarter
Is it possible to take a day just to plan out your quarter? I say, “YES, it MUST be possible”. If you put into perspective the positive results of accomplishing a year’s worth of goals in a quarter, you will see the importance of allowing adequate time to plan.
Allocate one business day to analyze your plans and establish 1-3 key goals to accomplish in the next 12 weeks. Your time allocated doesn’t have to be a full eight hours in one day; break it up if you have to in a week.
Allowing sufficient time to write out an effective quarterly plan will take the stress out of stumbling towards the next step and wasting valuable time.
Set Up Time Frames within the Quarter
Your business can be stuck at a standstill if you do not set enough time in your day-to-day schedule to progress. A paper planner comes in handy for setting up time frames, deadlines, and to take notes along the way.
My Kate Spade planner has kept my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks organized efficiently. My planner is an integral part of my business and I don’t leave home without it.
As suggested in the 12 Week Year, I also recommend drafting an ideal workweek schedule. I recommend creating an ideal weekly schedule to all of my coaching clients as it has been integral in transforming my productivity and intentionality.
Setting appropriate time frames will be the building blocks to achieve your goals for the quarter. What can you do today to bring you one step closer to the goal? Keep organized, keep a calendar, and take notes to remind yourself of great ideas and areas to improve on.
Reevaluate After Every Quarter
Take time to review how your previous quarter turned out. Do you need to readjust your commitments? Do you need to refine your strategy in order to be more productive or to see results? Sometimes this means that we spent too much time on things that were not adding value to quarterly goals. Evaluate what remained necessary and what wasn’t.
This can even include the personal roadblocks that may have stunted business growth for the quarter. Did you not spend enough time with your family members? Did you not set-up enough time for self-care?
You may realize that you found yourself exceptionally tired during the day or more irritable with your loved ones. Effective quarterly business planning also has to do with balancing your home life and business to achieve a healthy median.
It can get truly challenging to maintain focus and to do what is best to grow your business. It is easy to look at your long term goals and “hope” you can get there somehow or by doing what you are already doing now. However, reality tells us that convenience and comfort have never resulted in progression.
When it comes to long-term strategic planning in your business, it is easy to lose momentum. Effective quarterly business planning keeps you on track and motivated through the long-term.
Do you have any suggestions for keeping your quarterly business plan effective?