Having a successful Q1 can help in setting your business up to have a productive year overall. In getting ready to tackle this new quarter, you need to look at your business in three stages: your business’s past, the current state of your business, and your business’s future.
Look back on the past
The start of a new year is a great time to look back on things your business has done in the past. Look back on the last year and take note of the progress that you’ve made.
- Review your achievements: What goals did your business meet? Take some time to celebrate these accomplishments. Any positive data that you can draw from these achievements can also be useful in setting goals for the upcoming months.
- Measure your performance: Your sales revenue needs to be measured in two ways – your performance against your goals and your performance against the market. It can be great to hit the targets that you set for yourself, but you should also be aware of how your competitors did in comparison.
- Do gap analysis for goals not met: It’s also helpful to also note where your business faltered. What strategic goals were not met? How has your position in the marketplace changed? Understanding where your business went wrong can help you in deciding what needs to change throughout the next quarter.
Reflect on the now
Once you have a good understanding of how your business has previously performed, take a moment to reflect on where you’re currently at.
- Reflect on your team: Look at the current state of your staff. If your team is struggling, what can you do to better their situation? You may need to purchase some updated equipment, invest in some new training opportunities, or hire more people. Ask your team directly to get their insights on their current working conditions and brainstorm ways to improve.
- Reflect on yourself: Executive leadership should be focused on offering leadership advice and becoming a more conscious and present leader. What can you do to make yourself a better leader for your team? Improving yourself can help establish a better environment for the rest of your business to evolve as well.
Plan for the future
You’ve made note of the past and the present, so now it’s time to look toward the future. Creating a solid plan for Q1 can help to keep you and the rest of your team on the right track towards success.
- Set clear objectives: Without clear objectives, it’s difficult to measure progress and identify areas for improvement. Having clear goals in place for Q1 and the rest of the year can also help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.
- Establish KPIs: You need to have a way to measure yourself. Depending on the goals you set, you may develop different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs should be a key part of your quarterly business impact analysis.
- Create your budget: Having a clear budget in place is key to keeping your business financially healthy. If you’re making major changes to your previous budget plan, make sure you have data to back up these decisions.
- Plan productive meetings: It is important to gather your leadership teams to highlight/summarize current and past accomplishments. These meetings can also offer a chance to find out what needs to be changed or improved as the year progresses. Make sure to schedule several times to meet with your leadership team throughout Q1.
Here’s to a great first quarter!
By Michaela Lenahan in Small Business