Q4 Business Planning
We are already a month into Q4, and many business owners and managers are working hard to accomplish their business goals. The end of the year, or Q4 as it’s known in the business world is all about wrapping up the fiscal year, and preparing for Q1 which begins in January in 2019. Many businesses professs that Q4 is often the most profitable time of the year: end of year and Christmas sales go into effect and purchasing agents are encouraged to make extra transactions.
With all of this in mind, every business needs a great strategy to set them up for achieving their quarterly goals. With any strategy setting session, the best place to start is to clarify what you want to achieve and what steps you need to take to make it happen.
Set your SMART goals for Q4
Good business goals are SMART.
Specific: Creating specific, tangible goals is much more effective than creating vague goals. You are more likely to sell clothing if you set out to sell 2,000 t-shirts as opposed to setting the abstract goal to sell ‘more’. Specificity helps you aim your efforts towards a tangible end.
Measurable: Make your goal quantifiable, so you can know if you have achieved them. Goals such as ‘do better business’ will not help you because you are unable to tell if you succeeded or failed. By setting a quantifiable goal, you are able to reflect on what you did right to achieve your vision or what you did wrong that prevented you from realizing your goal. Use the insight you gain to guide future decision making.
Agreed upon: Are you the owner of your company, or do you have a partner? Do you have employees working under you? Business goals should be decided with your peers and communicated clearly to your employees. This helps you make sure that everyone is filled in on critical details and that the goals are achievable.
Realistic: Creating realistic goals will help you remain on track and not get discouraged. Lofty goals could make you feel inadequate, and too-small goals will not encourage you to work as hard as you can.
Timely: Make goals that are achieved in time, such as make x amount of sales by November. Having dates will help you stay on track and not push off work into the future.
Looking back on the year
Q4 is a great time to reflect on your fiscal year. Take time to go through the numbers of your business and evaluate what strategies worked and what needs to be adjusted.
Evaluate your marketing strategy. If your marketing strategy is content based, look through your page specs to see which articles garnered a lot of attention. Are there any noticeable trends? Perhaps certain types of content are ignored by browsers, others get a lot of attention and some are great at converting. You should not feel compelled to throw away the content that is less effective, but this content analysis should inform what content you put out in the future.
As Q4 is all about getting ready for Q1, consider creating a content calendar. This calendar will motivate you to create consistently, and it will also help you climb the ranks in search engines. Additionally, creating more content will give you more data points about what content converts. Consistent creating will allow you to hone your craft, writing more and more effective content going forward.
Talk to your employees
Plan an in-depth conversation with all of your employees. The purpose of this meeting should be twofold: it is a chance to give feedback, and ask for suggestions. Give your employees in-depth feedback about the areas in which they are excelling and areas in which there is room for improvement. Try not to be shy because this feedback is critical to helping your employees evolve. Dare even to discuss challenging topics, such as office dynamics. If you perceive one of your employees to be combative to his peers, discuss it. Is there tension between two employees, or does your employee need to address his tone with colleagues?
This is also a rare opportunity to ask for feedback and suggestions from your staff. Most of the time, our employees work towards our vision and do not express their opinions openly. While this support makes offices work efficiently, it may also prevent creativity from emerging. Ask your employees about how things are going for them and ideas they have for future company growth. Maybe your employee has an amazing idea you never would have considered!
Consider planning a team-building activity. Businesses thrive when employees feel connected to each other and the business mission. Help foster these connections by taking employees to an escape room, to do a game-day in the park or simply treat them to a nice meal.
Plan holiday bonuses
Modern workplaces are often very stressful. People sometimes feel the need to compete with their colleagues, answer email on weekends and occasionally take their work home with them to stay on track.
Holiday bonuses help maintain morale. Your bonuses can come in the form of gifts, holiday time or cash. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for holiday bonuses, so feel free to get creative. Planning these bonuses now will prevent you from doing it last minute and making mistakes.
These practical to-dos will help your business run smoothly into the new year. Clarify your business vision by keeping everything organised!
- Update contact lists. Make sure all of your potential customers are hearing from you! Take people off your list who don’t want to be there.
- Tally your inventory. Do you have enough of everything to continue into Q1?
- Contact your suppliers. Are they on track for 2019? Have prices changed?
- Reevaluate your pricing. Are you pricing yourself out of the market, or could you be charging more for goods and services? https://uk.camelcamelcamel.com/
- Organise an annual audit.
- Check communication software to make sure your emails are sending as intended.
Wrapping up the year means lining up opportunities for the next year. Accordingly, make a goal to call your top 30 business opportunities and arrange meetings. You may not be able to do business with these leads in 2018, but you will be setting yourself up nicely for a stream of work in 2019.
Does your business have multiple facets? Consider what was working for you best in 2018. Rather than just fixing your weak spots, focus on strengthening your most profitable ventures. How can you grow in 2019?