Why did so many business owners and entrepreneurs spin their wheels last year? The number one answer is these businesspeople lacked an annual business plan. If you’ve listened to episodes 74 and 75 of the Titanium Life podcast, then you’ve probably started your annual business plan. This article is about breaking that annual business plan into a quarterly business plan.
From Annual to Quarterly Business Plan
In order to create a quarterly plan, you have to first conduct a quarterly financial analysis. The first question you ask is “Am I on track with my annual business plan?” If you aren’t, then you’ll find your reason why in the previous quarter’s financial data.
Are you spending too much or too little? Do you pay for services you don’t need? These are just a couple of questions you need to ask during your quarterly financial analysis.
Next you have to look at your sales goals. Are you on pace to reach or exceed your annual sales goals? What sold well and what didn’t sell so well? How are our margins? The answers to these questions form the foundation of your quarterly business plan.
It is crucial to analyze your financials at least every quarter. Those who only look at their financials at tax time don’t have their finger on the pulse of their business.
Your Quarterly Human Resources Plan
Looking at human resources is the next stage of creating a quarterly business plan. Whether you have a 100 employees or one employee, you need to conduct a quarterly review of every employee in your organization. This process is a little different for a one-person business, but no less important. Instead of putting an employee’s name at the top of the job description you use to conduct your review, you put your name.
I do this exercise in my business bootcamp to help my clients analyze all of the different “hats” they wear in their business. I have them be brutally honest by asking themselves this: “ Would you fire yourself based on your performance?” If the answer is yes, then you have two choices. Fire yourself (or your employee) and hire someone else, or put yourself (or your employee) on a performance improvement plan.
A performance improvement plan is a 30,60, or 90-day outlined commitment to improvement. It should provide the employee with the following:
- What results are expected
- How the employee is expected to get said results
- The resources and training necessary for improvement
This quarterly review doesn’t have to be as formal as the annual employee review. It is a quick, simple review designed to address mole hills before they become mountains.
Now that we’ve covered your HR plan, let’s look at how you measure your success.
Analyzing Your Key Performance Indicators
If you want your quarterly business plan to be successful, you have to look at the right key performance indicators. The easiest way to understand the importance of key performance indicators in your business is to look at the dashboard in your car. All of the information on your dashboard tells you key information regarding the health of your car. Your check engine and tune up lights come on when you need to take an action to maintain the health of your car. Likewise, your key performance indicators let you know when you need to act to maintain the health of your business.
Ignoring these key performance indicators puts the health of your business at risk. It is therefore essential to realign and readjust your KPIs every quarter. Say your annual marketing goal is to generate 1200 new leads.
You conduct your quarterly analysis after the first quarter and see you’re only at 200 leads for the year. At that pace you’ll only reach 800 leads. Now you know you need to adjust your marketing strategy for next quarter. Your annual success depends on these quarterly adjustments.
Scheduling Your Quarterly Analysis
I have a challenge for you. I want you to pull up your calendar right now and schedule the four days you will create your quarterly business plans. Mark the following dates:
- April 15th
- July 15th
- October 15th
- January 15th
Once you’ve scheduled these dates, I challenge you to schedule every task involved in implementing the current quarter’s plan. Once you do this challenge, you are ready to go put your plan into action.
If you found this article useful, be sure to check out other episodes of Arman’s Titanium Life podcast.