Create a Quarterly Plan for Your Business in 4 Simple Steps
Do You Have a Quarterly Plan for Your Business?
At least 50 percent of business owners don’t have an annual business plan, and the number who do quarterly planning is even lower. Creating a quarterly business plan helps you stay on track to exceed your annual business goals. This is when you break those goals into quarterly goals. Below is the 4-step process I use with my business coaching clients to help them create a quarterly plan using last quarter’s results. Let’s look at the quarterly reporting requirements you need to follow each quarter.
Step 1: Perform a Quarterly Financial Analysis
In order to create a quarterly business plan, you have to first conduct a quarterly financial analysis. Look at your profit & loss statement from the previous quarter. Compare the numbers you see against the projections in your annual business plan. Are you:
- Spending too much on unnecessary business infrastructure?
- Not spending enough on marketing your website?
- Taking too much profit for yourself?
These are just a couple of questions you need to ask during your quarterly financial analysis. Teaching clients how to read a profit & loss statement is another big part of my executive training program.
Step 2: Analyze Your Sales From Last Quarter
Next, you have to look at your sales goals for the year. Answer the following:
- Are you on pace to reach or exceed your annual sales goals?
- What line items sold better than expected?
- What line items are underperforming?
- How are your margins?
The answers to these questions form the foundation of your quarterly business plan. I constantly stress to my business coaching clients that 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.
Step 3: Create Your Quarterly Human Resources Plan
Looking at human resources is the next stage of creating a quarterly plan for your business. Whether you have 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 as part of my executive coaching process 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.
What is a Performance Improvement Plan?
A performance improvement plan is a 30,60, or 90-day outlined a 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 molehills before they become mountains. A big part of successful executive leadership is being able to get the most out of your employees.
Now that we’ve covered your HR plan, let’s look at how you measure your success.
Step 4: Realign and Readjust 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.
Executive Training Challenge – Schedule Your Quarterly Planning Sessions for the Year
Many ask me “when are quarterly reports released?” This is a challenge I do with all of my business coaching clients to help teach them the importance of planning in business. I want you to pull up your calendar right now and schedule the four days you will create your quarterly business plans. Many ask me “when are quarterly reports released?” Mark the following dates:
- April 15th
- July 15th
- October 15th
- January 15th
In these sessions I want you to schedule out every single task involved with making your quarterly business plan a reality.
Executive Coaching Will Make Your Next Quarter Amazing
This is just a small overview of the quarterly business plan creation strategy I use with my executive business coaching clients. In these coaching sessions, I help my clients set impactful goals using their performance from the previous quarter.
We go through every inch of their business together to make sure every system is operating at peak efficiency. When we find a faulty system, I teach my clients how to make tweaks to increase performance.
Schedule an executive coaching session with me if you want to create a quarterly business plan for next quarter that will get you on pace to smash your annual goals.