The year is conveniently divided into twelve months, which can be further divided into four quarters. Viewing the year by quarters is especially helpful for independent businesspeople to respond to changes and drive in a better direction for results. The best place to start with a quarterly review is a look back at your original business plan. Treat it as a tool that keeps you accountable and a roadmap for viewing successful milestones and unforeseen challenges.
In my book Fearless Living: 8 Life-Changing Values for Breakthrough Success, I discuss how to drive for results and the importance of planning. A big part of achieving success is in creating a business plan as a living document that you adjust in response to changing circumstances, month-by-month, quarter-by-quarter and year-by-year.
As the first quarter of 2018 nears its close, here are five things you can do to “spring” forward as you drive for results:
- Review, Revise, Repeat: Take a look back at the goals you first set for your business and the first quarter – are they still relevant? If not, determine clearly “why.” Did you exceed your milestones or experienced a shortfall that closing the gap is not realistic? After this Review, Revise your goals, if necessary. Add any new, interim objectives that will help you move your business further towards achieving results. Be prepared to Repeat this process frequently.
- Schedule a Feedback Session with Yourself: Give yourself a pat on the back for what you achieved in the first quarter, with specifics and add a pep talk that articulates your vision for success in the months to come.
- Take a Count: Going by the numbers, write down what actions you took to achieve your results in the first three months of the year. Based on those results, write down a projection for the next quarter to assure it aligns to your total annual goals. Keep it handy as a reference guide for achieving and exceeding your own expectations for success.
- Prepare for the Future: Preparing for a successful business future can be both short and long term. Look at the quarter ahead and take stock of what you’ve learned that can help you continue to achieve results and do more of what you did well. Consider what changes you need to make to stay focused, be resilient and face the “grind” tomorrow, and all the tomorrows to come.
- Revise Your Action Plan: A wise sage once said, “the only constant is change.” If you created your original plan to be able to address the twists and turns of a changing business climate, then the end of the quarter is a good milestone to revisit. Review and revise your plan to reflect the circumstances that moved your business forward – and what held it back. But don’t set it in stone – you’ll want to be able to learn, adapt and change it again.
As winter turns to spring, a long hard look at the last quarter will help ensure results for the rest of the year.