If you haven’t thought about your 2016 goals since New Year’s Day, today’s post is for you. Today I’m going to show you how to do a quarterly review of your business in less than an hour and find your way back to the path you set yourself on earlier this year.
Now you might still be in shock that it’s almost April, it’s almost Easter and it’s almost time for allergy season (mine came early, so I feel your pain soooooo much). But when it comes to your business, springtime means time to review your goals, make some changes to your business plan, and set priorities for the next three months.
Why? If you’ve already strayed pretty far from your 2016 business plan, you might be tempted to give up already. You might feel like you haven’t come far enough yet, and the goals you set for this year are looking impossible to achieve. But seriously – you still have NINE months to do this, and over the next three, you can achieve a lot. It all starts with reviewing what you’ve accomplished already and using that to motivate you to bring your business one step closer to your vision.
How to Complete a Quick Quarterly Review of Your Business
If you have any type of business plan – whether it’s a formal 3-year projection or a lot of paper napkins with illegible chicken scratch on them – get that out now and follow along.
First things first!
Find at least three small wins and celebrate them
The VERY first thing you want to do is review your plan and find at least three things you accomplished. Take a moment to celebrate them. Maybe you hit your revenue targets in January. Maybe you added 300 people to your list. Maybe you finally landed your first client. Whatever. Find three things. Say them aloud. Write them on the wall. Verbalize them somehow and pat yourself on the back – you’ve already achieved a lot this year and you need to acknowledge it.
This puts you in a creative and productive headspace to review the things that didn’t go so well and adjust them.
Feeling happy? ‘Kay. Next up: the whoopsies.
Review your goals
If achieving one or more of your goals was one of your wins, that’s awesome – but chances are there are a few things you haven’t achieved yet. Review your goals and check how far along you are on the path towards reaching them this year. Where are you falling behind? Do your goals still make sense?
What’s slowing your progress? Where did you fall short, or mess up? Acknowledge your failures – in part to make decisions about what to do instead, but more importantly you want to acknowledge your failures so that you can consciously let them go. You don’t want guilt about your mistakes to follow you through the rest of this year.
If you didn’t meet your goals, or you set the wrong ones and they don’t make any sense anymore, revise them or cast them off. It’s a new quarter. If you still feel your goals are the right ones, that’s awesome. Keep them handy for the rest of your review.
If you cast off any of your goals, replace them with new ones that align with your business vision, and move on to the next step.
Review your Ideal Customer
You should be reminding yourself who your ideal customer is, at least four times a year. As we slog through the day-to-day operation of our business and grind out the hard parts, it can be easy to forget who you’re doing this for. Check in on your ideal customer here. Remember them? Remember the problem you’re solving for them – the thing that has you so passionate about this business in the first place? Let that person guide your actions for the next quarter so you make sure to set objectives that improve their lives. In turn, you’ll improve your own life, and your business too.
Reviewing your ideal customer is also a great way to make sure they are, in fact, still the people you want to be in business for. Ideal Customers do evolve as we mature into our businesses and discover more about the types of people we most enjoy doing business with. So it’s okay to change that definition if it no longer fits your vision or mission.
Set new objectives
Now that you’ve revived your clarity about your Ideal Customer and the major goals you want to achieve in your business this year, it’s time to create an action plan. For me this is the really fun part; I get to write down achievable steps I will take over the next 3 months to get me closer to my year-long goals.
So, take each goal and write it somewhere – in a Google doc or in your notebook or planner. Doesn’t matter. Write each goal on a separate paper, IN BIG. Then:
- Break each goal down into smaller objectives that contribute to the larger goal
- Write down a minimum of one action you can take this quarter to achieve each objective
- Turn those actions into a checklist and set a deadline for each one
Now, you’ve got a simple action plan to revitalize your business and straighten out the road towards achieving all the incredible things that had you SO excited about entrepreneurship just three months ago.
Enjoy Your New Energy.
Taking just one hour to complete a quarterly review should drive your energy upwards, leaving you feeling refreshed and excited about the next three months.