As we approach Quarter 4, is your business where you hoped it would be in 2019? Have you had a quiet Q3 and need to get your focus clear for the last push to December? It’s not too late to make strategic improvements to get you back on track and push through to the year’s end.

A quarter – 3 months – 12 weeks – 90 days: however you see it, is a great time frame for making a tactical plan of the strategies you will use to accomplish your goals. A quarterly plan bridges the gap between your long-term goals and your weekly or daily actions.

A working quarterly plan should be reviewed every week so that it holds you to account and is your guide to ensure your team is focussed on the right things. The 90 day period is long enough to give you time to complete meaningful work and short enough to hold your attention right to the end.

In ‘The 12 Week Year’ – the popular business book by Brian Moran, businesses are encouraged to redefine the planning year from 12 months down to 12 weeks to avoid the “pitfalls and low productivity of annualized thinking”. In 12 weeks, it states, you can’t get complacent as your urgency and clarity intensifies with a positive impact on your results. Maybe you should give this strategy a try?

How to create an effective quarterly plan

The secret to a successful plan is focus. Only include your top three priorities for the quarter and don’t get distracted by other elements. Decide on your priorities with your leadership team and try to keep your quarterly plan to one page. Communicate it to employees so that it becomes well known and a shared focus. Examples of priorities might be:

  • Improving lead conversion
  • Recruiting a new team member
  • Developing a new product
  • Increasing debt recovery

Invest in your plan

Yes, you still have to carry out the day-to-day tasks of running your core functions but your key priorities will help to develop your business so invest your resources wisely. Concentrating on fewer key priorities produces more value as your team won’t be spread too thinly.

What is your measurement of success?

Before you decide on your actions to achieve your three priorities, make sure you know what success looks like. Be realistic with the timescale you have, what is achievable to make Q4 feel successful? Choose a KPI for each focus area.

What actions will take you there?

Decide on five or six action points for each key priority and the milestones you want to reach along the way. Give ownership for each action step to a team member and set deadlines for them to report back.

Need more help with planning? Why not come along to our CRM Seminar taking place on Wednesday 18th September 2019 at Begbroke Science Park, near Oxford. Called Planning For Success, the seminar offers lots of useful pointers to help you plan and forecast within your business, plus a chance to network with like-minded business people.

For more details, check out our Eventbrite page or call CRM on 01865 379272.

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