With only a couple of weeks to go before the end of Q1 it feels really timely to talk about quarterly planning, so that you’re set up for maximum possible success in the next quarter. I attribute a lot of my success to how organized I am — yes, vision is one thing, and taking action is another, but to make sure I have sufficient time and energy to get what I want accomplished, I make highly detailed plans (and adopt the necessary habits to stick to them).
If this isn’t a consistent part of your operational process, it could well be your secret weapon!
Whether you’ve achieved all you set out to this quarter or you’ve found yourself juggling, struggling, and not really seeing the results you desired, this blog post will be of benefit to you.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry quite rightly puts it: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”…
…so are you going to cross your fingers and hope for the best, or are you going to make even your wildest dreams inevitable?
I thought so… let’s dive in.
1. Perform a Q1 Review
Before setting your Q2 goals, be sure to conduct an audit of what you did (and didn’t) manage to accomplish from January through March. What went well? What didn’t go so well? What would you like to do more of, and what would you like to do less of next time? Were there any creases that you know need ironing out? Or any gaps that need to be filled?
Be sure to spend some time thinking about and feeling into this. Better yet, review your metrics which indicate your previous performance. If you have the data, I really recommend diving into it so you can make decisions that are driven from a place of clarity rather than confusion. Knowing my numbers and having a handle on what they mean and how they can direct me is truly one of the secrets to my success.
2. Tap Back into Your Desires
Now that you’ve gathered your insights, I want you to lean out of your left brain and into your right (or even more accurately, to lean out of your head and into your heart!), because now’s the time to tap back into your desires. Practicalities and logistics aside, what do you really want? What dreams are you trying to realize? Are those things still in alignment with what you envisioned at the beginning of Q1?
If not, know that it’s very normal and natural to wish to pivot. You reserve the right to change your mind and should be applauded for doing so. There’s a LOT of messaging out there around shiny object syndrome (SOS) and how damaging and destructive it can be to business…
…but I need you to understand that having SOS and feeling called to switch direction is not the same thing!
You may have SOS if you can never really make your mind up, and instead of taking the time to connect with yourself and figure out what’s most important to you, let yourself get distracted constantly by the latest industry trend. Pivoting is different. People who pivot were once committed to a vision and took the necessary action to hold in their hands what they saw in their mind, but after some self-reflection, realize that what is in their mind (or rather, heart), has, in fact, changed.
We’re all on a perpetual journey of evolution throughout this thing called life, so if you’re noticing that you don’t resonate with your old teachings or offers, team, coach — whatever that may be — listen to the navigation system that is your intuition and act accordingly. You don’t have to see the original plan through for the sake of completing it. You can go ahead and pursue something you’re infinitely more passionate about instead.
Okay, so with that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty, shall we? In what follows, I’ll break down my personal process for planning my quarters in both business and in life!
3. Get Planning!
Step #1: Money
As I share in my blog post on how I plan for the year ahead, after analyzing what is working out for me and what isn’t (strengths vs weaknesses) and also, what opportunities and threats I see that could help or hinder my business’s growth and then spending some time goal setting, I like to look at my revenue goals for the company.
How much money do I want to make? And also, how much money do I NEED to make to cover my costs, leave enough money in the business for new and exciting investments AND pay myself enough to achieve my personal goals?
What I notice quarter by quarter is that my money goals actually get BIGGER. As the year goes on, the more I find myself stretching my targets. We’re all guilty of aiming lower than the bar we’re capable of reaching, so I like to take my quarterly planning sessions as opportunities to aim higher and give myself permission to be bolder, more daring.
Perhaps that should be a focus of yours, too?
Step #2: Sales
After that, I like to double down on what my sales goals are for the coming quarter. I invite you to re-ask yourself how much money you want to make, and how you want to make it. Do you want to sell products or services? Does what you’d originally planned (if it still feels aligned) make sense if your revenue target has risen? Do you need to sell anything else, or anything different, to get that cash in the bank?
Really think about the offers you plan to sell and whether or not it’s going to feel good selling them. If you’re pushed for time, might it be easier for you to sell fewer higher ticket things than more lower ticket things? Or if you’re feeling drained, might you prefer to switch up your strategy, and focus on leveraging the funnel you have in place instead?
Step #3: Marketing
Closely related to sales is marketing, so let’s dive into the details here. If you’re launching, are you clear on your messaging, your methodology, your materials? Or does that piece need a little work? Conversely, if you’ve decided to up the ad spend on a funnel you’ve tried and tested, are your plans reasonable given your current cash flow? Could you optimize what you have in place by switching up the subject lines of your emails to increase opens, or the copy on your page so it’s more conversion-driven?
Don’t forget about the other pieces of the marketing puzzle either, Lovely. To be successful in business you need two main things: audience, and a way of monetizing that audience. Perhaps you need to get more clarity around how you’re going to grow your following over the coming months and build your list?
Also, you have to move people through three stages of a journey before they commit to you, remember. First, you have to make them aware of their problem (in the awareness phase), second, you need to help them see you as a viable solution (in the consideration phase), and third, you have to position yourself as different to and better than your competitors so that working with you or buying what you’re selling is the most logical and rational thing for them to do (commitment phase).
All too often, people focus on the conversion side of things in marketing and fail to realize that you need to be attracting new people and building relationships with them. These people may not actively affect sales and revenue made in this quarter, but what you do in these next three months will make a difference to what you do in the next three months, so please ensure you’re approaching your marketing proactively and strategically.
Step #4: Team
Next up, with all of that considered, do you have the support in place to reach your money, sales, and marketing goals? Maybe you need a copywriter or a graphic designer because you’ve reached a point at which bootstrapping will simply no longer do? Maybe you have a VA who claims to be good at tech, but you’ve noticed that they often overpromise and underdeliver, and what you really need is an integrator, who you’ll pay more for, but who’ll get more done in less time and save you money in the long run?
I actually really recommend auditing your team every quarter to ensure you’ve not only got the right people on it but that they’re playing in position. For example, should your copywriter really be scheduling your emails and social posts, or should that task be taken off them and given to someone more administrative who costs less per hour? Is your VA less detail-oriented than they desire, but has recently upskilled in online business management and is awesome at seeing the bigger picture and breaking your ideas down into smaller, actionable tasks?
When we experience team problems, it doesn’t always mean that someone’s not good enough or that we need to replace them or bring in a new addition. It’s our job as leaders to take the time to get to know our team, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, what they’re good at and not so good at, in order to ensure we’re making the most of them, and that we’re giving them an opportunity to do their best work. “Don’t busy the quarterback by passing them Gatorade” is the quote that comes to mind!
I recommend having your team complete the zone of genius exercise from Dethmer, Chapman, and Klemp’s book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success if you haven’t already, and the ‘Trash, Transfer or Trim’ exercise as well from Mike Michalowicz’ book Clockwork…
They’ll support you in doing ‘less but better’, an essentialist approach I’m working at this year.
– What work do you so love doing that it doesn’t seem like work?
– Which aspects of your work generate the highest ratio of results compared to time spent?
– What do you consistently get positive feedback about in your work and life?
– What do you do better than just about anyone else?
– What do you do that others can do just as well or better?
– What work do you do well though it doesn’t feel totally satisfying?
– What do you consistently get negative feedback about in your work?
– What do you do that just about anyone can do better?
- Write down the approximate time per week you spend on each of the tasks you’re assigned.
- For any that aren’t your zone of genius (or excellence), could you trash them, transfer them or trim them?
- Trash = get rid of all together (e.g. am I getting an ROI from the daily update email you write that no one else on the team seems to read? Identify what needs axing)
- Transfer = assign to someone else more suitable (e.g. if you’re doing something you aren’t good at and don’t love right now, like managing people and projects when you’re more of a do-er than an oversee-er, would that be better actioned by someone else on the team? Might I need to create a role for it?)
- Trim = whittle down (e.g. if blog posts take you 2-3 hrs to write, might it be better to reduce these to biweekly instead of weekly to save money, or should we do that so your time can be spent writing other copy, for email or social media marketing, for instance?)
Remember, no matter how ‘boring’ or ‘dry’ these tasks may seem, they’re setting you up for success in your business (and beyond).
Remind yourself of the freedoms and luxuries you started your business up to afford you. Your business is an incredible source of impact and income, of course, but do not forget that it’s ALSO a vehicle through which you achieve your PERSONAL goals.
Anyway, I hope this blog post helps you, Lovely!
And remember: if you’d like my hands-on support to plan your next quarter, I’m still accepting applications for in-person VIP Days.
(My accelerated coaching experiences for women who want clear plans to execute and the support to get the incredible results she’s craving in life and business.
Both group and 1:1 days are available in luxury locations to help you map out what you need to do to make your deepest desires manifest, in both your business and your life.
They’re filling out fast, and I’d hate for you to miss out on the opportunity to work closely with myself and James.