CEOs, it’s time to take a look at how your business manages strategic planning. As extreme as it may seem, the truth is that ineffective strategic planning can make or break your goals for the year.
As a business consultant with over a decade of experience helping brands achieve their goals, one thing I’ve learned about business planning is the effectiveness of revisiting your planning process each quarter to make necessary tweaks in the face of an ever-changing market.
This is a planning process known as quarterly planning. Instead of focusing solely on the year in full (and potentially forgetting to revisit your goals until next year’s annual plan), quarterly planning requires you to strategically break your annual plan into four different quarters consisting of three-month periods that end on the last day of the third month.
Q1: January, February, March
Q2: April, May, June
Q3: July, August, September
Q4: October, November, December
Why quarterly planning works so well
Following a 90-day plan is much more approachable and manageable than following a 365-day plan. Quarterly plans allow for completion of short-term goals that will help drive the company’s long-term goals. This process not only fosters motivation and accountability amongst team members, but it also allows you as CEO to assess team performance and overall productivity.
How quarterly planning takes place
Typically, your quarterly planning will take place in a meeting that is attended by your entire team, from execs to management to staff. This ensures that everyone has a chance to shape the plan, contribute their opinions, and understand how their role fits into the planning for the upcoming quarter.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to hold a “pre-planning” session with a few key players in your organisation about a month prior to the larger planning meeting. This way you’re able to come to the meeting with clear objectives so the rest of your team knows what to expect from the conversation.
If you’re a solopreneur, this process will take place solo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make an event out of it. Carve out time in your calendar to sit down and plan for the quarter, consulting with a trusted mentor or business friend if need be.
How to nail your quarterly planning in 2022
Each time a new quarter nears and you are ready to begin your quarterly planning, keep the following tips in mind to make the process as seamless and uncomplicated as possible:
Divide your larger annual goals into smaller, more targeted goals that can be taken on in three months or less. Try working backwards from the finish line — what needs to happen before you can reach your big goal?
Before you can think about planning for the next quarter, you have to review the most recent quarter that has passed in order to accurately project business needs for the coming 90 days. This way, you’ll know if your current strategies are effective and where potential improvements can be made.
Select three main areas to focus on for the upcoming quarter. These should be things that are essential in helping you reach your longer-term business goals.
To avoid getting bogged down in the planning stages, identify specific actions that will be necessary in order to achieve your short-term goals for the quarter.
Quarterly goals are more “time sensitive” than other goals. As such, you should be sticking to a specific timeline throughout the quarter.
Success will look different for each of your focus areas. Be sure that you and your team know what the criteria for success is for each focus area — keep this information in a document that you can refer back to if need be.
Quarterly planning can make a massive difference in the way your team approaches goal-setting and achievement. If this sounds like it would be beneficial to your business, I encourage you to book a strategy call with me to discuss how we can up-level your 2022 quarterly planning process together.
If you’re looking for more long-term, high-touch support, you can also learn more about joining the waitlist for my business consulting and coaching containers.