4th Quarter Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs
Guest post by Michelle Duwe
Drum roll please; hello, quarter-four! Oh, my goodness, quarterly planning is one of my favorite things to do. Let’s go ahead and step through these essential 4th Quarter planning tips and, of course, a 3rd quarter review! Why are these days so important for your online business? Because what you focus on improves. Taking a few hours each quarter to review and plan for the upcoming quarter will get you out of the trenches and help you focus on growing your business.
Schedule Time for 4th Quarter Planning
It’s funny; after working with multiple creatives, you’d think the shock factor would wear off. At any rate, the shock factor never seems to go away when I realize that not everyone loves to sit down and plan. Who knew?
If this is you waving your hand in the air like you just don’t care, hear me now. Please block time on your calendar. As if that’s not enough, you’ll need to show up and do the work for your business and plan your fourth quarter.
Equally, you must set aside enough time to review the previous quarter and plan your next quarter.
At a minimum, block off two hours on your CEO Day to get this done, preferably before the end of the quarter. However, this can be done at any 90 Day increment.
Copy and paste the link for this blog into your calendar event; just saying. (:
Set the tone for fourth-quarter planning.
Now that you’re sitting down to plan grab a cup of coffee, water, or your drink of choice. Also, have a timer handy, you’ll want that. If you don’t have a timer, simply Google the word timer, and one will pop up in the browser. Easy
With fall in full swing, my diffuser has lovely fall scents from Plant Therapy. Not an affiliate link, just a product that I use and love. Running my diffuser while planning is another thing that I do to set a pleasant tone.
Limit your distractions.
Before beginning, turn off all the distractions because it's time to focus on your online business. Let me elaborate, turn off your notifications, put your phone in do not disturb mode, and close all but your needed applications and extra browser windows.
Close all the open tabs that do not relate to your 4th quarter planning.
Start with Reflection
Now, this is important for your quarterly review and planning. Begin reflecting on where you’ve been in the past quarter. You need to look back to look forward.
I can almost hear you thinking, what the heck do I reflect on? No problem, I’ve got you.
What worked really well?
What are the areas of improvement?
Umm, total feedback – not doing that again!
Woohoo, review your win jar (in case no one has told you lately, YOU’RE AMAZING, just sayin’).
Did you achieve your goals last quarter? If not, why?
Are you on track to hit your yearly goals?
Think back over the previous quarter, the last month, the current year, and the entire length of time as an online entrepreneur.
Let's set the timer for five minutes, maybe ten minutes, whatever works for you. Be sure to grab your journal or notebook and get to writing.
Do a brain dump.
Stay with me now, I want you to do a mind sweep and get all of your thoughts that are distracting you out on that paper.
To begin with, this provides for a clear mind while you’re planning.
With a mind sweep, it lets your brain know that all your thoughts are in a safe place, and you don't need to worry about them while we're moving forward in the quarterly review, and your next quarter planning.
Revisit Your Yearly Vision
Moving on with our review, what's your vision? Pull that out and read it.
What if you do not have a vision? Now seems like a perfect time to write one out.
Does your vision feel in alignment with you still? Do you feel like, oh, yeah, that's my vision!
That's exactly where I'm going.
Is your vision that you created when you first started your business, is that where you’re still headed as you've matured as a business owner?
Bottom line, does your vision still feel in alignment with you? Great.
Now, I want you to write out your vision, what are your three-year and one-year visions?
If it's the same, beautiful. Write it out exactly the same and step into your future self that already is living the vision of your business.
Pause and set your timer for about five minutes.
What is your vision for the next 90 days? Pause and spend time tapping into your vision of how the next 90 days will go in your business.
What are your goals?
What are the goals that you want to achieve for the next quarter, the next six months, the next year, whatever it is, you can achieve them!
This is where I really want you to focus. What is your goal for the next quarter?
Now, this is important, what do you want to accomplish in the next quarter that will push you towards your one-year goal?
Here’s what I mean, ask yourself if what you want to accomplish in the next quarter will directly impact your one-year goal. Therefore, pushing your business toward your vision.
If it does, in this case, good job!
However, if not ask yourself, why am I trying to accomplish this goal when it is not in alignment with my vision?
As a follow-up question, would achieving this goal make you feel like you’re living your good life?
Get that timer going! You may want a bit more time for this one.
The next thing, what do you want more of in your life and business?
For example, would you be on cloud nine if you were to do this every day in your life and business? What is it? What do you want more of in your life and business? That's going to make you feel like this feels wonderful.
Now, it’s important to know what you want to do less in your life and business. The problem is there are things that you're doing that you don't need to be doing that drain your energy.
What are those? Go ahead and write them out. Here’s why that’s essential those draining tasks will be the items we look at potentially outsourcing to somebody else that would not find it draining.
And the best part is it will preserve your energy for the things that only you can do in your business as an entrepreneur.
Those tasks that are draining your energy and focus need to get off your plate if you have any hopes of growing your business to six figures.
What is that? What can you outsource? (Click here to schedule a consult)
Circling back to your goals, what would make you jump up and down with joy if you were to actually achieve them? What would that be?
Don’t forget what your top three personal are, financial, and business goals that you have for the next quarter.
Here’s how to filter your goals
Now, this is the kicker; this is the goal filtering question I ask my clients.
Read those goals you just wrote down for your life, business, and finance.
Looking at those goals and asking yourself, are you committed? Are you committed to those goals? By committing, are you willing to devote two hours a day to achieving those goals? If not, they are not meaningful to you.
Map out important dates
Time to pull out the calendar. What dates do you need to plan around?
Here’s what I mean, for me, my sister is getting married in November I’ll be out of the office for eight business days right before Black Friday. You guessed it; I’ll need to ensure my Black Friday campaigns are ready to go before I head out of the office.
Consider this when planning out how to reach your goal.
You’ll reverse engineer from the end date. You need to understand your runway. Having two weeks out of the office for a vacation will play a huge factor in getting stuff done.
Block all the time you’ll be out of the office. You can use stickers or wasabi tape in your paper planner to make it fun.
Important Kid Events
Breakdown the Goal
Here’s how it works: for the goal to be a success, there must be a commitment to follow through.
This is plain and simple; you can hope to reach your goal all day. Here’s the bottom line, if you’re not committed to creating a plan, following through, and taking action, you will not have success. This is accountability, Friend!
Fortunately, a simple solution is breaking down the goal into a plan by figuring out who, what, and when.
Digging in and figuring out what needs to be done, who will get the work done, and when it needs to be done. You may need to figure out the where, too if it needs a physical location.
The final thing is, what is your business pulse? What I mean, what are the numbers telling you about your business? Do you have a healthy, thriving business? Or do you have areas that need to be focused on in the next quarter?
Do that now if you’re not tracking your numbers weekly or monthly. What gets measured gets improved. Here are a few common stats.
Number of Clients
Highlights of how to plan your fourth quarter.
Looking back is the best way to move forward.
Are you still in alignment with your vision?
What are you actually committed to doing?
Add all the important out-of-office dates to your calendar
Create a plan and commit to your success
How do you know you’ve improved without having a business pulse with all your numbers?
Go get ’em, tiger! You’ve got this.
Schedule time on your calendar for your NEXT quarterly review
Michelle Duwe - Miss Task