4TH Quarter Strategies
When October and November come around most companies think of how to wrap up their year and prep for the new year just around the corner. But what are the key focus areas that make the most sense when contemplating 4th quarter strategies?
Our coaching and consulting work have shown us that nearly every company has these 10 strategies to consider:
- HR / staffing / training
- Legal / Compliance / Regulatory
- Sales / Marketing / Trade Shows / Distribution / Vendors / Social Media
- Goals / Accountability / Time and Task Management / Teamwork
- Operations / Logistics / Manufacturing / Productivity
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Force Automation (SFA)
- Administration / The Business part of your Business
- Finance / Budgeting / AR / AP / Funding
- IT / Computers / Connectivity / Web Sites
- Exit Strategies / Estate Preparation / Wealth Preservation
Now that you have a good list to work from what do you do with it? We suggest you start with this list and add anything you feel should be considered from two perspectives.
- What needs to be worked on to wrap up our year?
- What needs strategic planning to get our new year off to a great start?
You can essentially map out a plan in three easy steps:
- Looking at the list above pick out just three to five key areas to focus on during the 4 th quarter. Your focus areas are the more important areas for your business to work on during the 4 th quarter.
- While you are taking care of your company's day-to-day operational needs, your focus areas will get extra attention as you invest a portion of your best resources, because you know that these are the areas that will really help you scale and develop your business.
Each quarter, meet with your leadership team and decide on up to three focus areas for your business for the 4th quarter (or any quarter for that matter).
Potential focus areas might be:
- Increasing your lead generation
- Improving your sales conversions
- Speeding up your collections cycle
- Improving your metrics measurement system
- Utilizing a CRM or SFA program to track all sales activity
- Developing a new product or service
- Progressing on a key project
3. Keep in mind that too many “top” priorities may keep you from having a list of objectives that you can focus on with strong determination. If you have more than 4 to 5 key objectives for the 4th quarter, you will find time to measure progress and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you have hit some milestones along the way. To keep your plan to just one page, we suggest you break down each focus point into a few (up to five) action steps with milestones. While your plan must be detailed enough to guide your actions, it must also not be so detailed that you feel overwhelmed or lose yourself in the piles of details. This can be done if you sit with the team that is going to help you strategize your plans and have them add input to the action plan.
What Needs to be Done to Wrap Up Your Year?
This is key … for each action step, pick a team member to be ultimately responsible for executing the step by a set date. While you can have multiple people contribute to a specific step or steps, you need to pick one person who is tasked with the responsibility and authority to get that step done and done well. We say that this person "owns" the task. This sense of ownership is critical to your success. It's hard to hold someone accountable for a missed milestone if it isn't clear what the milestone was or who was responsible.
If you are a solo-entrepreneur, then we highly recommend you take a look at Lead With Purpose as a way to set goals and track progress. All our clients use this excellent tool and there is no charge for a single user without support coach supervision.
With this structure, the owner doesn't have to do all of the work him or herself—s/he just needs to be responsible for making sure that it gets done in the best way possible.
Two other considerations for the 4th quarter…
- A. The “Holidays” consist of just a few days, not 3 months. Make sure your sales team knows this and does not fall into the pit of end-of-the-year blues. The idea that you can’t reach anyone is just not true. Yes, people who have decision-making authority do take a week off for one or even two holidays but not 90 days to celebrate before New Year and that holiday that also requires key decision makers to be anywhere other than available. Here at Performance Strategies, Inc. we closed two projects during the week before Christmas in 2016. If we can do it you can do it. Get up, dress up and show up.
- The last quarter of the year seems to have some mass hypnotic effect on people that goes like this: “I want to buy a new TV but if I wait until “Black Friday” I can get it for a steal. And if I mention it to anyone in any store anytime two weeks prior to “Black Friday” I’ll get the discount anyway.”
The fact is the 4th quarter is not a time to be discounting anything unless you really do have a warehouse full of Spine Rocker Massage Chairs that need to be moved out at just below your cost to avoid another rent payment on the warehouse! Most companies feel they have no choice other than shaving their profit margin right off their bottom line in order to gain customer interest. Be careful with this thinking. It is not in your longer-term interest to discount simply because everyone else is doing it. This is especially true of service based businesses.
In summary, your 4th quarter comes around every year. It pays to have a plan (say in mid-August to mid-September) to address your biggest concerns. In the meantime, if you feel you might be able to use some coaching in any of the ten areas outlined at the start of this Motivator give us a call at 562- 577-7000 and see what programs we might be able to offer.
Considering the best way to navigate the transition or exit from YOUR business? Start with your trusted business or executive coach. By taking this free 22-question, multiple choice online assessment, you will get a 12-page summary report showing you how prepared you are for such a move. You’ll learn about your preparedness in the areas of financial, planning, revenue and profit, and operations. When you get your report give us a call and we’ll go over it with you at no cost to you. Sometimes it’s a confirmation that you have all your ducks in a row and sometimes it’s a reminder that a few details need your attention. In any case, it’s a great snapshot of your personal business transition or exit readiness. For your FREE assessment and 12-page summary report click here: http://www.exitmap.com/ps-mcg/
Will Robertson, Founder / CEO, Jay McDowell, President / MBA and Lisa Walker, Senior Partner, are doing business as Performance Strategies, Inc. Our offices are located at 1231 E. Dyer Road, Suite 215, Santa Ana, CA 92705. You can reach us 562-577-7000. Our E-Mail addresses: Will@PS-MCG.com and Jay@PS-MCG.com and Lisa@PS-MCG.com
Our consulting and business/executive coaching focus supports leadership, sales, customer service, and operations. Included are sales and management assessment surveys as well as leadership, teambuilding, sales operations, business transition or exit strategies and online goal tracking projects. Our training division offers five programs for your team members. Other associates bring additional disciplines as well. If you have editorial content and would like to be featured in one of our business journal editions, drop us an email with your ideas. We may showcase you in future editions of this business journal.