Feel Scattered? Quarterly Small Business Planning Keeps You On Track


Although essential for business growth, an overarching 3 — 5 year strategic plan for your small business can be cumbersome. As entrepreneurs performing in a “distraction economy,” it’s easy to lose focus of what needs to be accomplished “now” to reach the strategic milestones of the long-range strategic plan. That’s why small business planning conducted quarterly is essential to keep you focused and on track.

Small business planning conducted quarterly accomplishes two critical objectives for small business entrepreneurs:

  • it establishes focus for the upcoming three months, and
  • allows you to realign or readjust your planning practices.

Good business planning habits quickly spiral out of control without routine check-ins and check-ups on your progress.

Are you ready to focus your efforts? Here are the seven fundamental steps to small business planning conducted quarterly:

1. Allocate sufficient time. Given the vision range of 3 months, you want to allow adequate time to analyze and plan for your next steps. Although the time needed for the business planning process varies from business to business, assigning 6-8 hours for proper review and planning is common. This can be accomplished during one sitting or by scheduling an hour each morning. Some small business owners find it helpful to get away from their regular work environment for business planning conducted quarterly for uninterrupted strategic thinking.

2. Evaluate results from the previous quarter. Audit your previous quarter’s goals and results to avoid repeating strategic errors. This provides insight into what’s working and what’s not working. If you don’t know your metrics, you can’t grow them.

3. Refine tactics. Based on your breakdown of the previous quarter’s results, hone procedures or approaches to generate greater productivity and results over the next three months.

4. Identify personal and business commitments. To achieve a balance between your personal and business life, evaluate both personal and professional commitments for the upcoming quarter. This provides a template for ongoing business planning that occurs monthly & weekly.

I add “projected hours” to each commitment. It may sound over the top, but it gives me a clear sense of what can be achieved given the time available to meet my commitments.

5. Evaluate, refine, and upgrade commitments. Small business planning conducted quarterly provides an opportunity to audit ongoing commitments. Are there obligations that need to be renegotiated to free your time for more productive, goal-achievement work?

For instance, a regularly attended networking event does not produce what you intend. The quarterly business planning process allows you to decide if you’ll continue to attend the event using refined tactics to improve results or cancel completely.

To those entrepreneurs that shrink from what seems a radical idea as “canceling” a regularly scheduled networking event under the premise of “what if,” let me say that when we are not selective and strategic about our time, energy, and money commitments, our business stagnates.

6. Identify and allocate resources. With a clear understanding of your goals and promises for the upcoming quarter, ascertain the time, money, people, and knowledge, including new information or skills needed, to fulfill your commitments.

7. Set approximate time frames. Determine the estimated time frame for launching the initiatives identified for achievement during the next three months. Be sure to enter them into your calendar so they don’t get lost in the flurry of day-to-day business. You will refer to them when conducting monthly business planning.

Although it’s challenging to do what’s best rather than what’s convenient or comfortable, the resources required to get you back on course once you’ve lost your focus are far greater. The strategy of small business planning conducted quarterly is critical for your business growth. It keeps you focused and on track.

Are you ready to get a jump start on your quarterly planning? Schedule your complimentary strategy consultation today! The first 30 minutes are on us!

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Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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