Don’t wait until December to revisit your company’s goals! Instead, have quarterly meetings where you check in with your employees and their progress, make sure your team has what they need to move forward, and everyone is walking towards the same direction.
Regardless of the size of your company, or how old it may be, quarterly meetings need to be incorporated into your planning.
As we continue breaking down the Business Hierarchy of Needs from the book Fix This Next, we’ve reached one of the last steps: quarterly dynamics. If you haven’t listened to the episode yet, we recommend you keep reading to learn some tips on how to transform your objectives into a reality with efficient quarterly planning.
Why quarterly sessions are crucial to success
Amalie: Today we’re going to talk about quarterly dynamics, and this is the second to last step in the hierarchy of needs, and it’s really important. But something I want to say before we dive in is that all of these things are important to think about and to keep in mind as your business is growing. Just because quarterly dynamics is later or higher in the hierarchy of needs, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing quarterly planning or quarterly dynamics in your business from the very beginning.
Janine: That’s a good point. Remember, this is legacy where you as a person may be exiting the company in some form or another, and it’s meant to go on and follow the vision without you; you may be selling it, you may be just hiring your own CEO for it and moving on to your next project or whatever. But the idea is that the business needs to still be able to take a look at itself and its goals and where it’s going with the new person who’s in charge.
Amalie: Even if you haven’t done a leadership turnover, you, as the business owner, are leading the charge, you are setting the vision from the top down. With quarterly dynamics, you’re at a place where your sales are strong, your profit is predictable, you have mastered all the needs at the order level.
I also really wanted to point out something he said that applies to every business, no matter the size, is that every part of your business must be able to adjust dynamically yet cohesively to the greater organization. And so, even in a small business where you maybe have five people, ultimately, all the pieces of marketing and your sales and your internal operations, and all of those things have to be able to dynamically change, they have to remain flexible, but they also have to work cohesively in order to move the business forward.
So if your marketing is great, and you’re getting sales but you don’t have the infrastructure to manage all those things, to process the orders, to deliver on those things, the team members to be able to support you, ultimately it’s gonna crumble. Everything’s gonna end up crumbling.
Real life examples of why businesses need quarterly planning
Janine: And we’d really like to dig down into the practical part. There’s that thing where more businesses die of indigestion. That’s where you think “oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the problem of all these sales coming in”, but they can destroy your business, if you can’t deliver, it destroys your reputation. And that’s very difficult to recover from, and not just smaller businesses growing to be larger. There’s this epic example of Aloha Airlines that bought a superbowl commercial one year. So that’s a massive ad spend for one day, right? But they didn’t have the customer support to field the phone calls that they got, it was a massive success, and they couldn’t handle it. So they weren’t able to capitalize on the investment in the ad spend and didn’t get the ROI on it that they should have, because they weren’t prepared for the response to it.
Amalie: You need the internal planning, so the person that’s in charge of operations to be communicating with the person that’s putting the marketing plan, is running the ads, even the sales team, all those people need to be in communication. And if you have a smaller team, and you have one person doing multiple things, you and that person need to still communicate, because you need to think about all of the ways that your business will be affected.
So each department they each need to do their own planning, and then they need to come together as a whole and do the planning to make sure that everyone’s on the same page.
Individual areas of the business need to have their own quarterly plan, and it needs to be laid out with dates of when things will get accomplished and things like that, but then the whole group needs to come together to make sure that all those pieces are working together, and that everyone’s on the same page. Then you need to track it, there needs to be milestones and check ins throughout that three month period as you’re implementing whatever that plan is.
Janine: If you don’t know your numbers you don’t know your business. So all the metrics that you should be tracking all along, quarterly get togethers is a great time to do that.
Amalie: In the quarterly is when you actually put the plan in place, but then that monthly and weekly meetings are when you’re looking at the progress. That’s where you have to change the knobs a little bit, maybe need to back off on one or increase on another. But the quarterly plan is where all the people come together with the plan, get on the same page, get the milestones in place.
If you’re the business owner, and you have a small team, involving the rest of your team in the quarterly planning is so important, because it gives you outside perspectives on what to implement, what to do. That’s when you really want to get the ideas and look, “okay, what worked in the last three months, what didn’t work? What do we need to change? What are some new ideas, some fresh perspectives in there?” and then getting the perspective of the people that actually do the things on the front lines, doing the sales, you know, running the ads, make them report to you on what worked for them, and what didn’t.
Janine: You should be able to say what you want to have happen and they should know how to make that happen, or raise their hand for what kind of help they need in order to make that happen. And that’s what your job is, to give them the support they need to make it happen.
Quarterly is a great time to do a Fix This Next assessment, just to see, where’s the slowest point of what is going on? So there’s the objective stuff, that is the metrics and everything but getting to the people side of it, especially back to what we were talking about at the beginning, when if there’s an issue with sales or delivery. And you’re having to ask people to slow down so everything is moving forward together. When you have to ask a person or a department to slow down, you need to consider where’s the incentive? Because if you have contractors, people who are working hourly, if you have salespeople on commission plants, you’re literally asking them to take a pay cut because something’s not working right.
Amalie: I think that in order to move forward, again, all those pieces need to be cohesive. So it’s not just putting a campaign in place, but it’s also ensuring that the team is prepared, doing the quarterly reviews that’s all built into the schedule, right into the battle rhythm of your business, and the departments or the the people that are in charge of the areas in your business will start to understand that it’s a schedule, so they’ll start preparing for it, they’ll start getting ready.
Also facilitating the open communication between different areas and departments within the business, because as they see something happening, they need to be able to communicate to the other area. So you as the leader is putting out the vision. And then the mid level leaders are then continuously putting it out, but then also communicating horizontally as to, “what’s going on? How’s it working?” and being able to make changes that they need to make, because you’ve empowered them to make the changes that they need to without having to ask you or the CEO constantly.
Amalie: Quarterly planning is the perfect time to bring an outside person in as a consultant, that’s what Janine and I do. That’s how we support business owners as we come in, give them the outside perspective on what’s happening inside their business, and help them put the plans together for the next steps, for example, what do they need to anticipate? Are they going to need to hire new people? Are they going to need to get more inventory? We can come in, and take this Fix This Next framework and figure out what needs to be focused on and how to plan for it. So quarterly planning is a perfect time to bring in an outside person to help you get that fresh perspective and help you get these plans in place.
And that’s it for today! We hope this interview has been as helpful to you as it was to us. See you on the next episode!
To listen to the full episode click here. https://amalieshaffer.com//podcast/
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