Big Picture or Strategic Thinking is useless without it’s Tactical, Action Led Counterpart.
This is the age-old balancing act of marrying long term vision with short term performance.
It’s the tight rope we walk as entrepreneurs and as business leaders.
We need to invest in the long term but we must generate the short term financial successes in order to fund that long term investment.
That’s why I start every client engagement with a conversation around Mission and Vision.
This is something that must be expressed in writing and articulated clearly.
I’m very deliberate when I say that it must be expressed in writing because when it’s expressed only verbally it can get misinterpreted, adjusted, and all too often lost in the daily battlefield of entrepreneurship and business.
I’ve seen it many times. People go off course simply because they didn’t write a destination on their own map.
That’s of course, if they brought a map with them.
But when they do… They get there Faster… Every Time…
Let me Share with you My Quarterly Plan Recipe
I like to keep things simple and if there’s a recipe that I can create and apply to a given situation then I’ll happily adopt it. This is my recipe for Quarterly Plan Success that is both strategic and tactical. I use it every quarter… simply because it works. I invite you to steal it!
The Quarterly Plan Recipe Explained
Strategic Choices +
- One Annual Financial Goal
- One Quarterly Milestone or Lever
- One Monthly Focus
Tactical Choices +
- Three Months
- Three Objectives; Your Focus In Each Month.
- Three Actions in Each Month
Make Adjustments + Get Results!
This approach keeps you connected to your annual goal which in turn is inspired by your Long Term Vision for the Business.
A vision that’s measurable and has a defined date attached to it – usually 5 – 10 years in advance.
This is ultimately your destination on the map we spoke about earlier.
So, Let’s Break that Down even More.
7 Steps to Building an Effective Quarterly Plan
To make things a little easier for you we’re giving you access to our Quarterly Plan Template which you can download for free and use every quarter to drive your business success.
Print it Out and Follow our Seven Steps and Watch as you get greater Clarity not only every Quarter but every Month too!
Ground Your Quarterly Plan with your Financial Target for the Year
Note where you are at this point in the annual target and what needs to happen this quarter to keep the momentum going or correct any shortfalls.
A Clearly Stated Milestone To Be Achieved For This Quarter.
We call this a lever. It’s something that will take your business to the next level. It’s what needs to happen in 5 words or less for this quarter to be successful e.g. Launch X to Y Market, Get Conversion Ready, Build Strategic Marketing Process, Open New York Office etc. If you’ve already done your Annual Plan you’ll know what this is. If not, set it now.
One Focused Objective Every Month
Your Quarterly Milestone will guide you here. Will it be on your product, your process, your customers or something else? One month could be about sales readiness and the next could be about testing the funnel for those sales. The more connected your thinking is, the greater flow you will achieve over the course of the year.
Three Months every Quarter
Connect the thinking around each. Know that you have three months to achieve your milestone so it’s important that you spread the load.
Three Measurable Objectives
When we set objectives around achieving milestones, we get specific and we get measurable. How can you make the focused objective you set in point 3 above measurable. What date will it be achieved and what’s the measure of success? If your objective in this month is to create a content generation process; how many pieces will be released each month, around what topic pillars etc.
Three Tasks for Every Objective
Remember there’s also the day to day running of your business to be done so don’t put too much on your plate. Make this achievable. What three things need to happen to achieve your objective this month?
And Lastly Adjust
Nobody knows everything and we certainly don’t know what insights you’ll learn along the way. What I can guarantee is that if you look hard enough and listen close enough, your customers will help you adjust your path.
Remember adjusting your path doesn’t mean your vision or your goals will change, you just might need to take a different route or expand your thinking. Stuff will come up. You are simply adjusting based on new information.
NOW OFF YOU GO…
As you can see this easy to follow recipe for your quarterly plan will help you create that balance between your long term vision and short term successes. The FREE Quarterly Plan Template makes it that little bit easier too so make sure to download it.
Let me know how you get on and if you’ve any questions please don’t hesitate to post them here. I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
And if you’d like to know more about how to build a marketing strategy that takes your business to the next level then check out Get Strategic Get Results™. This is our 12 week signature program that shows you how to put all the ideas expressed in this article into action, one transformational step at a time.
I love to work with businesses, both large and small to help them create sustainable business dreams... Brand and Strategy are at the heart of everything I do and that gets rolled out digitally and across any channel where your customer lives.