The end of every quarter of the calendar year is an excellent time to reflect upon current performance. This reflection is critical in order to meet or exceed the year’s goals. When this reflection is done after the first quarter, there is still ample time to accomplish the goals that were set for the year. Here are some steps that you can use to complete the reflection process:
Step 1: Identify the goals that you set for the year. Hopefully, you set between one and three key goals for the year. These goals and their associated action plans should be guiding your actions and decisions. It is easier to track the progress of these goals if they are written as SMART goals. If you set goals but did not ensure they were written as SMART goals, tackle that first.
Step 2: Determine how much progress you should have made. Many goals are measured by where you should be at the end of the year, but what does progress look like in April? July? October? Break your overall goal into milestones for the four quarters of the year. For example, if you were aiming for increasing the dollar amount of your sales by 10% by the end of the year, you should expect to increase sales by 2-3% each quarter to meet that goal.
Step 3: Identify whether you did not meet, met, or exceeded your milestones. If you met your milestones, great job! Keep doing what you’re doing! If you did not meet your milestones, it is time to revisit your action plan. Are you doing what you said you were going to do to meet the goal? Are the action steps that you identified working? This is an opportunity to research, regroup, and reorganize your action plan. If you have exceeded your milestones, you may want to reevaluate your goal to see if you were setting the bar too low. Don’t limit yourself by your goal—you can keep pushing to the next level!
Step 4: Define next steps. At this stage, you have to decide if you need to revise your goal, revise your plan, or go back to the drawing board. You may have found that the goal that you set for the year is no longer appropriate based on newly identified needs or opportunities. For example, if you set a goal to secure a certain number of new clients, but new opportunities have enabled you to offer a greater array of services to existing clients, you may change your focus. Use discretion when changing or abandoning goals and certainly don’t give up on a goal because you didn’t make the progress that you thought you would make during a certain time period.
Goal-setting and attainment is the heart of success. Mastering this process will ensure that your business is profitable and sustainable. As you practice this process, you may find these other blog posts helpful:
How to Make Goals Stick
Bouncing Back After Defeat
If you would like support in identifying the needs for your business and how to set goals that will address those needs, contact me for a free consultation!