As small business owners, especially us solopreneurs, it’s easy to become swept away with the day-to-day running of our businesses. Before we know it, we are at the end of the year wondering how it ran away from us. Springing your small business into the next quarter is a way of giving yourself a little space to be able to catch your breath. It can give you a chance to reflect on everything that has happened so far, giving yourself the chance to consciously chart and plant the seeds for positive growth, in your business and personally, for the next twelve weeks.
Reflecting on the past quarter
A new quarter brings the opportunity to take a look at our small businesses, and life, with fresh eyes. To start though, we need to reflect on what we have achieved so far.
To do this, you’ll need to gather all sorts of information to give you the bigger picture. Bring together your stats – such as sales, social media engagement, website views, new subscribers and any other metric you use to measure success in your business. This will give you a concrete overview of what is working and what is not.
It’s not all about metrics either. Now is the time to see what areas of your marketing are working and driving clients and sales your way, what content is working and why. It’s also about focusing on what you’ve loved working on in your business and seeing if that correlates with sales and customer satisfaction.
Don’t forget to check in with yourself too. What challenges have you and the business faced over the last twelve weeks? How has this impacted on both you and your business? What resources or support can you put in place to minimise the impact of these in the future? What self-care worked, if you did any at all.
Now you have a solid overview of the last quarter – what next? Well, there are several questions to ask yourself:
- Are you where you expected to be?
- What areas of your business are flourishing?
- Have you exceeded or missed what you had planned?
- Where are you now and where do you want to go next? Do these match the annual goals you set yourself at the beginning of the year?
Answering these questions will lead you nicely to the next step – to look at the potential new shoots for business growth.
New shoots for growth
Being in business is about enjoying what you do. What areas of your business are you excited about moving forward? What new opportunities have presented themselves? What areas do you want to grow in your business? How much money do you want to make? What will success look like? Do these also align with the annual goals you set at the beginning of the year?
It’s easy to become overzealous and over-estimate what we can realistically achieve and end up overwhelmed. Aim to focus on two to three main goals.
You also need to plan the more practical aspects of running your business. In other words, what actions and steps do you need to plant today to see your goals come to fruition?
These can range from deciding what content you need to create to what marketing you need to put in place to promote, say, a launch you have planned in the next quarter. Give yourself the space to figure out what resources and help you will need to put these things into place.
Summer is on the way
It’s not too far ahead to plan for summer either. How can you maintain flexibility and momentum with the often slower pace of the summer season? It’s an opportunity to plan and prepare yourself for the jobs and tasks when activity in sales and client contact may quieten down, if that is how your business works.
It’s also the time to think about giving yourself enough breathing room to enjoy the summer season. To book in your summer holidays, days out and time with your family that will give you a chance to rest and recharge in order to come back refreshed for the next twelve weeks.
Make springing into the next quarter a habit
Springing your small business into the next quarter, planning your next twelve weeks in business, will help keep you on track and focused on what you want to achieve. It’s one of those tasks though that requires consistency.
Block a morning out in your diary. Take yourself off to your favourite place, whip out your yearly planner and start the process. Open up your favourite calendar or planner and book in this quarter’s planning session and also the next one. Then map out the business and personal commitments you have identified above into both weekly plans and daily actions.
Intention is all well and good, and planning is essential, but do you need a friendly nudge to take the necessary action? Think of ways you can get the accountability you need to move your goals and business forward. You don’t need to do it alone.
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