I Hate 4th Quarter

Yes, here we are—that scary time of year! No, not Halloween, or Black Friday, or even the madness of the shopping…’s that dreaded fourth quarter of the year.  The time of year when you realize that goals haven’t been attained, quotas not made, and tax season looms.

I recently heard a business owner say that and I had to wonder, why? The fourth quarter should be one of rejoicing, breathing a sigh of relief because your goals were reached or are within sight, quotas are on track, and you are prepared for your accountant.  Okay, so maybe that is in the perfect world.  That’s not the way it is in our world where desired quotas are not met; where clients drag their feet on signing contracts (or decide not to sign at all); where contracts get cancelled mid-stream; where parents/children get ill and take our focus off our business; where business plans didn’t get written or implemented.

As a consultant, I encourage my clients to not only to have a business plan but to also have a plan to review it monthly.  In doing so, adjustments can be made, where possible, to keep the business on the right track.

While it may be too late to make all of your goals, it is never too late to review your plans.  Start now reviewing your year – month by month – to see what obstacles you encountered and how you responded.  Did you react? Or did you have a contingency plan in place?  A well thought out comprehensive strategic plan will take into account the various scenarios that a business may face and how to respond appropriately.  Although there will always be the unknown, by reviewing your past, you may see a pattern emerge that will enable you to draft a plan that includes solutions to problems that could occur. 

Last month, we discussed that every strategy, every game plan needs to be adaptable.  The market and the environment change, and a company must be able to read those changes and recalibrate strategy to fit a fluid situation.  The business environment is littered with the wreckage of companies who couldn’t adapt and didn’t survive. (Missed that blog? It is available under Blogs and titled: Strategic Planning: A Process to Success.

Take a deep breath and relax.  In the spirit of the holidays, look back at your year with a thankful heart and you may see more that was positive than was negative.  Goals can be reset; plans can be adjusted; attitudes can change; remembering the good that has occurred will help you develop a plan that is focused on the positive aspects of your business and how you will move it forward.

And, a shameless plug: we can help you develop a strategic plan that is right for you and your business; not a boilerplate plan that doesn’t mesh with you, your company, your goals.  Don’t wait until January to develop a plan.  Go into the New Year knowing that you are prepared for the bumps in the road.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!