It's quarterly planning time!
I can barely comprehend that the first quarter of 2022 is almost over. For me, time feels fast and slow. Have you ever experienced that? Like time is moving quickly but there is a level of impatience you can’t escape. As a startup founder, I’m sure you can relate. There's always a next summit to reach and a big vision to inch towards– sometimes it all feels like it can’t happen soon enough.
But here is what I’ve found…
The difference between the companies that make progress versus the teams that flounder and fail are two things: structure and commitment.
And it all starts with goal setting and gaining alignment with your team. I don't care if your team is just you and an intern or you manage a team of a hundred– setting goals and reviewing their progress on a regular basis is vital.
Truly, if you are not doing this simple, important practice you're wasting time and money.
If you want me to guide you step-by-step through this process, you can join my free quarterly planning challenge. When you do, you’ll receive a new lesson each day for one week, that walks you through every step I am about to talk through.
6 Steps for an effective Quarterly Planning Session
1. Review your big vision values and goals
You should have some document that communicates your top-line mission and dream for your company. Anyone who works with you should review this document during onboarding; however, planning time is a great moment to touchstone on this with your team (or even just to remind yourself if you’re working solo). No worries if you don't have this doc prepared, you can simply journal your ideas to get started. The point is that you cannot lose sight of your big vision and in order to do that you must revisit it with some regularity.
2. Dig into the data
Last week, I shared the perfect marketing scorecard. You can go get that for free. It's an amazing tool. But if you don't have good data you've been tracking, now is the time to start. There are great tools, like databox, that can help bring all your data together in one place. Just make sure you have something.
During quarterly planning analyze your metrics. Year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter to spot trends. Where is there a leak in your funnel? If the data is showing a weak spot in your client value journey marketing funnel, your priority should be to fix that immediately.
3. BrainDump All Your Creative Ideas
Once you have a clear picture of the performance of the marketing and the company as a whole, it is time to brainstorm every possible task and project that will move you towards your big vision. This is a great exercise to do with a team. Pose questions where money is no object and shift into a limitless mindset when thinking of these ideas.
4. Group like with like
After you've done a real healthy brain dump on all of the possible projects and tasks that you want to do to move towards your big vision, begin to organize. Group all of the ideas into categories and organize like with like for each task. Ask yourself if the line item is a task that is part of a bigger project or if it's really a separate project on its own.
5. Prioritize Projects
Realistically, we should only be working on two to three big goals, each quarter. I like to live by the rule of tackling two upgrades, and one net new project per quarter. So in this stage, you've grouped liked-with-like, now you need to prioritize your goals and make them clear with a defined outcome. Make them smart goals, which means structuring them with clear outcomes and due dates.
6. Assign Quarterly Goals
Assign a project lead to each goal and create a regular cadence for checking in. You can even have each lead fill out a project template, detailing all the steps and important information for the goal in order to have real ownership. I love my Monday meetings with my teams as a time to touch base about goals and give support.
At the end of the quarter, be sure to evaluate each goal and get feedback from the team on their performance and effectiveness.
Take a listen!👇🏻
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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.