It is common for business owners to have extravagant visions for the next year or have goals set for five years down the line. You want to have things to work towards and it instils confidence when you can see that far ahead. However, it can also leave you feeling overwhelmed; not because the goals were unrealistic. But because you lacked the proper strategy to help you get there. While ambition will keep you pushing forwards, it can quickly become hard to keep up with. That’s why we suggest looking a little closer to home and taking it one step at a time with 90-day planning. A strategy to get you working in smaller, more manageable chunks.
This doesn’t just impact you. Your employees can become confused and lack the vision that enables them to work productively. They need a clear pathway that shows them the direction the company is moving in. 69% of employees are more likely to stay with you for three years if the onboarding process is carried out efficiently. So, by making the future crystal clear and offering them ways to help the company achieve targets, they will understand your outlook from the start. Not only will they be more confident in carrying out their role – they will be more able to do so.
What is 90-day planning?
Quite often, any written plans created by a business will get forgotten about until a year later. By then we are not always on target and have probably forgotten about some of the things we were supposed to do along the way. This means that the strategy didn’t work and wasn’t implemented properly. However, taking the time to look ahead just to the next quarter will give you clear and achievable targets to work towards over three months. It is long enough to give you time to put new projects in place or make changes, but not so long that people lose sight of the outcome and divert their attention elsewhere.
This is really important in hitting long term goals because employees will stay on track and motivated. For most, a five-year target is out of reach and many will expect to leave the business before even getting close. Instead, you can follow the same formula each quarter to ensure you’re doing everything you need to. It’s much more manageable and will keep you on track. Let’s look at other ways 90-day planning can see you reach your business goals.
Become more adaptable
It is unrealistic to expect that a long term plan will go off without a hitch. Whether internal or external, there is sure to be different factors that throw a spanner in the works every now and then. This just goes hand in hand with the ever-changing environment of the business world. When we look too far into the future, we often get set in our ways and find it difficult to overcome obstacles. A lot can happen in one year – targets can change, along with people’s priorities. Instead, we need to be pushing for people to take responsibility and keep up with change.
Three-month goals allow everyone to hold themselves accountable for each task and stay motivated towards that short term target. As well as this, it gives you room to adapt to new trends or other changes within your business. It’s far easier to make small changes to short term goals as they can be implemented quickly, with little impact on the people responsible. Don’t forget that your employees will expect to problem solve from time to time, so it won’t always fall on you to enforce these new approaches.
Instead of getting disheartened with how little progress you’re seeing towards your yearly targets, implement 90-day planning and see quick, valuable goals being hit every quarter. Every little helps in the journey so give yourself something to be proud of when you look back in a year’s time. You’ll see all of the effort that was put in to get you there and can celebrate little wins as you go along. It will prove to you what impact everyone has on the company because you can see the progress being made.
Don’t make everyone wait a year or longer to celebrate their hard work. They put in the time every day and are constantly influencing the success of the business. Smaller goals will build everybody’s confidence in reaching that all-important long term result and so it might actually come around quicker with everyone working efficiently. Not only that, you will notice a huge difference in the targets you set for yourself because it will become clear how much more you are capable of each quarter. Working more productively means setting more challenging goals and moving forwards at a faster pace.
This is a huge flaw in a lot of company strategies. We don’t often take time out of the day to look back on how far we have come and what we have achieved already. It’s also crucial that we approach employees with feedback and updates to keep them in the loop. Each quarter, think about having a meeting where you review the past target(s) for that three month period. Have a conversation about what went well, what might need to be done differently for the next quarter and what suggestions other people may have to help achieve the targets that you didn’t hit.
This way, you are in the right place to set your next goals in light of what happened. You can raise the bar and let employees know how well they are doing. This lets you set challenges to push their capabilities. Similarly, you may realise that more time is needed for certain projects or that people need more support. Whichever way it goes, it gives you a clear vision of where you are along that path to five years time. Stay in control and manage your business effectively with 90-day planning.
How to implement a quarterly plan
Before you jump into the first three months, you need to understand where you see the business in the long term. When you have your ambitious goal in place, it is time to start thinking about all the things you need to do to get there. These are going to be small, specific targets that when pulled together, get you moving towards that end result. As we have mentioned already, there may be factors that throw you off course slightly – but you should be equipped to deal with that when you have smaller goals. But what’s next?
Step 1 – Choose 3 core targets
When you start out with this new roadmap, keep yourself on track with just a few core targets – keeping it easy to manage. These should all be SMART:
Each one can be based around a different department or aspect of business, but make sure they work well together too. Otherwise, they can become detached from the bigger picture. Think about a logical place to start and what is going to kick off the strategy in the most logical way.
Step 2 – Get everyone involved
Just remember, you have three months to achieve these and will need to assign tasks to your managers and employees. So get everyone involved in setting them and discuss what needs to be done by each department to ensure people are being held accountable.
See how achievable everyone believes this is and whether they think 90-day planning is a realistic time frame going forward. The better understanding everyone has of the targets – the better equipped they will be to work towards them. It’s a great way to get feedback from employees and make sure expectations are well understood.
Step 3 – Allocate Responsibilities
Finally, you need to break down each of these goals into actionable sections. This is where your managers will allocate individuals to certain tasks or even departments to cover certain aspects of the project. When you make sure everyone is playing a part, you are demonstrating the importance of teamwork. It should be the whole company working together to give you the best chance of hitting targets and being able to set more challenging ones next time.
Once a task is broken down, it becomes measurable and clear to each person what the expectations are on their part. They can take responsibility and track progress along the way. It also means things can be adapted as you go – taking into account any struggles or industry changes. Everything will be easy to keep an eye on this way and no one will lose focus.
It is time to commit?
90-day planning is implementable right away. It gives you a clear breakdown of everything you need on your way to that 5 or 10-year goal. We don’t want you to throw away that vision. Nor are we saying it is unrealistic. This is simply a strategy to help you get there a little bit easier and faster. It gives you breathing space and time to evaluate your targets as you go along.
Get the whole team involved in setting specific, measurable goals that everyone believes in. This is the key to tackling that overwhelming feeling many business owners know all too well. Keep on top of things and give yourself some little wins to celebrate along the way. You’ll see more progress than you realise.
With over 30 years in sales and marketing, I can transform your business into one that is thriving through the use of innovative tactics, proven to provide impressive results. If you need any advice or want some support in setting up your new goal strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Click here to discover more about what I do, or click here to get in touch today and let’s discuss how I can help you and your business grow.
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