If you are a business owner who took time to set business goals for this year, it’s crunch time. The fourth quarter of the year starts October 1, and you officially have 3 months left to meet those goals. It’s a rare person who checks in on their progress against their goals at this stage of the year, but if you do, you have a real opportunity to reach them.
Step 1 to Reaching Your Yearly Business Goals: Run Projections
The first thing to do is look at your sales pipeline and project your revenue against the goals you set for the quarter and for the year. Run projections to see what your cash position and your tax liabilities will be. You do this now to ensure you have the time to adjust and end the year well (or at least better than you would have). It is particularly important to take time in October/November to project your tax liability. That way, if it is higher than you expected, you still have time to reduce that liability or make plans to cover it.
NOTE: If your finance department cannot deliver these reports to you, you’ve just uncovered a significant weakness that is hindering your performance as a business. You will need to address this right away, because you cannot make good decisions without timely accurate data.
Step 2: Compare Your Projections to Your Goals
Now compare these numbers to your goals for the year. Ask the following questions:
- How close are we to each goal?
- If we are behind on one or more of our business goals, why is that? Did something unexpected happen or were our expectations off?
- Is this something we can make up? Consider the effects of seasonality if that is relevant to your business.
- If yes, how? What do you need to do and in what time frame?
Step 3 to Reaching Your Yearly Business Goals: Take Action
Some of the actions you can take could include:
- Increase your business expenses by spending more on the business
- Reduce your profits by contributing more to your retirement plans.
- Mitigate business losses by delaying business expenses to the next year
- Increase revenues by:
✔️ Focusing on collections and getting invoices paid
✔️ Running a sale (which also can decrease stale inventory)
✔️ Offering incentives for potential customers to buy sooner
✔️ Creating contests to encourage sales team to be more proactive with their prospects
What If You Didn’t Set Goals?
As mentioned already, you can always run projections on expected sales and expenses, even in the absence of goals. Doing so at the beginning of the fourth quarter gives you time to make adjustments that allow you to end the year in a better place than you would have.
We also recommend taking some time to set goals for the next year. In our next article, we’ll talk about how to set goals, what different types of goals you may want to consider, and how to measure your progress against those goals.
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