September is a busy time for most people. Vacations are over, children are heading back to school, and holiday season kicks in with Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas. Our calendars begin to fill up with all kinds of events and gatherings.
September is also the start of the final quarter for most businesses. It’s the chance to finish the year strong. Some industries, such as retail, see Q4 as the “make or break” quarter for the year.
Here are five strategies you should follow in order to make sure that the fourth quarter is a success and provides momentum moving into next year.
1. Evaluate your goals.
You did set goals for your business at the start of the year, right? If so, have you looked at them since? September is a great time to pull out those goals and see how close you are to hitting the target.
If you’re on track, great job. Keep doing what you’re doing! If you’ve already hit your targets, consider some new numbers for the final four months of the year. If you’re far from the results you had hoped to achieve, consider why and make the necessary adjustments in order to get back on track.
2. Set a fourth quarter priority.
Notice that I didn’t say priorities. How can we have multiple priorities? By definition, a priority can only be one thing. So, ask yourself, what’s the one thing that will make the biggest difference in how I finish the year? No matter what else you decide to do, make sure that you start with that one thing – that priority.
3. Do a SWOT.
Most business owners are familiar with SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). September is a great time to look at your business through the SWOT lens. Of those four, the one I would put the most energy into is determining what opportunities are available for you in this final quarter of 2015.
4. Communicate with your team.
September is a great time to bring your employees together. Hopefully, they have enjoyed some down-time during the summer. Rally them around your fourth quarter priority. If you’ve achieved, or are on track to achieve your 2015 goals, take some time to celebrate with them and recognize their contributions. If you’re behind on your goals, be honest with your team. Don’t blame them or make excuses, simply recognize that you’re missing the mark and share what you plan on doing to get back on track.
5. Reach out to your customers.
Like you, your customers’ schedules are filling up for the final four months. Unless they clearly need your services, you will fall off their radar. Why not send some of your best clients a small gift of appreciation? Send handwritten notes or pick up the phone and touch base with some of the people who use your services or purchase your products.
REMEMBER: most of us get a lot of junk mail during this time, so be smart in what you send and how you communicate with them.
As the busyness of the Fall Season begins to consume us, many business owners fall into the trap of just “winging it.” We’re so busy working in the business that we neglect to focus on the business and how to finish strong.
Take some time now to make sure that you don’t leave the final quarter to chance. Make a plan on how you can experience success and roll into the new year with great momentum!
Wishing you MORE this September!