I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit in denial about how fast 2017 is flying by. I feel like it was just last week we I was yelling at my guy that we should NOT wake our baby up at midnight to celebrate her first NYE (he did wake her up). Fast forward and it’s April, so I’m working on my quarterly checkup! Many business owners find themselves setting goals near the end of the year, and are bursting with hope for the new year. Only once January 1st hits, things don’t always go according to plan. Our daily struggles still exist and hope turns to much of the same old same old. Whether you’re surpassing your goals or drowning in doubt, this is the perfect time to take stock of the first quarter so you can plan for success in the next few months. Here’s how!
Before we dive in, I want to reassure you that if you’re totally off track (as in you wanted to lose weight and you’ve instead gained 15lbs and the folks at the donut store know you by name and have your order ready each morning as you walk in the door) it’s OK! It happens. The good news is that you can choose to start over whenever you want. Like right now! So you didn’t do so well in the first quarter of 2017, so what?! Aim to make the second quarter AMAZING. You have me on your team now, so let’s crush it 🙂
Because I don’t want you to put this off and never get to it, block off a few hours in the next week to evaluate your business by doing a quarterly checkup. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it!
Step One: Write down the dreams you had for 2017. Did you make any resolutions? What goals did you have? Were there any changes you wanted to make?
If you wrote your plans down, pull those notes out! If you didn’t, write them down now.
Before you start stressing out about the things you didn’t accomplish, take a minute to focus on what you did! No achievement is too small. Perhaps you wanted to grow your social media presence, and you’ve posted to IG consistently most of the year so far. Perhaps you wanted to grow an email list and while you still don’t have subscribers beyond your mom and a few sweet friends, you set one up!
Celebrate steps in the right direction, because they matter!
Step Two: Check off the goals you’ve achieved plus the ones that don’t fit anymore and make a list of the ones you want to carry into the next quarter.
To help with this, I put together some worksheets that will help guide you through looking at the goals you’ve made and making a plan to move forward in the upcoming quarter. Check out that free download here!
Make sure you’re being realistic about the goals you’re setting and make a plan for achieving them. When you break your big goals into smaller ones, reaching them is SO much easier!
Instead of saying “I want to grow my IG following” say “I want to grow my following by 100 followers each month”. Then, make a list of how you will do that, and make smaller goals that will help you get there! Break it into weekly or daily tasks that will keep you on track!
Step Three: Assess your actions. How have you spent your time?
I think this is the most important part of this exercise, so listen up!
Take a look at your planner, calendar, whatever from January until now. Look at what filled your days and how you spent your time. Does your activity align with your goals?
Being realistic about how you spend your time is a HUGE step in finding success. If you don’t typically track your time, start! I love using my Day Designer to stay on top of my hour-to-hour schedule. Plus, since it’s all together in one pretty planner, I can easily go back and see how I’ve spent my days when I sit down to do my own quarterly checkup.
Similarly, I have a notebook that I dedicate to my to-do lists in so that I can easily thumb through them to see how I’ve been spending my time each day. Because I always highlight things I finish, I can see what I gave up on, and when I was slacking off.
It’s so stinkin’ helpful when I’m checking in with my business each quarter to do this because those things don’t lie! There is no lying to myself about how productive I’ve been when I can look back and see if my days were filled with work or other things.
If you don’t typically keep track of (and keep!) your to-do lists and schedules, now might be a good time to change that so you can do this step next quarter.
Step Four: Find a few people to confide in.
Sometimes, the strongest tool we have in ensuring success is a strong support group!
If you have some friends or family members who you can happily share your goals and struggles with, great!
Often times, small business owners feel alone because our friends and family members don’t quite understand our struggles, or they enable us to be ok with not reaching our goals. Having support to remind you it’s not the end of the world to falter once in a while is good, but having people to do that PLUS push you to be better by reminding you of your goals and call you out on your nonsense is better!
Some of my strongest sources of support come from women I’ve met online in various Facebook groups for small business owners because they GET IT!
If you don’t have a tribe yet, or you’re always on the lookout for a new one, check out my Facebook group, the Likeminded Mommas Lounge! It’s a safe place for momma business owners to make friends, build their businesses, and share their wins and struggles. Check it out here!
Perhaps, if your confidants are business owners as well, you can get together once a quarter (in person or on a video call!) to do a quarterly checkup together! Getting input can be so helpful while making new plans.
Wherever you find these cheerleaders, chat with them about your goals, and ask them to hold you accountable! Turn to them when you need a shove in the right direction and let them know when you need to vent. A few amazing friends can make all the difference in the world!
There you have it, a step by step guide to assessing how you’ve done the first quarter of 2017. I hope looking at the facts and making plans for success has made you feel hopeful! It’s never too late to chase a dream. By scheduling a quarterly checkup every few months you’ll be able to stop a slump before it becomes a complete derailment!
Pssst! You know those personal resolutions you made back in December? You can use the same steps to work on them! You can even use the quarterly checkup download for them, just tweak the wording a little to match whatever you wanted to focus on in your personal life!
Want to chat about your business? I’d love to learn what you do and what you want to achieve this year! Head here to schedule a free call with me to get some tips on how to boost your business!