As we coast into the second quarter, my guess is that you’re feeling pretty good. Historically, the first quarter of the year is the most productive for business owners.
If you were following along with me last fall, we did a lot of work around strategic objectives and strategic mapping in preparation for the new year. It was hard but necessary work to get ready for the new year.
At the end of December and beginning of January, your butt was in gear. In December, business owners set goals for the new year and we hit the ground running. But then, the reality of the work sets in. And it gets hard.
As quarter one comes to a close, it’s time to evaluate where you are so you don’t become a statistic. No one wants to be a statistic. Don’t let the hard parts rule how you continue working this year.
Q2 is statistically the least productive quarter of the year. (Trust me on that.)
It’s the weather (can we please not have more snow!?). Unless you’re in my neck of the woods and you’re out enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures–which also makes the work hard. Or the fact that we’re ready for the school year to end (or at least our kids are). Or the fact that our New Year’s resolutions are waning (Diet? What diet?). Whatever it is, there’s a lull in life and business right around late March and early April that makes it tough to stay on track.Q2 is a tough quarter. Don’t go into cruise control because the work gets hard. Push forward.Click To Tweet
If you have big goals this year, don’t put yourself in cruise control. It’s time to make things happen.
Look at your goals realistically
If your goal is to make $100k this year, it probably doesn’t make sense to divide that up equally across each quarter. Take a look at what your income history has been, month to month and quarter to quarter, over the last few years. If Q2 is slow for you, don’t expect to bring in $25k for the quarter.
For new business owners, you may need to guess at what your income goal might be this quarter. Knowing that Q2 is typically slow for all businesses (and that you’re feeling the pressure of the weather and the school year and that your New Year’s resolutions aren’t going as planned), plan accordingly. Look at what you earned in Q1 and use that as a guide. Realistically, you may earn 35% of your yearly revenue in Q1, 15% in Q2, 20% in Q3 and 30% in Q4.
Set up accountability to track your goals
Accountability comes in a lot of different forms. Accountability partners are key to staying on track, especially when you don’t have a team. They’re also your cheerleaders and your sounding board for new ideas–and they’ll keep you in check when you start looking at all the shiny objects.
But it’s also important to be accountable to yourself and your clients. Set up dashboards to help track and project your income. Create systems that help you stay on track with your goals and tell you when it’s time to course-correct. Excel spreadsheets and, my favorite, Trello boards are perfect tools for this work.
Ideally, you have realistic goals and accountability already set up in your business. But sometimes we need to take a step back and really look at where we are and make adjustments to get to where we want to be. There’s nothing wrong with that, just don’t let second quarter pass you by without taking a deep look at where your real challenges are.