Some say it’s not how you start its how you finish that matters most. Although, I agree that the finish is definitely crucial, I'd argue that the start AND the middle are equally as important. A slow, calculated start is perfectly acceptable, but not a weak one. The idea is to build momentum as the year progresses so that you don't give back ANY amount of what your hard work has earned you. Staying consistent throughout the year and riding out the peaks and valleys are the key! The finish however, is that lap to sweet victory. That last quarter of the year is when we put ourselves into overdrive to hit the year targets we set out for in January.
Now some of us may have slowed down a bit during the course of the year for any of a number of reasons but most business owners right about this time start checking in with themselves and ask themselves questions like,
“Have I really done all I can to hit our annual targets?”
Rest assured it’s not to late...
With hard work and laser focus you can close out this year stronger than how it started! But, it’s going to take a bit more than that. I mean after all...if hard work and focus was ALL it took to guarantee hitting our goals and numbers, there would be way more optimism in the last three months of the year, not to mention much loftier goals!!! It just doesn't work that way. We must analyze the years data.
Here are the key steps to help you finish strong in the 4th quarter:
- Review your current YTD revenue AND billable hours.
- Decide whether you need to adjust your goals to finish this year stronger than compared to last year.
- Review marketing/sales plan and execution.
- Course correct.
- Take Action!!
Business is risky and temperamental. We constantly have to stay alert and aware! There are no "How To's" that can GUARANTEE success. At least not one that I know of. It all depends on YOU and what you are willing to do to reach your targets. The only real guarantee is the one you make with yourself! Period.
These next couple of months I focus on evaluating businesses in the final quarter of the year. But, I always advise everyone...don't wait until then to get granular with your business. This should be a part of your review process at the end of each quarter, at least!!! Remember the title of this note? Start Strong...Finish Stronger!!
Now that you're in the home stretch!
Make the last final push for personal and financial goals for your business. You began the year with a set of goals to accomplish, review them, see where you are and make sure to give it your all to push the company where you want it to go. Be sure to have a strong operational system in place to handle the growth because this time of year can get VERY busy if marketed properly.
This is when you may realize that you may not hit your target or that you may not hit your revenue numbers so course correcting becomes very important.
Review past referrals/relationships...where did the business come from this year? Did you make key relationships that just kind of dropped off? Be sure to evaluate the past relationships you and/or your teams have created and see what more you can do for them during this time. What has worked this year? What has not? Why?
Now that we're in the 4th quarter, is it too late?
Absolutely not! The fourth quarter is prime-time. Many companies can do almost half of their business in the final three months of the year. A lot of us do VERY well under pressure. When you're under pressure or when you have to hit a sales number you are likely to deliver your best performance. I know that's when I start stepping up my game!
Start following up with everybody on LinkedIn, Facebook, start sending those emails to your referrals sources. Start visiting those referral sources you were to timid to visit throughout the year...you know the ones. Do what you have to do so that you can get in front of your prospective clients. Don't wait for business to come to you, reach out and you'll be amazed at what can happen at the last minute.
Look at your business in as non-emotional way as possible.
It is so important to see your business through a critical eye. Sometimes we get so focused on what we set out to accomplish, that we forget to take a look at whether it is working or not. If you look at a particular plan or strategy and realize it is not working, start to scale back.
That’s a lesson I wished I'd learned earlier–pull back faster. If something isn't working, that's okay. But instead of thinking MAYBE it's going to get better, maybe it's going to get better–course correct sooner and do what you need to do based what your numbers tell you!
Oh and those numbers...I always say it’s easier when you look at your hours instead of your revenues. Money conjures up SO many emotions when you think about the dollars...fear, anxiety, panic to name a few. Taking the emotion out of the equation is so much easier to help you get laser focused and the trick is to set a target on hours and not dollars!
What steps do you plan to take to finish the year strong? Tell us your favorite tip:
What works for you when you rely on a good 4th quarter performance?
Hope this helps in finishing 2019 stronger than ever and gets you off to a super strong start in 2020!!!
xoxo ~ Jen