Looking To Q4: 12 Tips To Set Your Business Up for Success as the Year Comes to a Close

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As Q3 comes to an end, it’s time to look forward to Q4, which means setting your business up for success heading into the new year. For that reason, Q4 is especially important in terms of goal-setting and redirecting any process that hasn’t been serving your business as well as you hoped.

You want to start off 2024 with a strong, goal-oriented, and KPI-driven plan. To get there, you’ll need to take comprehensive stock of how your business performed in Q3. Now, you can head into Q4 with a plan that acts as the perfect runway for a strong jump into the new year.

1. Talk to Your Team

Before you look at the data, sit down with your core team and get their views on how the previous quarters have gone. 

“Employees are a company’s greatest asset — they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement and stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission,” says Anne Mulcahy from Xerox.

This conversation doesn’t need to be about objectives, data, or numbers. It’s just about checking in with the people who make your business work, and knowing their priorities, interests, and concerns so you can keep that in mind as you move forward.

2. Take Stock of Your Progress

Don’t repeat your strategy from the previous quarter, regardless of whether it was successful. It’s important not to take a strong quarter for granted and continue improving to push your company forward.

“Even if a business has a record-breaking quarter, it’s important to evaluate progress and analyze KPIs,” says Shaun Hinklein, Head of SEO at Ramp, a company that specializes in business credit cards. “There’s always room for improvement, and the only way to know where to start is to take stock of previous performance honestly.”

Even if you’re happy with your business’s performance in the first three quarters, you have to pay attention to the analytics to set your business up for continued success as the year comes to a close.

3. Learn From Previous Quarters

As we head into Q4, it’s important not to view the upcoming quarter in isolation. One of the traits that will set you apart as a leader is having a strategy that builds upon what you learned from the previous quarter.

“Don’t be afraid to admit to mistakes or acknowledge which initiatives underperformed,” advises Patricio Paucar, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer of Navi. “Offering transparency about your strategy and showing a tangible willingness to improve sets a strong tone for the next quarter for a business.”

Identify strengths, and don’t try to disguise weaknesses. Rather than sweeping missteps or miscalculations under the rug, use them to platform all of the ways your business will improve in the coming quarter.

4. Know Your Priorities

Before you start setting financial goals for the next quarter or changing processes and workflows, sit down and revisit your business’s priorities. It’s wise to do this every quarter to ensure you’re staying true to your business statement. 

“I think if the people who work for a business are proud of the business they work for, they’ll work that much harder,” says Richard Branson from Virgin.

On that note, it also allows you to take stock of how well your objectives are communicated to your team. When you have clear priorities as a business, it’s easier to build a sense of community and give your brand a strong identity that will lead to success.

5. Make Your Goals Quantifiable

Now that you’re clear on your business’s performance from past quarters, have evaluated your strong points and weaknesses, and revisited what you’re hoping to accomplish as a company, it’s time to set some realistic goals.

“Ideals are important and hopes are great, but these intangibles aren’t goals,” clarifies Den Montero, Marketing Director of Moeflavor. “For a business to have a true goal, it has to be measurable and have clear indicators of success.”

Your goals should be challenging but realistic. It’s crucial for any goals you set for the coming quarter to be quantifiable so you have a quantifiable way to analyze your business’s progress in the future.

6. Focus on Eighths, Not Quarters

While you are setting goals and intentions for Q4, it’s hard to properly analyze how your business plan is working and course correct if you wait until the end of Q4 to check your progress.

“Don’t think in quarters,” suggests Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting For You New York. “Think in eighths or an even smaller integral. Businesses should set many small goals to feed into a larger objective and check their progress at regular intervals throughout any given quarter.”

This idea can help you more clearly identify what might be impacting your company or your team’s performance throughout the quarter, and it allows you to change tactics if your initial plan isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped.

7. Have a Plan To Enrich Your Team

Not only should you be checking in with your employees at the beginning of the quarter (and throughout) to involve them in the process and maintain morale, but your plan for Q4 should include ways to enrich, educate, or otherwise develop your team.

“A business’s workforce shouldn’t be static,” says Asker A Ahmed, Director of iProcess Global Research. “It’s on that company to give their team ways to learn, grow, and develop both for their personal job satisfaction and the betterment of the company at large.”

Giving employees educational opportunities, optional enrichment programs, or other ways to advance their professional skills can lead to more workplace productivity. It can also decrease turnover and increase opportunities to promote from within, which makes your business a more appealing place for high-level candidates to work.

8. Re-Engage Customers

When you’re analyzing analytics from earlier in the year, pay special attention to areas where you may have lost customers or clients. Sometimes this is inevitable, but other times, it’s an opportunity to fix a flaw in your business.

“Customer retention is crucial to any business,” explains Seth Besse, CEO of Undivided, “The difference between a thriving business and a business just scraping by is that one of the two is doing everything possible to re-engage lost customers every quarter.”

Going into Q4, it’s vital to secure clients or customers going into the New Year. Instead of writing off small losses in business, see them as a challenge to re-engage former customers and bring them back with greater loyalty than ever.

9. Talk About KPIs

Another way to ensure cohesiveness in your business and to ensure that your intent going into Q4 is understood and measurable is by talking clearly and specifically about KPIs.

“A business should have clear, specific KPIs that are understood by the entire company, top to bottom,” says Jason Zhang, CTO of Tapin.GG, a company that helps gamers find teammates for Valorant boosting. “Don’t let KPIs be a buzzword — the way a business evaluates its success should be totally transparent.”

This will not only make it easier to measure the progress of your goals throughout the quarter, but it will help your team prioritize their work and tell them where to put their focus.

10. Prepare Your Team for the Future

In addition to enriching your team with opportunities for educational or professional development, you’ll want to look ahead and make sure that your team shares that vision. Don’t let technology get ahead of you or your productivity fall behind because you weren’t prepared to develop.

“Early adopters of technology in the business world excel,” shares Owen Martinetti, Co-Founder of Snoozy. “Companies that train their employees to use cutting-edge software and technology as soon as it’s available are future-proof in a way that other businesses simply aren’t.”

Staying ahead of the curve in terms of technology or changes in your market is important for you as a leader. It’s equally important to make sure that your team is ahead of the curve, too, so that your whole company is nimble and able to react to shifts in the market.

11. Work on Your Leadership Skills

It’s not all about developing your team or building a clear, clean Q4 strategy. It’s also important to set your business up for success by ensuring you are prepared and well-equipped to lead your business effectively.

“Any leader who isn’t constantly adapting, growing, changing, and learning is doing their business a disservice,” cautions Anthony Siskos, COO of HypeBlvd. “It is possible for a business to outgrow the person who built it.”

The best business strategy for Q4 in the world won’t lead to success if you aren’t equipped to deliver on that strategy.

12. Stay Flexible

Setting clear, measurable goals and getting clear both on KPIs and your priorities as a business is key to a successful Q4 strategy. That said, nobody can predict the future. An informed and specific strategy is crucial, but equally important is remaining flexible.

“Businesses should be confident and clear on their objectives,” says Christian Kjaer, CEO of ElleVet Sciences, “but they should also be light on their feet. Things change in an instant, and it’s easy to fall behind if a company’s leadership isn’t flexible enough to adapt.”

If halfway through Q4, you realize that you need to rethink, there’s no problem with doing so. Don’t let your ego or rigid commitment to a set plan get in the way of your success.

Use These Tips To Excel in This Next Quarter

When you’re prepared for the next quarter, it’s easier to ensure that your team and your business are also prepared. Head into Q4 with clear goals, strong company values, and a willingness to learn, grow, and adapt to anything that comes your way, and your business will be set up for success as we round out 2023.


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