How To Grow a Creative Business By Setting Quarterly Goals
Businesses need clearly defined goals in order to grow. In addition to identifying goalposts for a creative business to reach and surpass, it is also important to specify time frames. Many operations make weekly plans, monitor monthly progress and plan for long-term annual or five-year goals. An intermediate time frame can be better for adjusting course and cultivating customer relationships by sending business thank you cards. Find out why quarterly goals are most effective for connecting the dots between daily tasks, weekly achievements, monthly outcomes and long-term objectives.
Why a Quarterly Time Frame Works
A quarterly time frame breaks the year down into four groups of three months. Depending on when you start setting these goals, quarters may align with fiscal or other calendars. It is helpful to differentiate between short-, middle- and long-term goals at any type of business, but creative enterprises have some unique planning needs.
Many creative businesses take on projects that require days, weeks, months or even years to complete. Regardless of the length of individual initiatives or broader campaigns, taking an intermediate approach to conceptualizing goals across time can lead to more success in achieving desired outcomes within a specified period of time. Quarterly objectives should supplement, not replace, other assessment periods such as monthly, bi-annual, annual and multi-year assessments and plans.
Quarterly objectives for creative businesses may encompass the start and finish of one or more projects, along with follow-up. A three-month window has the potential to allow for greater flexibility in terms of fine tuning operations than six-month or annual check ins. This seasonal, growth-oriented perspective falls between the granular-level planning that goes into assessing daily or weekly productivity, making monthly projections and reflecting back on progress over six or twelve months.
Which Quarterly Goals You Should Prioritize
A quarterly approach is more effective for monitoring seasonal trends than shorter or long-term perspectives. A creative business that begins to assess performance over three-month periods may identify busy seasons and be able to find ways to balance workload or increase profitability during slower quarters.
The financial trends indicated by quarterly, bi-annual and annual analysis tend to be more meaningful than weekly or monthly perspectives. Day-to-day fluctuations tend to settle down into more pronounced trends over a 90-day period. Based on one or more year’s worth of quarterly data, a creative firm might prioritize following up on leads in advance of historically slow times of year.
Customer relationships are important to cultivate on every time scale. Assessing marketing, promotional and outreach methods every three months can help business owners and stakeholders identify ways to build relationships over time. Even if a business does not gather enough personal information to send out bulk birthday cards, sending business thank you cards on a quarterly basis or during specific quarters can make it easier to stay in touch with and on the minds of clients or customers.
How To Bridge Short- and Long-Term Goals
Quarterly goals are a perfect length of time to connect short-term monthly goals to objectives that span an entire year or several years. As suggested above, new trends are likely to be most obvious over a three month time span, which can help business owners make more informed plans to promote future growth.
Setting goals for every three months should not take the place of other short- and long-term time frames. Goals for a quarter may pertain to building customer relationships, doing research and development or satisfying sales objectives. The quarters of a year align with the seasons, which can make these scheduled check-ins a good time for measuring internal progress and boosting customer or client engagement by sending business thank you cards