Q4 is just around the corner, and we’re all excited for the turn of the new year, plus what it means for business profits. Q4, or the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, is the best time to make a significant profit with your business. Between holidays and a good read of the market, you’ll be set to soar to success in the future. This blog post will discuss the importance of Q4 planning and five strategies to help you achieve it and get all set for the last quarter of the fiscal year. It’s like poetry – it rhymes!
The Importance of Q4 Planning
Q4 planning is vital to success because it’s the make-or-break point in the year for businesses and companies worldwide. LinkedIn states that “It’s the process of planning that matters. The planning process provides an opportunity for greater situational awareness, intentional exploration, and focused action. Plans simply provide leaders something to deviate from” (Volpe, 2021).
When exploring an unfamiliar spot, you want to know where you’re going so you can veer off the path and into the wild frontier. The business planning process is no different. Furthermore, without a roadmap, you’ll end up getting lost in the realm of marketing and product design. These two reasons build an excellent incentive for companies to have a stellar Q4 plan.
5 Strategies For Building a Great Q4 Plan
1. Review and Analyze Data
The first step to planning for anything is knowing the event’s information. In the case of Q4, you’ll want to know when it starts, what your prior business information is, and what you’ll need to cover in the next quarter of the fiscal year. Luckily, many websites have defined the
fiscal fourth quarter this way, including Propel. “For most companies[,] the 4th fiscal quarter runs from the beginning of October through the end of December, marking the final stretch to get your marketing and sales to close out the year strong” (Propel, n.d.).
Closing out the year strong is essential because there are two major holidays and a general increase in shopping. Your marketing will have to be stellar to compete with those you’re trying to surpass. To do this, reviewing and analyzing your preliminary data is a must. Outsource School agrees, saying you can “start with a review and analysis of your business’s historical performance. This process will give you…valuable information that can guide your Q4 planning. Take a good look at your key performance indicators (KPIs) like revenue, clicks, average order value, and return on advertising spend. [Then], you can review different…periods separately to look for trends” (Valdez, 2021). Knowing what’s behind will show you what’s ahead, so this step is crucial and can’t be missed!
2. Calendar Everything
Remember how the title was phrased as an invitation? Well, that’s because Q4 is kind of like a worldwide marketing and sales party! So, to be prepared for the financial celebration, you’ll have to calendar everything you plan to do during Q4 to maximize profit and market your product to its intended audience.
Moreover, because Q4 tends to be packed with holidays, you must know how much time you do and don’t have to accomplish your goals. Propel says, “you should not only markdown and declare the time you need to participate in these activities […] but also realize that many of your clients/customers and potential customers are also taking time off for these activities” (Propel, n.d.). Suppose you’re able to attune yourself to your customers’ availability as well as your own. In that case, you’ll be successful in your marketing and business endeavors.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Realistic goals are essential for a good Q4, so analyzing your data as early as the summertime is vital – you’ll know what you’ve done right and what you still need to work on briefly. There are many recommendations for how to make realistic goals. Still, one that we really like by Propel is labeled “SMARTER goals.” According to Propel, it’s an acronym best described this way:
• • • • • •
S is for Specific.
M is for Measurable.
A is for Attainable.
R is for Realistic.
E is for Exciting.
The final R is for Relevant.
If your goals aren’t all these things, they’ll be challenging to acheive at best and unattainable at worst, leading to a flop this Q4. However, suppose you can get into the habit of setting realistic goals. In that case, you’ll be the top dog at the financial party you’ll get to participate in this winter!
4. Communicate Well
No one likes a party pooper, and this goes for Q4. You’ll need to schedule regular meetings to succeed at your job. Outsource School says, “as soon as you have your timeline drafted, start meeting with your team. You will want to give them a heads up about what’s in store for Q4 so[…]they can get ready to rock. More importantly, you will want to get their input on the proposed projects before you finalize the details” (Valdez, 2021). Planning with others always succeeds better than planning alone, not to mention constructive criticism is necessary to come up with the best game plan possible.
You’ll also want to communicate well with your team. Indeed, communication is perhaps the single most significant factor in determining whether your Q4 is a hoot or a horror. As LinkedIn says, “the final step of the planning process is communicating the plan to establish a shared perspective and shared consciousness of reality within your team to focus the energy, effort, and attention of organizational resources on the established priorities and performance expectations” (Volpe, 2021). Without good communication, your team’s vision won’t latch on, making the SMARTER goals miss the exciting and relevant details. But, of course, at any good party, you need great friends to invite!
5. Make Sure You’ve Got The Favors
So, you’ve got a fantastic team and are ready to get this show on the road! But the first R can’t be ignored – your goal needs to be realistic, or the party can’t be thrown. Outsource School recommends making sure that your production capacity doesn’t get blown out preparing for Q4. “If your business experiences that common peak in sales during the holiday season, you will want to make sure that you can meet the demand.” The article comments, “for products, make sure that you check your data for the specific figures [showing] how each product sells during Q3 and Q4. You want to make sure that you [can] order just enough to cover the sales for each order cycle” (Valdez, 2021). You’ll have to make sure your goal can be met, or you won’t have enough favors for all the people who’ll show up to the party of your financial success this Q4!
Q4 is an excellent opportunity to make sales at the end of the year. Due to many holidays around the period, you’ll throw a financial party for yourself, your customers, and your team. But any good party requires a plan. So you’ll do well if you can analyze your data, plan accordingly, and communicate well with your partygoers. If you can do that, you’ll have a grand old celebration for the end of the year, marked in money for yourself and your business.