If you’ve been in business for a week or ten years, you have most likely heard about quarterly check-ins for your business. Completing your quarterly business checklist can act as a fresh start for your business. It’ll help you to map out content and goals for the span of the next three months, providing you with a clear overview for the months ahead.
Even if you don’t like to plan things out, having a playbook, so to speak, within your business cannot only help you meet the goals you want to achieve, but helps you better implement them and know where to place your time. If there is anything that I struggled with as a new business owner (and, sometimes I still do!) it’s where to focus my in office hours.
So, what are things that you need to be looking at within your small business during a quarterly check-in?
I won’t lie, there isn’t a one-sized fits all answer. However, below I’ve compiled a list of items that I do myself along with a few tasks that I know dear friends within the small business realm do each quarter. As your business grows, you’ll discover which items need to be added to your quarterly check-ins and which items need to be removed. Plus, you may even add a few items that aren’t even on my list!
Here’s to being a small business owner and setting your business up for success through well-thought out action plans and quarterly cleanup.
No one really likes to talk about taxes (unless you’re my CPA), but when you take on the title Small Business Owner, taxes automatically come with the name. I highly recommend that you talk with your business accountant to find out what will be best for you. Usually, if you are estimated to have to owe at least $1000 or more in taxes at the end of the year, the IRS requires most businesses to pay quarterly taxes. It’s not as scary as it sounds, as you can often pay online through a secure IRS link that your accountant helps you set up.
Create an Agenda
What is it that your business is wanting to focus on for the next three months? An example here is when I launched my mini-session course, From Stranded to Sold Out, my blog content was focusing on showcasing my knowledge within the industry to support why people could trust that my course would be jam-packed with no-fluff content. My agenda for the months leading up to my launch, was prepping lead pages, workbooks, and again just generating content that supported my expertise on the topic.
Your agenda doesn’t always have to be something as lofty as creating an online course. Just mapping out blog topics for the next three months to know what you’ll need to write each month is a great win. Or if you’re a podcaster, mapping out your podcast guest list and editing schedule helps you know when Instagram posts will need to be posted, etc.
For me, currently, I map out content each quarter for my Membership for Motherhood Photographers, as I add new resources every month for members.
Evaluate Your Previous Quarter
Did you try something new within your business the previous quarter? Evaluate if it worked as you had originally planned. If it needs tweaks, make those tweaks. If it didn’t work at all, don’t be afraid to ditch the idea all together. This doesn’t mean you failed, it just means it’s not the right for your business at the time. You can always come back another quarter to try a different route, if you desire.
If you’re one who likes to do surveys, send out quarterly client survey’s with a handful of questions that will help your business grow. Not only does getting constructive criticism help your business, but you might also find that your clients love a particular thing you do that you didn’t realize made a big impact. Don’t be afraid to offer an incentive as well to get more responses such as be entered to win a $25 gift card if you fill out the survey by a specific date.
Review Your ROI
Along with evaluating your business, it’s always important to review your revenue stream. Did you lose money this quarter? Did you meet your quarterly goals? Where did you spend more money than you expected? Is there a way you can adjust your next three months of spending to make up for a loss? If you’re someone who doesn’t like to keep track of money or just struggles with the terminology, I highly recommend a virtual bookkeeper. Outsourcing With Love has a list of bookkeepers and accountants that enjoy helping small business owners, plus they are pre-vetted!
Bookkeepers can help you enter your business expenses, evaluate month-to-month spendings, and provide you with detailed insights of where you’re making the most money and where you’re losing money.
Look at Your Personal Life
When mapping out the next three months, it’s also important to look at what’s going on in your personal life. For me, since I’m a mama of two, we have a summer break. I try to make my summer months for my business set to auto-pilot so that I can put more focus on my kiddos during those months. And, I also like to try to plan a vacation during this time. The last thing I need during summertime is to try and launch a brand new product or course.
Each quarter, I like to look at my work load. Am I busier than I want to be? Do I have the ability to take on another client or offer another round of mini sessions? This, of course, will depend on what is going on within my personal life as well which is why it’s so important to review both your personal and business life each quarter.
This is also a time that you can evaluate to see if you’re attracting your ideal customer. If your current client roster is filled with not-so-ideal customers, take a look at what you can do differently to begin attracting your ideal client within the next quarter.
Ready to Outsource
When it comes to quarterly review, I also like to look at my business to see if there are any particular elements within my business that I need to outsource to better serve my clients. Or, maybe it’s time for me to outsource particular tasks so that I can accomplish my goal for the next quarter.
For example, when I began prepping my course content for From Stranded to Sold Out, I knew that this would consume my office hours. By outsourcing my Pinterest and blogging, I was able to fully focus on my course, while knowing the other tasks that help drive potential clients to my website wasn’t being neglected.
Maybe you aren’t a graphic designer, but know you need a well thought-out workbook for a course or a professionally designed digital freebie for your next quarter goal. By outsourcing the building of these materials needed, you’re allowing yourself to fully focus on the actual content versus stressing over the overall design.
Review Your Website
Make sure the content on your website is still up-to-date based on your current offerings. If you are doing a price increase within your business, make sure that if you list pricing on your website that it reflects these changes. Update any outdated photos or your personal bio if any major life changes have happed that you want to share.
You can even use a site called Heatmap.com that allows you to see where your audience is clicking the most for specific pages.
Don’t Forget to Celebrate
Did you have a big win or multiple small wins this quarter? Celebrate them! As business owners, we are often way too hard on ourselves and focus on the loses and failures, when big picture we need to remember to celebrate even our smallest wins!
That’s my list for Small Business when it comes to quarterly check-ins for your business.
Let me know in the comments how this quarterly business checklist has helped you. And, if I’ve missed something that’s on your to-do list every three months, let me know in the comments, too!
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