For years I did not see the point of setting quarterly goals. The goal of the business was to meet the needs of the customers, generally to be profitable and be cash flow positive, right? How was this going to change by putting an arbitrary line to delineate a quarter? It was very easy to write general quarterly goals and then if we didn’t meet them, just push the same goals onto the following quarter.

However, a few years ago I read Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and this changed my view of how and why I structured quarterly goals.

The business had a longer term vision, to be the number one choice for tailored exercises services in Australia by 2030. However, writing a roadmap of how to get there between now and then is very hard because there are so many unknowns be, a long way into the future. Because it is an aspirational goal, I’m not supposed to now know how to get “there” later.

So, this is the purpose of the quarterly goal. I can control the next step in the journey towards the bigger goal and then change/pivot based on feedback, the market and what actually happens in the next quarter, moving towards the direction of the long-term goal.

It made the process fairly simple. Plan the long-term goal, plan the next 3 months and let the “middle” worry about itself when you get there

Quarterly Goals – 1 or 2 goals only!!!!!!!

If you focus on everything, nothing gets done. So, I have practiced the discipline of pin-point focus on the “most important thing for this quarter” and taking the other, less important things out of my mind.

For this quarter, due to the market, our biggest focus is marketing and sales. Each branch has a quarterly goal of increasing average weekly client numbers by 15 people per week and will do this by developing 6 enquiries per week, per clinic.

This is not a random goal, but a goal debated and derived by our branch managers at the first meeting of the quarter. Although there are many things we could have chosen as a goal, this one will have the greatest impact on each branch and the financial stability on the company as a whole.

We could have chosen to focus on developing our business software to the next level or further developing the team culture, but at this point in time, the goal with the biggest impact that will drive the next step in our development towards the long term goal, is increasing marketing to 6 enquiries a week. So, this will be our focus!!!

What 1 (and no more than 2 goals) will have the greatest impact on your business this quarter (towards your long term goal)?

But I’ve set a quarterly goal, but don’t know how I’m going to do it?

That is the point. I have no idea how I’m going to achieve this goal, but that’s what the team and I are going to focus on for the next 3 months.

What does this actually mean?

Reading books/articles/blogs on the topic and learning new skills that I didn’t have last quarter. It’s scary, it makes me uncomfortable and I don’t know what I’m doing in this space, but I will with practice and time.

This weekend I’m going to finish watching the training video series on SEO and how to apply it to our business. Confession, I did start this series last quarter and felt completely like a fish out of water. However, after a few listens and a bit of practice, I understand the area a bit more and I’m not afraid to try and give it a go.

The learning process seems like a slow and long process at the time, but when you look back at it in the future, you’ll notice it is a much short time frame than you think. It just seems longer because you are going into the unknown and learning new skills.

As a result of this process, I have seen our branch managers step out of their comfort zone and trial different versions of Facebook ads, make new connections on Instagram they were uncomfortable trying out a few weeks ago. I have also learnt, through the process, that our target market client group is broader than I originally thought. I have also learnt how active older clients (our main target marketing is 45 plus professionals) actually are in engaging with social media. This has all been only in the first week of the quarter!!!

What do you have to learn next into order to achieve your quarterly goal? You just have to get started, the next step will follow the first

What if I’m wrong about the goal and I’m not successful

If you are wrong and you don’t achieve the goal, you have learnt 2 very valuable lessons.

Firstly, that you underestimated what you have to do in order to achieve your goal or that the direction you have taken is incorrect.

If we find at the end of this quarter, we have not achieved our goal of 6 enquires a week with the marketing initiatives we have taken at the moment, it may mean that we have to have a larger number of marketing initiatives at the same time to be effective or our direction was wrong. It may also mean that we are just not resonating with our target marketing and we have to take a whole new approach.

So, we have learnt what is not enough or the wrong direction. We then know we have to change and not keep doing the same thing. In addition, and very importantly, we have learnt more about our target market’s behaviour. This means our next initiative will hopefully be more effective and hit their needs more closely.

Secondly, we have also learnt a skill within the organization that we did not know before. From being a weakness, it now becomes a company strength and something your organization has that the competition does not.

Prior to the last quarter, our website was a “block box”. It was not very effective at generating leads and did not reflect the client experience within our organization. After a lot of reading, listening and practice, our website is now dynamic and we spend a lot of time on the back of the website. We are very comfortable making changes to the site and it is a very integrated tools used with clients within our company.

This would not have happened if we didn’t set the goal last quarter, “Making the website reflect more closely, our client experience”.

What is the feedback you will learn from your clients if you are wrong? What skills would you have acquired if you pursue this quarterly goal?

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