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Quarterly goal setting for business growth

Quarterly goal setting is a simple and powerful technique for business growth. In this vlog and post we look at the importance of focusing on a quarterly objective or initiative to drive the growth of your business.

It is a process that we go through at LexisClick every quarter and it is a technique that we use in the marketing that we manage for our business growth customers. Typically we choose between 2 and 4 key objectives to focus on each quarter. In our business we call them Rocks, as they are the big items we need to tackle in that quarter.

This quarter we are testing focusing on 1 bigger objective. We are testing whether having a complete focus on a single bigger initiative helps to accelerate our growth compared with spreading ourselves between 3 or 4 objectives.

Why is it important to focus on a small number of quarterly objectives?

Often your quarterly objectives will need to be worked on in parallel to the day to day work of the business. The more large initiatives that you have running at any one time, the thinner you and your team are spread. Which means that you are reducing your chances of completing any of the objectives to a really high level.

That’s why we have reduced it down from a target of 3 quarterly objectives to a single quarterly objective.

The big initiatives that we have in our business take a lot of brain power and effort. When you are balancing this with the main work of your business, it can be difficult to fit everything in as you move through the quarter.

So we’re experimenting with focusing on just one quarterly objective. Our thinking is:

The more focused we are, the more likely we are to achieve the objective.

All of the team are focused on that same objective, which means we are all pulling in the same direction. If we lose focus for any reason, it will be much easier for us to recognise it and get back on track.

What are the challenges with setting quarterly objectives?

The first challenge is deciding on the main objective to focus on.

Why’s that?

Well - there are always going to be a lot of things that you want to improve and fix in your business. Which means that choosing just one initiative to focus on in the quarter is going to be a challenge.

The second challenge is maintaining focus through the quarter.

As you work through the quarter, you’re going to have other great ideas and opportunities that come up. You need to be aware that these new, shiny opportunities can steal your focus.

You’ll also have fires to fight. These are urgent and must be fixed, but they’re also stealing your focus away from the initiatives to grow and improve your business.

That’s why focus is so important. And it is why we are testing focusing on a single initiative to understand if it makes it easier to stay focused and improve growth.

Tips on how to set powerful quarterly goals for your business

The first step is to create a list of all the improvement areas that you’d like to make in your business. Create a shared document or Trello board, so that you can capture input from all of your team.

Organise a time for you and your team to review the improvement list and agree your priorities.

Get all of your team in a room together if you can. If you have a larger team where this will be difficult, have a meeting with your key team members and representatives for the rest of the team.

Go through the list of improvement areas.

Firstly prioritise the improvements by how much positive impact they will have on your business. We recommend that you keep it simple and score them High, Medium or Low.

Next run through the same exercise and score the improvements by effort required. Again use High, Medium or Low scoring.

Now rank all of the potential improvement areas by impact and then effort. So the High Impact, High Efforts should be at the top, next High Mediums, followed by High Lows and so on.

When you’ve ranked the improvement areas, you need to deeply evaluate all of the High Impact improvements. Decide and agree which of these will make the biggest difference to your business. Choose those that will have the biggest impact.

We vote on the initiatives as a team. We find this democratic process encourages debate and increases buy-in from the team. It helps us choose the most important improvement area.

If it is a High High initiative that is voted to have the highest impact, we recommend that you select only this as your quarterly objective, for all the reasons we discussed above.

If it is a High Medium, you can decide whether you want to add one or two High Low impact areas to your quarterly objectives list.

If you have a number of High Impact Low Effort improvement areas, then you can select 3 or 4 of these based on your team’s capacity to complete them in the quarter.

Remember it is much better to achieve all of the objectives you’ve selected in the quarter. It is only by completing them that you’ll realise the business growth benefits.

If you worried that you’re not going to get enough done - you can always move on to the next objective on the list when you’ve completed the first one.

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