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Finish the Year Strong: How to Have a Great Q4

For many business owners, the fourth quarter of the year means crunch time. It’s often a company’s most profitable quarter, and it represents your team’s last chance to hit targets and meet your goals for the year.

It also gives you a chance to set yourself up for success next year.

And while every business quarter is important, Q4 often needs special attention. It can feel like an exciting, but also stressful, time for many teams.

As your team’s leader, you want to help manage the pressure of Q4 so that it remains productive –and not disheartening – for your team.

Here are some sound practices that can help you close out the quarter, and the business year, strong:

  • Lean into your dashboard
  • Be realistic
  • Make time for planning
  • Prioritize what you want to accomplish
  • Break it down and delegate

Let’s look at each of these practices in a little more detail.

Lean into your dashboard

Your dashboard is your greatest ally during the fourth quarter of the year, showing you exactly what needs to be done to reach your goals.

If you’ve done your due diligence in building a progress dashboard that lets you see how your business is performing against KPIs, you’ll have all the knowledge you need, right at your fingertips, to develop a winning Q4 strategy and finish the year strong.

It doesn’t matter whether your dashboard is represented by a fancy custom app, a simple spreadsheet or something in between – but the information it contains is invaluable to your business success.

Be realistic

It’s helpful to look back over your business performance for the previous two to three years during Q4.

What are your performance trends? What is it reasonable to expect from your team? Also, make sure you’re carefully analyzing your pipeline and forecasted performance.

How large is the gap between what you need to accomplish and what your pipeline potentially can yield?

This piece is key – it’s important to understand where, if anywhere, you may have been overly ambitious and your goals simply aren’t feasible anymore.

This can happen based on reasons beyond anyone’s control, but it needs to be accounted for and planned for.

Make time for planning

When you’re heavily into the work of the fourth quarter, you and your team will resist the need to stop and thoughtfully assess your year-end strategy.

But you have to do it.

Take the time to meet with your team, discuss their strategies for doing the most meaningful work that will ensure the biggest impact during your last quarter.

It’s a good idea to do this together as a group at the beginning of the quarter, and to continue on a monthly basis. You may also want to hold one-on-one meetings with team members at regular intervals to support them in meeting their individual goals.

It’s not enough for your team to simply be busy during Q4 – they must concentrate their efforts where they’ll yield the highest return.

This type of planning and regular reporting ensures that everyone on your team has agreed on the deliverables, knows what they are personally responsible for, and has the information and resources they need to succeed.

Prioritize what you want to accomplish

You may find yourself in a situation where it simply isn’t feasible to accomplish everything you wanted.

That’s when you and your team need to prioritize what is most beneficial for your business – both in Q4 and into the future.

When you’re staring at the end of the year, you can’t waste a moment on tasks that don’t move the needle for your business.

Choose the tasks and goals that will make the biggest impact for your organization and focus your efforts, time and attention on those.

The more clarity you have around a few simple goals, the more likely you are to reach them.

Break it down and delegate

As the business leader, you know the buck stops with you – but that doesn’t mean you’re solely responsible for finishing with a strong Q4.

If you’ve done the work of building a high performance team, lean on them.

Break down large goals into smaller, more manageable tasks and let your team take ownership of them.

Also look for opportunities to outsource or automate more mundane tasks if you can – this frees you up to do the work that only you can do as the leader of your organization.

That means you’re spending your time planning, forecasting and coaching your team rather than focusing on other details.

You need to make your highest-level skills available to your team to help get them over the finish line.

Finishing the last quarter of the year strong can feel like a real challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I’d love to help you maximize your Q4 performance – simply set up a strategy call with me today, and we’ll tackle it together.

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