How to plan for the second quarter business growth….

June 9, 2012

We are now in month 3 of our quarter 1 plan (April to June) and at this point we start to look forward to our quarter 2 plan (July to September).  Before we meet to actually do our quarter 2 plan, we do a pre-meeting to discuss everything that could be in our quarter 2 plan.

Planning to plan – sounds overkill?  Not so, I now see it as crucial to the success of the plan itself.

One of the best questions we ask ourselves in our pre-planning meeting is the following:

What shall we start doing?
What shall we stop doing?
What should we do more of?
What should we do less of?

It always provokes much discussion and heated debate.  We rarely argue about what’s not working and we are often in agreement with what the solutions are, the debate is about what areas of the business are more important.  My team have a realistic view of how much you can get done in a 3 month period (not much) and so whatever goes on the plan is at the expense of something else.  Therefore there is real competition about what counts as not just important but in the top 3 priorities for the quarter.  Of course, ideas could be put on the back burner until quarter 3 but then that really does feel like a long way to go.

I remember going into these meetings with a clear view of what the most important parts of the business to improve would be, only to come out of the meeting agreeing that other parts are more urgent.

Getting the team buy-in to a plan is crucial and part of this is to ask these 4 questions. Their responses may be surprising but are often closer to the real bottlenecks of business growth and can give you real insight about what needs to be changed.


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