The first quarter is arguably the most critical quarter of the year. It sets the tone for the rest of the year and reveals how effective your budgeting and planning endeavors have been. So, as you review your first-quarter results, ask yourself, are you on track to reach your revenue and business goals in the upcoming quarters or by the end of the year?
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR FIRST QUARTER PROGRESS TOWARDS YOUR YEARLY GOALS
1. Compare Q1 2022 to Q1 2021
Comparing your current Q1 to the previous year's Q1 will help you determine your progress towards your goals and adjust your methods accordingly. Ask yourself what you did differently in each quarter and how did that affect your outcomes? Use this comparison as a "health check" on your progress and to determine what you might need to do differently - if anything - in the next quarter.
2. Rely on the Metrics
It's early, but progress can't be uncertain. If you're on track after Q1, you should be able to prove it using metrics and KPIs. Determine what metrics matter the most to your organization?
Are you making a profit?
What does your churn look like?
Are you losing money in your supply chain?
Is it time to renegotiate your vendor contracts?
Once you've identified areas of concern, you can begin tracking them closer to understand how those metrics affect your company's bottom line.
Remember, every department is responsible for maintaining these metrics. Consider assigning a quota, and then measure each department's performance within that context. Doing so will make sure every department has a stake in the company's overall profitability.
3. Automate your review
Automated tools make it easier to track when, where, and how you're achieving your goals. As a result, these tools offer a more nuanced view of performance. Plus, since the analysis is automated, it's easy to review and compare results after Q1.
Tracking your company's performance is a many-faceted process. The challenge is that as soon as Q1 ends, Q2 begins. As a result, companies have to stop and look backward while still focusing on the future.
4. Determine what’s NEXT
Establishing a business goal like “increase revenue by 25%”; however, this vague phrasing does not let team members know how to achieve those goals. To keep the momentum going for your goals, you need to set goals with actionable steps.
Begin by establishing KPIs for your overarching goals, then refine those KPIs by department or team. For example, if your Q2 goal is to “increase inbound leads by 25%,” then to achieve this goal, your specific KPIs should be “post three new pieces of optimized content to the website each month” and “optimize one old blog per week.”
Even the best-laid plans can go awry, so to stay on track for your annual goals, make adjustments to your quarterly goals. In addition, weekly meetings to review and reassess goals can effectively keep objectives fresh and working for your company.
This might mean losing strategies that haven’t been working so far, putting away pet projects that interfere with your overall goals, and creating new strategies based on feedback. In addition, regularly consulting your key metrics can ensure you are on track to achieve your Q2 goals.
2022 will be full of obstacles but just as many opportunities. Work with your team to develop the right tools to help identify what those are and where they are located, giving you the time to adjust your strategy and continue moving forward, quarter after quarter.