This week marked the end of summer, and for me, I had an absolutely wonderful summer and had a chance to slow down and take some time for myself. But now that it’s over, I’m focused on my 4th quarter like a hawk!
Some people look at the 4th quarter as approaching “the end” of the year, but I think of it a little differently. I think it’s a fantastic time to pivot and adjust your business before you move into a brand-new year. Here are a few of the things that I’m looking at in hopes that they will help you shape your own 4th quarter!
Look at Your Goals
We all start January with huge ambitions and goals, but many of them fall by the wayside as the realities of the year unfold. This can hit you hard when you finally reach your 4th quarter.
So, where are you in comparison to the goals you set nine months ago? Are you on track? If not, why not?
It’s time to take a brief pause and think about everything that’s happened to you, your business, and your clients over the last year. What events came into play that prevented you from reaching your goals? What needs to change for you to meet your goals, either now or in the future?
4th quarter is also a great time to survey clients, prospects, and former clients that you may have lost. This is so you can develop a real understanding of precisely what unfolded the last few months. Once you have that data, you can do things to course-correct before the end of the year.
Look Deeper Into Your Finances
All too often, I hear people complaining around the end of tax season because they have no real concept of how much they owe. It sneaks up on them because they weren’t paying attention to the books throughout the year.
This is one of the reasons why the 4th quarter is a fantastic time to get your accountant on the phone. Be sure to have an actual conversation about tax liabilities. As you’re now 3/4s of the way through the year, you are going to be able to see specific trends. Therefore, you should almost be able to predict what your tax liability is going to be right now. With that information, you can make appropriate adjustments as necessary before tax season.
Budgeting and Expense Control
Along with figuring out your taxes early, the 4th quarter can also be an excellent time for you to take a look at budgeting and expense control at your MWBE.
It’s around this time of year that little “leaks” start to show in most budgets. These aren’t major things; just expenses that got a bit bigger than you first expected at the beginning of the year. Once you find them, you can start to figure out ways that you can better control your expenses. Perhaps make this part of your conversation with your accountant. They might have a few ideas to help you plug the leaks going into the new year.
The 4th quarter is the perfect time for you to think about the types of investments that you should be making in your business and your team so you can achieve your goals for the next year. I’m not just talking about monetary investments here. The kinds of investments I’m talking about are in professional development and technology.
Your team needs to be strong in things like leadership, management, sales, and other soft skills that will set them apart from your competition. Even if you are a team of one, these are still areas you will want to brush up on. You should always be evolving, so you’re on the cutting edge of serving your clients.
Speaking of the cutting edge, you may also want to take a look at the technology you should be investing in for your business. Whether it be in tech that makes it easier to do business with you or ways to improve your team’s communication, technology investments are often more than worth it.
These are only a few of the things you can do to help ensure that your 4th quarter is a productive and profitable one. Another thing that I always recommend to my clients is to learn as much as possible. Learning is another kind of investment that can pay off huge dividends throughout the entire year. I regularly host free workshops for MWBEs through the NYC Department of Small Business Services and also through Jean Kristensen Associates. These free workshops usually fill up fast though, so be sure to sign up ASAP whenever you see one that interests you!
Hope you have a fantastic 4th quarter!