By Nick Veneris

The first quarter of the year is an important time for your business. What you achieve now lays the foundation for further success in the rest of the year. Unfortunately, many businesses coast through the first quarter believing there is still plenty of time to improve, or they rely on momentum from last year to propel them through the first quarter. Refreshing your Q1 business goals creates a clean slate and gives your team the boost they need to hit your first quarterly targets. Here are our tips for setting fresh goals for your business’ Q1.

1. Forget Last Year’s Narrative

Business narratives are a critical part of creating and marketing your brand. These narratives can shape the way you approach marketing strategies and sales. However, the narrative of your business can change throughout the year, impacting how you approach future goals.

For setting new goals, let go of last year’s narrative. This is an especially important tip for businesses that may have had a less than stellar Q4. Leaving negative narratives behind gives you a fresh start for setting goals for the next year. These goals can typically have the most traction in Q1. It is crucial to establish a new narrative. Return to your original mission statement for inspiration and reinforce your Overarching Medium-Term Goals (OMG).

2. Refine Your Branding

Q1 is typically considered an excellent period to relaunch your company or refresh your image. Refining your branding can be an effective way to reestablish your brand in the market, get an edge on your competition, and rejuvenate your Q1 goals. Rebranding is more than just changing your company logo: rebranding is about creating a relatable identity for your business to attract more customers to your product. Refining your brand can also include a fresh website and optimizing your current content.

3. Rethink Your Digital Marketing Strategies

If you haven’t already jumped aboard the affiliate marketing boat, now is the time to do so. Although affiliate marketing is a well-established marketing model, it has seen an enormous increase in popularity in the last few years, with spending projected to exceed $8 billion by 2022. Use affiliate marketing to your advantage to refresh your inbound marketing strategies and improve lead generation and sales conversions in the first quarter.

An affiliate marketing network is a simple and effective way to capitalize on the upswing in affiliate marketing by pairing your company with affiliates most likely to reach your target audience. Affiliate networks also offer software designed to improve your relationship with affiliates, track your performance, and automate payments. Best of all, most software can integrate seamlessly into your current eCommerce platform for a more streamlined experience, allowing you time to focus on your other Q1 goals.

4. Set Q1 Goals with Actionable Steps

It is simple to establish 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. This means that you need to start setting SMART goals.

SMART goal setting is a principle that is used in many areas of business and education to set measurable, defined objectives and a clear path to reach those targets. For goals to be achieved they should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-constrained

This same overall goal-setting approach should be used for your Q1 goals to get the year started positively. Once you and your team are used to creating SMART goals, implement this method for longer-term company objectives.

5. Establish Your KPIs

A big part of creating overarching Q1 SMART goals is developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of those goals. Begin by establishing KPIs for your overarching Q1 goals, then proceed to refine those KPIs by department or team. For example, if your Q1 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.”

6. Create Short-Term Action Items

Achieving short-term action items is all about finding the most attainable items on your list of goals, and putting a big checkmark next to them. This gives you and your team a boost of confidence that urges them to complete larger, more complex goals. Short-term actions should be items that can be completed within days or a couple of weeks at most. These short-term actions help create urgency within deadlines and act as motivation to prevent procrastination. Aim to have weekly milestone meetings to ensure your short-term actions are getting accomplished.

7. Create Measurable Individual Goals

Get all your employees involved with the goal setting. Have each employee set an actionable, measurable goal that can be quantified at a monthly meeting. These goals should contribute to your overall goals for the quarter but makes each employee directly accountable for the success of the business. While this may sound like a lot of pressure, giving employees achievable goals that contribute to the company can help your employees feel valued and can increase productivity. Keeping them accountable at monthly meetings can also help you to identify problem areas before they become too big. 

8. Be Prepared to Make Adjustments On-the-Go

Even the best-laid plans can go awry, so to stay on track for your annual goals, make adjustments to your quarterly goals as you go. Weekly meetings to review and reassess goals can be an effective way to 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. Regularly consulting your key metrics can ensure you are on track to achieve your Q1 goals.

The Final Word

Get your company off to the best start in the New Year with a fresh approach to setting Q1 goals. Use these simple tips to creating actionable and measurable goals to help build momentum to carry your company through the rest of the year.