Have you started implementing your Q1 marketing strategy for 2021 already? Don’t forget to “Build On This Year’s Positives” as our founder and managing partner, Terry Tateossian, points out in this round-up.
(The Expert Panel was initially published at Forbes.)
The end of the year is right around the corner, and smart business owners will already be setting up plans and goals for the coming first quarter. Planning helps a business take stock of what it has achieved thus far and what it can hope to accomplish in the first quarter of the new year.
With proper foresight, leaders can set their businesses up to succeed by making smart decisions and knowing where to invest their resources. To help give you an idea of where to start, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer valuable advice on Q1 planning and explain how companies can get started on the right foot.
1. Don’t Lose The Flexibility 2020 Gave You
If you’re thinking of going back to how things were before the pandemic, pause. How can you blend the best of your pre-Covid offerings with the virtual offerings of this year? How could you switch back and forth more seamlessly? I think hybrid businesses (those that have both in-person and virtual capabilities) are the future. We should be focused on giving customers options about how they want to be served, and often that’s a mix of in-person and virtual depending on the day or the service. In short, don’t expect things to look like they did before Covid or look like they did during the lockdowns. There will be a middle ground between the two, and that’s where your business should be prepared to play – Diana Goodwin, MarketBox
2. Focus On Hiring The Right People
Our top priority for Q1 is growth. We’re scaling, and that means preparing the business and my team for everything that comes along with that. To prepare, I’ve been reading a lot of business books. We’ve also kicked off a hiring campaign so we have plenty of time to vet candidates before we bring them on board. Because our culture is so important to us, we want to make sure every new hire is a good fit. – Amber Anderson, Tote and Pears
3. Draft Multiple One-Year Plans
Start the new year on the right foot by drafting not one, but multiple one-year plans. How your teams operate in Q1 will set the precedent for the rest of the year, so it’s important you send the right message that every team will have a quarterly (and year-long) roadmap that defines their success. Your sales team, marketing team, engineers and every other department should have their own roadmap to success drafted and distributed to them by day one of the new quarter. This way, everyone’s on the same page regarding what success looks like, and everyone will get the “big picture” idea of where the company is headed in the year to come. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
4. Have Leaders Focus On Revenue Drivers
If the virus taught us anything, it’s that leaders, more than ever before, need to be working on only the money-making activities in their business. If you want to crush Q1, your goals need to include getting anything off your plate that isn’t a revenue driver. My biggest successes always follow the decision to delegate things I shouldn’t be doing. For me, it always starts with auditing my time into four columns so I can find where I’m spending it on things I don’t even like doing, what I don’t know how to do and what I never seem to have time to get to, even if I do enjoy it. The final column lists the activities that only I can do. It’s almost too simple, but success comes from working on the right projects. That can’t happen if I don’t know where I’m spending my time. – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA
Considering 2020 has been a whirlwind of extraordinary circumstances and global unrest, preparing goals for 2021 can be an interesting exercise. One tip would be to evaluate the positive events that have taken place in 2020 and build on those. Did you retain most of your employees? Were you able to keep most of your clients? Was your revenue stable? Did you find new opportunities for growth amid the pandemic? There are always opportunities, even in the middle of a crisis—whether they are to improve your existing business or to create a new business based on challenges faced in the new climate. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media
6. Consider Using The OKR Model
Consider using the OKR model (objectives and key results) to set your Q1 plan. There are so many things you could do, but what is essential that you prioritize? Think about your objectives across service delivery, growth and culture. The key results are the contributing drivers that correspond to your objective. Those key results are measurable and have an owner responsible. Clear, objective, measurable results and accountability set the stage for a successful Q1. Do the planning now so that you aren’t putting these together while you’re also trying to execute. – Russell Benaroya, Stride Services
7. Communicate Clearly With The Team
With any kind of quarterly planning, it’s important to communicate clearly with your team. They’re the driving force behind your business, and without communicating your new goals, you won’t be able to reach the level of success you want. Before the new year officially starts, it helps to have a meeting with your team to go over the new plan and strategy. Having everyone on the same page ensures that your planning goes smoothly so you can reach your goals. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. Check Your Low-Hanging Fruit Against Trends
No matter what your situation or your business, make sure you keep in mind your low-hanging fruit against trends. If you can, review internal data of what went right and what didn’t, and find where your opportunities are. Has it been a bleak year? That’s fine. Type in the least damaging category in Google Trends and Google Shopping Insights and it’ll spit out new opportunities. Leverage your intuition and experience against that data and you have one path forward. Things have changed, but low-hanging fruit will always reveal itself easily. You can do this. – Richard Fong, Ready Green