Avoid the Fourth Quarter Frenzy
We’re in the throes of the fourth quarter of the business year. If your world is like ours, you’re sprinting to the finish line while also trying to plan your next event, known as 2017.
As we near the end of our fiscal season, it brings to mind the baseball playoffs.
Our hometown Detroit Tigers had a decent chance at post-season play this year, but fell short. Conventional thinking says that had they won some games late in the season against this year’s “doormat teams,” who will remain unnamed, they’d be in the playoffs.
My question is why do the last few games of the regular season seem so much more important than the games in April? All of the wins and losses count equally. Yet by September, we’ve completely forgotten about the three games in April that our team lost by one run.
The games lost early in the going count just as much as those in the waning moments.
What’s my point? The stress we can all find ourselves under in the fourth quarter in the game of business isn’t a fourth quarter problem. It’s an all quarter problem. And a problem that can be largely avoided if you build a solid game plan, track your progress, and both address issues and praise successes as they arrive, not just in the fourth quarter.
As you look at your 2016 budget goals and the likelihood of reaching them, be wary of considering short-term thinking solutions like waiting until next year to visit customers, postponing training sessions or offering discounts to increase fourth quarter sales. While these might have an immediate positive impact on your bottom line, they often have a long-term negative impact as well.
Instead, do some pre-game planning, and spend quality “think time” now to plan for 2017. What new or proven initiatives will you implement? What are your growth objectives? What are your staffing and capital improvement needs? What might you consider doing differently to make more of an impact in 2017?
With answers to these questions you can build a solid plan for the future of your organization and be more prepared to make changes in that plan, when needed.
And be sure to include some fresh perspectives in your planning to make sure you’re not leaving anything on the table. As they say, “If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got.”
With a solid game plan, some strength building, lots of practice and vision for the long-term goal, you and your team are destined to win.
I welcome any comments or practices that you may use to ensure that you and your organization stay on course. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Cushing leads the Allegra, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, KKP, Speedy Printing and Zippy Prints brands as president of Alliance Franchise Brands' Marketing and Print Division.
Alliance Franchise Brands LLC, the parent company of Allegra Network LLC and Sign and Graphics Operations LLC, is a world leader in marketing, visual and graphics communications, linking more than 600 locations in North America and the United Kingdom. The Marketing and Print Division is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. Franchise owners in this division offer one-stop marketing and print communications services. Its Sign and Graphics Division, headquartered in Middle River, Maryland, includes Image360, Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now brands of sign, graphics and visual communications providers.
Cushing has owned and operated award-winning franchise locations, was inducted into Epicomm's Soderstrom Society, and was named Print CEO of the Year in 2011 when he served as CEO of AlphaGraphics Inc.