Have You Taken a Good Look at Your Business Recently?
BY Liyan Chen
March is a good time to review your first quarter and figure out which strategies work, and which don't.
Have you taken a good look at your Q1 yet?
March is typically a make-or-break month, because what you do will probably affect your company’s success for the rest of the year, Inc. columnist Les McKeown recently wrote. Brad Feld, managing director at the Boulder-based Foundry Group, also emphasized in a recent blog post the importance of taking the time to analyze.
“If you miss Q1, especially in a recurring revenue, services oriented business, or adtech business, there is almost no way you will make it up over Q2--Q4,” Feld wrote. “Sure--it’s nice to think something magic, special, and happy will happen, but it almost never does.”
Here are some tips from Feld and McKeown on how to evaluate your Q1 results and what to do next:
Take a close look at what you missed. Feld suggests managers to “do an aggressive root cause analysis” on the results in January and February by using the Five Whys approach. High level metrics do not tell the whole story. Be tough on yourself, and don’t hope that things will magically come together by the end of the month.
Review all the key projects. Small businesses have limited resources, so finding out what works and what doesn’t is a key to efficient resource allocation, according to McKeown. He suggests managers to rate the effectiveness of all key current projects, and put a stop on the ones that are yielding no or little traction. In addition, Feld recommends companies to put a break on discretionary spending if needed, and to be surgical about other expenses.
Adjust your projection if needed. Based on what you learn from January and February, re-forecast Q1 and the rest of the year, according to Feld. Once you nail down the numbers based on the fresh information, call for a board meeting around April 15 and get your new 2013 plan approved, Feld wrote. Most importantly, do not panic, and stay focused on figuring out the real trajectory.