How to play the 4th financial quarter

Adinah Brown

What about those Key Performance Indicators that send terror into the hearts of all employees these days?  Were company performance targets met?  Were sales targets attained? Q4 is the perfect time for a bit of navel gazing and contemplation says Leverate’s Adinah Brown

Like it or loathe it, everyone’s eyes are fixed onto each company’s corporate 4th quarter earnings. And, as with so many other factors in the world of finance, it’s all about the “expectations”. Companies that hit their Q4 earnings targets move into the Christmas and New Year holiday period with a sense of a job well done – it’s as if all the sacrifices and effort made throughout the year have been worthwhile.

So, what strategies are available to avoid getting stuck in the Q4 “funnel”?

First, Q4 must become the focal point for your lead generation or pre-sales team to work hand in hand with your customer-facing sales force. All those promising leads where your company has invested its hard-earned cash should start to bear fruit in the second and third quarters of the year with everyone’s eyes focused on signing deals and banking revenue in that all-important fourth quarter.

The period from October to December is also an optimal time to leverage written content such as white papers and all those PowerPoint presentations that you’ve built throughout the year. Maximize the effort consumed in building these glossy resources without branching off onto new projects requiring additional manpower and expenses.

Next, make Q4 a time to focus on reporting. Thnae pre-holiday period is an ideal time of the year to place your company’s performance under the microscope. How well has the company been run over the previous three quarters? What about those Key Performance Indicators that send terror into the hearts of all employees these days?  Were company performance targets met?  Were sales targets attained? Q4 is the perfect time for a bit of and contemplation.

Finally, consider Q4 to be a good time to get your company’s house in order by focusing on communication. How well has the company’s message been transmitted to existing and potential clients? How closely are company employees aligned with this vision? Has management done its job in creating a unified, targeted, and slim line operation?

On a more general level, Q4 should be a time to review all company “systems”. How well are the online company forums operating? Has the company’s adoption of WhatsApp as its internal communication tool panned out? Would Skype be a better alternative? How easy is it for clients to access the important documentation, systems, and applications that they require?

Of course, systems stretch beyond the bits and bytes of the computer department to such banalities as office supplies and whether the cleaners are doing a good job. Perhaps review internal procedures such as the way clients are received when they arrive at the Reception desk. What about employee dress code?  Fun days? Is the HR department doing its job and passing on the feelings of company employees to management? Review and improve all these activities in Q4, then your employees, and customers will thank you as you start afresh in Q1 of a new year.

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