The end of Q2 is approaching fast—and that means it’s time to do a mid-year check-in. The halfway point in a calendar or fiscal year is a great opportunity to reevaluate the goals you set at the start of the year, analyze your progress, and make adjustments.
The benefit of setting business goals
Regularly setting goals and measuring your progress is key to consistently improving your business. Not only does thoughtful goal-setting force you to plan ahead, it also gives you a way to track your work and results.
To make the most of your goals, though, you need to revisit them often. Evaluating your goals halfway through the year is particularly valuable because it gives you time to course-correct and set yourself up for success. A mid-year check-in and reset makes it easier to:
Stay focused and on task with your goals
Improve cash flow
Boost morale for the second half of the year
Eliminate strategies or projects that aren’t working
Spot potential problems in your operations, finances, or marketing
Ensure you’re using your time and energy wisely
How to evaluate your goals halfway through the year
Ready to get started? Here are four steps you can take to review and reset your business goals for Q3 and Q4.
1. Organize and review your goals
Start by revisiting the goals you set at the end of last year and the start of Q1 and Q2. To get a clearer picture of your progress, try organizing them by category and timeline.
Categories could include revenue, customer acquisition, marketing, operations, sales, or growth, for example. Within each category, group your goals by annual, quarterly, or monthly benchmarks.
2. Assess your progress
One by one, go through your goals and evaluate your progress according to the specific milestones you set. If you already have a system for tracking your progress, this step will be pretty straightforward. If you don’t, now is the time to implement one.
For each goal, work on answering the following:
How do you define progress? Which specific key performance indicators (KPIs) are you tracking?
Did you exceed the goal, meet it, or fall short? To what degree?
If the goal is still in progress, are you on track to reach it?
What strategies have you used to reach your goals in the first half of the year? Which tactics have been helpful?
Have you faced any obstacles so far? If so, what are they?
If the goal is still in progress, do you think it’s realistic to reach?
Are there any unique circumstances that have affected or will affect your ability to reach the goal?
Answering these questions in detail will give you a good idea of whether or not you’re on track to meet your goals—and if you’re not, what you need to change going forward.
For example, let’s say you set a goal to improve your gross revenue by 10% from the same months in the previous year. If you’ve fallen short of your goal each month and there were no exceptional circumstances that disrupted your progress, you need to review the marketing and sales strategies you’ve been using. Maybe you need to rework your sales funnel, for example, or allocate your resources to a different marketing distribution channel.
There’s also a possibility that the goal itself isn’t realistic given your customer base and budget, which means you may have to change it.
3. Adjust your goals with new information
Once you’ve measured your progress, think about which changes (if any) you need to implement for the second half of the year to either meet or exceed your goals. Here are some factors that can contribute to your successes or struggles:
Changes to your team
Changes to your customer or client base
Cash flow fluctuation
Unforeseen events or crises
Countless circumstantial changes can affect your goal progress. If your customer base has grown significantly over the past quarter, your cash flow might be tied up in inventory. If your project manager recently quit, you may not have enough resources or time to take on new clients for a while. If your busy season is coming up, you may have more revenue than usual.
However, it’s also important to think about your business from a holistic standpoint. Maybe you’ve hit your sales targets every month, for instance, but you know from a recent employee survey that your sales team is feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. In that case, continuing with the same benchmarks for the rest of the year could jeopardize the satisfaction and wellbeing of your team.
That’s why it’s helpful to ask the following questions when adjusting your goals:
Is this still an important goal to strive for?
Is it realistic?
Is this goal in line with our company values?
Do we have the resources and time necessary to pursue this goal?
Depending on your answers, you can either scrap the goal, amend it, or leave it as is.
4. Create monthly and weekly plans for carrying out your goals
The surest way to reach your goals is to create a reasonable plan for executing them. Breaking your goal down into smaller pieces makes it feel more achievable. For each goal, consider the following:
Tasks: What do you need to do each month, week, and day to make progress on your goal?
People: Who will be in charge of executing each task?
Resources: What resources do you need to achieve your goal?
Results: What does success look like for this goal?
Imagine that one of your goals is to hire an administrative assistant by the end of Q3. Using the format above, you might include the following information:
Tasks: Write a job description for the role by the end of week one, post the job description to several different job boards and recruiting sites by the end of week two, review all the applications that come in by the end of week five, schedule interviews by the end of week seven, etc.
People: Business owner and HR admin to write the job description together, HR to post the job online, HR to screen all applications then send the top five to business owner, etc.
Resources: Subscriptions to job search engines and recruiting sites; market standard salary information; training guide for new hires, etc.
Results: Taking the new administrative assistant through the onboarding process by week 12.
You can use a spreadsheet to list out your various task details and timelines, or try a project management tool.
Setting SMART goals
When you’re running a business, it’s tempting to set lofty goals, but dreaming big only gets you so far. You’ll have more success meeting your business goals if they follow the SMART format, meaning they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
For example, instead of saying you want to acquire more customers by the end of the year, you could say you want to grow your customer base by 5% each month until you reach 5,000 customers.
Embracing the mid-point check-in
Figuring out what works in your business takes trial and error, but the more often you set and revisit your goals, the more success you’re likely to have.
This year, instead of moving fast without looking back, take the time to check in, honestly evaluate your efforts, and pivot if you need to. Your business could be better for it in the long run.
Fundbox and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.