If your 2021 is going exactly as planned, please send us upcoming lottery numbers because you clearly have a crystal ball. If you’re not psychic, you likely found yourself adjusting your 2021 plans at some point (or maybe a few times) this year. Many find themselves burdened by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and employee shortages. Others find themselves having an overwhelmingly great year (especially if you’re in real estate here in Southwest Florida) with increased visitor traffic resulting from a lack of strict mandates. Whichever camp you find yourself in, you’re likely off track from the goals set forth this year. Read on for three steps on reviewing your goals and adjusting them for the fourth quarter.
Step 1: Review your initial goals and measure your progress
Dust off the goals you set for 2021 and review your progress to date in comparison. This analysis will give you a decent baseline for the remainder of the year. Maybe on average, you’re meeting 70% of your monthly or quarterly goal, or perhaps you’re meeting 120% of your goal each month. Whatever your progress may be, finding an average baseline for how this year has gone can help you forecast proper expectations for the fourth quarter.
Step 2: Identify what led to varying performance
When developing your 2021 plan, you likely referenced data points either within your industry, area, or from historical business performance. This helped you envision or prospect for a “normal” year. However, even though your plans were founded in data and sound, if things didn’t go as planned, there were probably things outside of your control that affected performance. Try to identify what these are:
- Did an employee shortage lead to poor service or an unexpected closure?
- Are shipping delays leading to a lack of product availability and/or increased costs?
- Did COVID-19 cause a mass exodus of locals and tourists, or did it cause an influx of visitors?
Consider all external factors that cause fluctuations in typical business patterns. Things like local COVID-19 cases, industry-wide shortages, local weather, etc., may not seem to have an immediate effect on business. Still, often you can correlate these happenings with atypical ebbs and flows in business. Be careful to not put blinders on to potential internal issues, unrelated to world health or economics. There could have been unrelated, internal factors at play as well.
Step 3: Use this information to forecast the remainder of the year
While we’re all hoping that everything will get back to “normal,” there will likely be lingering effects from 2020 and 2021 that will persist into the fourth quarter of this year and into 2022. So, it’s reasonably safe to use this data to adjust your goals and forecast a more accurate Q4. Use your baseline information and data from a typical year to create more reasonable expectations for the rest of 2021.
If you need more help, contact us. During what we thought was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed a program called Kickstart. This program consists of three package options, or an all-inclusive bundle, that are cost-effective and include the most beneficial marketing services. Kickstart packages are a pared-down version of our usual services intended to help kickstart your marketing. If you’re interested in learning more, visit our Kickstart page.