The end of the calendar year fast approaches! And for those of us whose fiscal year aligns with it, so too comes what we like to call the Q4 scaries.
With goal end-dates drawing near and the season’s biggest holidays just over the horizon, the anxiety surrounding the end of Q4 is often downright palpable. You can feel it too, right? So, when the deadlines are piling up and the days just won’t stop coming, what’s a business owner to do?
Stay calm, we’ve got some suggestions.
Here’s what you need to know about stopping the Q4 scaries in their tracks.
Evaluate Your Needs
More so than any other quarter, Q4 is all about reaching your business goals. Whether it be preparing financial statements or scrambling to live up to year-over-year projections, Q4 presents a unique opportunity to wrap the past 12-month period up in a nice little bow.
And while reaching – and celebrating – your achievements is absolutely necessary (more on this later!), you can’t let mile-markers get in the way of necessary changes. Improving your business is a continuous process, and that process doesn’t stop just because we’re in the last quarter of the year.
In addition to goal setting, use Q4 as a period of revision. Ask yourself, what went well this year? What went very, very poorly? Ask your employees where they think the business could improve. Ask your clients for comparative feedback on your service. Using these last few weeks as an opportunity to evaluate rather than just achieve can help you stave off the anxieties of the season by preparing for the next, lessening effects of the Q4 scaries both this year and for years to come.
Stay Ahead of Seasonal Demands
When your business’s fiscal year lines up with its calendar counterpart, Q4 presents a particularly worrisome challenge – the holidays.
No matter your industry or schedule, November and December are bound to be a bit hectic, but with all the pressure of ending the year on a high note, you can’t let the stressors of the season catch you off guard.
Rather, try – and emphasis on try! – to prepare yourself and your staff for the demands of the season beforehand. Now is the time to consider the effects of potential supply chain issues, increased PTO requests, end-of-year fatigue, and, depending on your location, severe weather. You can’t stop these issues from coming up, it’s true, but developing a contingency plan for when they do can ensure you aren’t caught off guard.
Don’t Forget to Celebrate Your Successes
The best way to beat the Q4 scaries? Cut loose, just a little bit.
Holding your business accountable to measurable success is necessary, but so is celebrating when you achieve them. And even if you don’t fully meet your loftiest ambitions by end-of-year, you have to make time to appreciate the progress you and your team has made in the last 12 months.
Acknowledging your hard work, no matter the numbers, will keep your team pushing well into the start of next year. Without it, you’re likely to start losing momentum before 2022 even gets off the ground.
Make Your Goals for Next Year, Now
You’ve evaluated your year. You’ve prepared for the ups and downs of the season. You’ve made time to celebrate the successes. Now, you’re ready to plan for the future.
It might be tempting to save your new fiscal year’s resolutions for, well, the new year. But in our experience, saving goal setting for the last minute is never a promising idea. Using the last few weeks of Q4 to plan for the next year will not only take some of the mounting pressure off your shoulders (there are those Q4 scaries again) but will also guarantee you start the next year on the right foot.
Are there new services or resources you think you might need? Are there large-scale changes or improvements you know need to be made? Considering these changes at the end of Q4 rather than the beginning of Q1 allows you to hit the ground running.
Plus, if any of your departments have leftover funding at the end of the year, you can distribute them to solutions you actually need rather than allowing them to disappear out in no man’s land.
Hard truth time: one of the biggest causes of the Q4 scaries is disappointment. The deadlines and dates we tend to dread most are the ones we know we won’t be able to meet, won’t feel satisfying, or won’t be met with good news.
If you feel like the last quarter of the year is usually a time of disappointment for your business, it’s time to consider making some fundamental changes. Whether it be to your goals, your operations, or even just your tools, you simply cannot continue to settle for disappointing results.
Especially when the help you need is right here in front of you.
The EMPIST Way
Enter: team EMPIST.
Need help beating the Q4 scaries? From smart technology solutions to business process improvement, EMPIST has the services required to take your end-of-year from frenzied to fantastic. We offer IT support, cybersecurity services, cloud solutions, and more, all from a strategic, business-centric perspective.
So, why wait ‘til next quarter? Contact EMPIST online to get started, right now!