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Marketing planning

We have a client who is very sophisticated, very savvy, and always willing to try new things.

My bi-weekly Skype calls with him are always enlightening because he comes to the meeting prepared to use my brain.

He always has a list of challenges and issues and we work through each of them during the hour we spend together.

It makes me feel like I’m providing real value to his organization and allows me to hold him accountable (which every leader needs) to the things he agrees to do, and it allows him to learn more about the marketing and communications side of his business.

Early last year, though, the tables were turned. He taught me something that I’ve been using in my own business since.

Use a One-Page Quarterly Plan

That is the one-page quarterly plan.

Many of us create a big five year plan and then shove it into the drawer until October, when we pull it out, laugh at what crazy notions we had, and revise.

In the back of our minds, we know what we’re trying to achieve, but we don’t review the plan again.

This one-page quarterly plan allows you to see what your goals are for the year and the next five years, but more important, what you need to do in the next three months to move you toward those larger goals.

It drives your core values and your purpose and it allows you to ask the questions during every staff meeting, “What are we doing exceptionally well” (this would be opportunities to exceed goal) and “What are we missing?” (this would be threats to making goal).

The One-Page Quarterly Plan Template

I took out all of our information and created a template for you.

This is what it should look like.

One-Page Quarterly Plan

It has your organization’s name and the date (the date should change each quarter).

It allows you to think through your core values and your purpose (which should never change, but could be tweaked as you grow).

It provides the opportunity to write down your revenue, profit margin, and cash goals, as well as where you would like to be in the next three to five years.

In these columns, be sure to write down the dates and resources you’ll need to get you there.

Then name the top three quarterly goals (or rocks, as they’re also known), your deadline, and how you’ll measure.

Think through what kinds of things could happen that will help you exceed goal and also what would prevent you from reaching goal.

Opportunities could be you’re launching a new product or service. Threats could be a competitor has a better product or service that is priced lower.

Hit Q2 Running

Though second quarter began a couple of weeks ago, if you haven’t already done this exercise for your organization, it’s not too late!

Think about where you want to be, how you’re going to get there, and what stands in your way.

Happy goal achieving!

A version of this first appeared on Spin Sucks.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She is the lead blogger at PR and marketing blog, Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing In the Round, and co-host of Inside PR, a weekly podcast about  communications and social media. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is now available.