First Quarter is in the Books: The Most Important Time to Assess Your Company’s Performance

Screen with Key Performance Indicators
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If your company’s fiscal calendar runs on the Julian Calendar, then your first quarter is now over. This may well be the most important time to really look at your business. What makes this time frame so important? It could be the last opportunity to make key changes that can impact the rest of this year for a number of reasons, including:

  • Sales Cycle – depending on the industry and product, decisions and budgets can be six months or more out.
  • Supply Chain – particularly this year, any changes to your production forecast (like the sales cycle) can be six months or more.
  • Marketing Plans – an evaluation of the business performance now can impact your business in the fall.
  • Expenses – do you need to pull back based on sales and projections or increase spending to achieve your results?

So, where do you start? First, take the time to review where you have been to get a firm picture of where you need to go. A backward look at the last three months, including sales, margins, inventory position, and overall industry performance will provide you with the insight to move forward with necessary adjustments.

In addition, attention to the following leading indicators will further prepare you to maximize your company’s potential for the remainder of the year:

  • Sales pipeline – how full is the funnel at each stage? What can be closed in the next nine months?
  • Review your weighted pipeline – what percent of your budget are you at? How does this compare to historical results?
  • Key clients – how is their business performing?
  • New prospects – now is the time to work them through the sales funnel.
  • Supply chain – inventory and work-in-process- does it mesh with your orders and projected incoming business? Look to make the adjustments now.
  • Personnel – no resource is more important! Are there any issues or concerns? Upcoming long-term out-of-office for your team? Are your best performers supported to succeed? Be sure they are not being overlooked as less productive employees take up time and resources.

The time you take now to address these areas can yield tremendous results to both increase your performance as well as reduce your risk.