To do: make a quarterly report

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q reportThe quarter of this year is over and I just submitted my tax report to the authorities. It’s actually a financial statement including how much taxes I’ve paid on my purchases and how much I have received for my services. I shows very well how I did on a financial level over the last 3 months.

At the time that I worked for an engineering company, one of my tasks was to write a quarterly report. This was a good way to analyse the last few months and to set goals for the next ones. I just realized how strange it is that we (usually) don’t make this analysis as an small business owner or as being self-employed. “Well, there’s no one asking me to write one”, you might say.

For businesses it’s quite common to write a quarterly report. Investors want to know how well their money is doing and management wants to know if the company is still going in the right direction at the right speed. As a small business owner, you invest a lot of time and money in your company. Don’t you want to know these things as well?

First of all, get the hard facts: How much have you earned (I) and how much did you spend (C)? The difference of these figures is your result, your profit (R = I – C). As a startup (like me…) this figure might me confronting but that brings me to point two.

Writing your own report gives you the possibility to reflect. How come that I have this result? Did I miss an opportunity or was I not daring/bold enough?  It’s a good time to think on how you’re doing and to see if you’re heading (if you’re moving at all) in the right direction.

Third, you should review your goals, were they clear enough?  Which ones did I reach and which ones need adjustment? Perhaps there are new goals or goals that need to be dismissed. Too many goals could diminish your enthusiasm. When setting goals, promise yourself that you will do your very best to reach that goal. In my case, one of my goals for the next quarter is:

“I will help 20 people help themselves”

Fourth, you might want to need to learn new skills to enhance your product. I jotted down that I will follow a course to learn a new model on how to help my clients (engineers) to better and systematically (re)design their career. This can be on a professional or a personal level.

Fifth, you might want to (re)develop your product. Is it still appealing to your clients? Does it still create value? This means do clients actually use your product? Do they come back? Do they refer you or your product to someone else? I my case, I want to increase this by learning a new skill and to….

Finally, include a plan for marketing and networking activities in the report. These might to go to conferences and presentations. Announcements for these are found on the websites of your branch organization, of your peers or on LinkedIn. This means to go out there and tell what you’re doing, how you can help and to find out what others need. Or, by writing a blog, which I am starting to enjoy doing…!

Your quarterly report can be a page written using a pencil or a full color booklet. It depends how much time and effort you want to put into it. The point is that it helps you to focus and to keep you on track.

When are you going to submit your quarterly report? Which items does your report include? Let me know in the comment box below. I am looking forward reading from you!

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