Last week, children all over Luxembourg returned to school, returning to old habits after a smooth summer.
For startups and companies, it is the same drill. September is the perfect month to put your ducks in rows, organize your Q4 clearly, and plan for the year to come.
Going back to the office in September, you probably still have open or unresolved emails. Before diving back to work, clean your inbox, and close any unfinished business discussions you may have started during the summer.
The core aspect of this Q4 quarter is setting up the budget for the following year. This means following up with your sales team to close as efficiently as possible all the open deals they have, especially any with a big corporation, as many of them are closing their budget in November and planning the one for next year.
Usually, the last quarter of the year is dedicated to "winter cleaning". It starts in September with refreshing the dashboard.
Most companies have one sheet with all the diagrams:
- what is the daily or monthly number of visitors or customers,
- what is the conversion rate,
- what is the retention rate,
- and many more specific to your business.
But maybe some elements in this dashboard are not needed anymore, so review it and amend it accordingly. You can consolidate it, and make it more useful for you.
Then, use Q4 to review all the KPIs (key performance indicators) that have been put in place for the year. You need to assess which KPIs you are ahead of, and which ones you are behind on, and then conduct some analysis.
What is the reason for falling behind on some of your KPIs? Is it because you set a target that was too high? Or did you have some setbacks during the year? Conducting a proper and diligent KPIs analysis will allow you to do better next year. This analysis will also help you build your roadmap and set your OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for the coming year.
If you are a small startup, you can start calculating your runway to ensure everything is correct, avoid nasty surprises, and be precise on how many months your business can keep operating before it's out of money. In any case, Q4 isTHEquarter to check your dashboard and your KPIs and plan your OKRs.
As a CEO/founder, you need to have a core focused topic for the coming year besides making the business thrive. Think of that, ask your team and define one core goal:
- 2023 is the year to have a cleaner code,
- or 2023 is the year to reduce customer support load…
The last quarter of the year is as much about closing open deals to finish the year successfully as improving all the admin details you have swept under the rug and reviewing your technical debt.
First, use some time during Q4 to prepare your January taxes, check that everything is in order, and anticipate for next year. If there are other main admin issues or problems, use all the last months of the year to fix them and start fresh next year.
Finally, and most importantly, review your technical debt. In software development, technical debt is the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution instead of using a better approach that would take longer.
Reviewing your technical debt means performing an audit, listing all the bugs, possible improvements, reviewing customer's reports, analyzing which bugs have the most significant impact, and adding them to the next year's roadmap.
This may sound anecdotal, but sending holiday cards and messages in December takes time. Anticipate as much as you can and plan.
Use the time to create your card or template, define the messages, and pre-write personal notes to your customers, board members, and investors to nourish the relationships.
Company culture, especially today, is fundamental, and even more if your team is full-remote.
As the CEO/founder of your company, you need to think ahead about what you will do with your team. It can be:
- a white elephant gift exchange, which is a party game where fun gifts are exchanged;
- a Secret Santa in which members of your team are randomly assigned a person to whom they give a gift;
- organizing a team building
- a retreat with your team to celebrate the achievements of the year,
If you have any other end of the year celebration idea,send them over!