3 Tips for Preparing for Q4
With everyone focused on back to school and those warm summer football nights still lingering, Q4 feels as far away as graduating high school does to a high school freshman. Realistically, those end of year last-minute pushes and those detailed reporting needs are already budding in the background, long before the leaves turn rusty red. Q4 often poses a distinct challenge to businesses due to heavy volumes of information processing at odds with vacation/personal days taken during the winter holiday season. Preparing for Q4 doesn’t have be as stressful as rush-hour snowfall.
Preserve some budget.
If you want to prevent a scene that resembles an irritable Black Friday crowd that was just informed the registers went down for maintenance, stock away enough budget to cover any potential staffing shortfalls. Gaps in man hour coverage, whether due to lack of ample personnel or overtime hours, create undue stress at a time of year when employees are often feeling a little pinched in their personal lives. Added last-quarter demands amp up the stress even further. Everyone wins, especially your clients and customers, when the budget was saved and staffing is at optimal levels.
CBNation suggests that another way to strategically prepare your business for Q4 is by analyzing your small business data. Closed-loop marketing occurs when you make full use of your data to market your service or product, allowing your small business to become more efficient.
Bring in extra hands.
With the increased needs associated with end of year reporting, the work load soars at the end of the year. Hire people who can pitch in and cover rotating vacations or that ad hoc reporting need. Temporary candidates are perfect for this type of work, because you can bring them on when you need them, and when busy season is over, go back to your permanent staff members.
Identify hiring needs before you have them.
Q4 often spurs HR needs as people choose to retire toward the end of the year, in addition to the workload and temporary ramp ups. Between extra work and personal time, meeting all the regular work deadlines and needs is difficult enough. For many businesses, Q4 can look like this scenario: You’ve got two of your best sales leaders volunteering at the local food bank the week before Thanksgiving, half of your IT master level ninjas are living on espresso and recycled comedy routines trying to crank out that new database for early Q1, and you know you shouldn’t admit it, but your favorite vice president is going to leave you needing tissues as he retires. This whole situation could spiral out of control, except through your careful assessment in Q3, you identified your needs and already have staff in short-term to help sales, you hired a new IT person to manage the old system as the new one is put in place, and the new hire VP gets to spend three beneficial weeks sitting beside one of the company’s best and brightest.
You spend time, energy and money attracting high level talent to your company because you want the best personnel to move your company forward. Creating a positive experience for your applicants will improve your ability to hire your highest ranked candidate and your corporate brand.
Q4 doesn’t have to become something you dread as much as Aunt Tessy’s recycled fruitcake joke. You have talent needs, and we have talent answers. At Artemis Consultants, we can help you plan ahead and start filling your talent gaps now.