5 Best Approaches in Dealing with the Dreaded Third Quarter

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Third quarter – just the sound of it makes business leaders jump in fear. They have watched the second quarter of the year into becoming “yesterday” and eventually, whether they like it or not, they have no other choice but to face the dread that is the 3rd quarter. Why is that so? I can give you 2 reasons. First, it is the second to the last quarter of the year, which connects to more planning and more action plans before a company fully achieve its target goal for the year. Those business plans that were proved to be unrealistic or just another product of “trial and error” should be delivered straight to the garbage bin and start making plans that really work.

Second, In the northern hemisphere, August (which is at the 3rd quarter) is the depth of summer. There’s a famous quip about Canada that says that it had two seasons: winter and August. Why? Because in August, business is in hibernation having a laid-back mood. Therefore, business leaders should be very particular and keen with the way they approach their business and deal with the entire quarter.

We all should pass the third quarter, no matter how “dreadful” it is. It is an inescapable engagement, the only thing we have, despite its vivid, horrific notion. Business leaders should take a moment to reflect on what was done during the 2nd quarter, and sort out what to keep and what to throw away. You may want to change your approach this time as you take what you can get and you’ll wake up greeting the 3rd quarter with open arms.

Here are 5 Best Approaches that you can do to deal with the dreaded third quarter:

The Blank Canvass Approach

Each day is a blank canvass. The moment you step into your office, or open your computer to check your business, remove yourself from the equation. This helps in looking at your business objectively. View yourself as an independent entity, where its success or failure is dependent on your objective comments.

Differentiation and Affirmation Approach

Sorting out your employees helps to consider or reconsider a vital step for business implementation. Dissect every critical part of your business. Take a moment with your employees and conduct a candid, no-holds-barred dialogue about their team and direct supervisors. This helps in sorting the root cause of any issue. Make an assessment as you sort your employees into different groups and label them with Groups A, B, and C:

A – The challenged and disproportionately rewarded.
B – Needs encouragement and be affirmed.
C – The “rank and yank” group

Connecting the Dots Approach

This approach can be accomplished by using data visualization tools. Mapline users for example use map visuals and embed the maps to their websites. By doing so, they can understand what’s really going on with their company instead of just dealing with spreadsheets. Every line or mappoint conveys timely insight to better understand and accurately interpret the information presented. Data visualization tools help solve the riddle of how to connect your business with your intended customers in half the time.

The Customer Approach

You may be surprised to learn that who you think your customers are are far different from who they really are. Unless you spend time analyzing the demographics and geographic locations, you can never understand what makes them tick as well as their problems. You will never defy the dreadfulness of the third quarter unless you really know your customers. It is best to use business intelligence tools to help you sort out your customers and potential market.

The Business Savvy Approach

You don’t really need to have an MBA to start a business. All you need is a full understanding of finances and management. Therefore, NEVER do these:
Mix your personal and business finances
Un-manage your staff
Quit when things go wrong

Apply some basic business marketing approach. This can be done by spending an hour or two, even 3 times a week to read and really study a few marketing books. Read a lot of blogs posts or articles online and teach yourself about social media and its usage to your company. Attend seminars, classes and workshops. Let other successful people help you. Use resources to beef up the skills you’re weak in.

With these 5 approaches, you will never feel terrified facing the 3rd quarter. Start making the necessary changes that will improve your business. As the great Carl Jung wrote: “We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning. For what was great in the morning will be little in the evening. For what was true in the morning, in the evening will have become a lie.” We hope to see you more successful in the 4th quarter!

Marga Dela Cruz
Marga Dela Cruz is a thought leader and a consultant in data analysis and data visualization. She works in Mapline, a business mapping software that helps organizations simplify data and use it to optimize logistics, enhance market planning, identify growth opportunities, or mitigate market risks.

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