Our quarterly planning day for our business (checklist & our exact process)

(The following is an abbreviated transcription from a video Linda and I recorded. Please excuse any typos or errors.)

Quarterly Business Planning Process

For the last few years I have been having a quarterly planning day for our business. And, it has been amazing for the business.

The first thing I do is to step out of the office. By doing so, it allows me to get to the 40,000 foot view I need to plan… and to get out of the day-to-day weeds.

When I plan, I evaluate what I want to do for the quarter and then break it out week-by-week. It has been so clarifying for me. And planning helps me waste far less time.

A day for quarterly planning has allowed me to focus on the things that are most important, and that is crucial.

Now before we get into the details of the book, I recorded our discussion that you can listen to on our Podcast. But, if you would rather read the full transcription, you can do so here in this article!

Do we have any Office fans?

Linda: Oh, I really hope so.

Bob: If you are, you are welcome to send us office memes, anytime on Instagram. Just tag us, send ’em our way. You can email ’em to us, whatever we do.

Linda: I actually follow an account that puts up Office videos, cuz I’m like, we’ve watched it several times and it’s still funny to me.

Bob: It is still funny. Did you see that Office clip I posted our stories?

Linda: I did. Is It is really great.

Bob: So I posted this clip to our stories. And it’s probably the smartest thing Michael Scott ever did. 

Linda: Right. There was a lot that he did that was smart, but this it’s so funny. Pam’s face in this is real good, too. Because she’s like, “oh yeah.”

Bob: Yeah. All right. So I’m gonna play it for you cuz it’s just really funny.

A very generous offer and we are prepared to reject that offer. Literally haven’t even heard that never except their first offer. What is your second offer? $12,000. Are you kidding me? That is insultingly low. I don’t even want to hear your first offer was here’s the situation.

Your company is four weeks old. I know this business. I know what suppliers are charging. I know you can’t be making very much money. I don’t know how your prices are so low, but I know it can’t keep up that way. I’m sure you’re scared probably in debt. That’s the best offer you’re gonna get, I’ll see your situation and I’ll raise you a situation.

Your company is losing clients left and right. You have a stockholder meeting coming up and you are going to have to explain to them why your most profitable branch is bleeding. So they may be looking for a little change in the CFO. So I don’t think I need to wait out Dunder Mifflin, but I think I just have to wait out.”

Bob: What was Pam’s face like?

Linda: She just looked at the camera like, “well, none of us saw that coming.”

Bob: Yeah, so good. Which you totally didn’t see that coming? 

Linda: Yeah.

I asked and the community answered

Bob: Anyway, what we’re talking about today on our stories, as well as last week, has to do with my office. So last week on July 1st. (the first day of each quarter), I do a quarterly planning day.

And I put up an Instagram story and just said “Hey, if anybody’s interested,I’ll go through exactly what I do. And I’ll make a podcast about it.” And so here we are. That’s what we’re doing.

Linda: Right. Because you had a good response.

Bob: Oh yeah. A lot of people said they were interested. So I’m like, okay, we’ll make a podcast about it.

I wanna go through a lot of different things that I do, some of these ideas I’ve come up with myself, but most of them I’ve borrowed from other people. Bright and smart people. But I’ve just implemented what has worked for us and pulled in ideas from a lot of different places to find what is working and really helpful for us.

My approach to a quarterly planning day

Bob: So I’m just going to go down this checklist that I have of different things that I do and how I approach a quarterly planning day.

And so we’ll talk about me specifically with the business, cuz I’m typically doing most of this myself at this point (if you want to start your own online business, here are 11 steps you should take).

Linda: I think I’ve been in, on one of those planning days.

Bob: And I wanna get you in on more of them. But a lot of this, I’m doing myself.

Linda: We need a nanny guys.

Selecting our personal goal setting days

Bob: But in next episode I’ll go over our personal goal setting day (why I think you should set a goal). Because we do this personally as well. We go through our personal goal setting and stuff like that, Linda and I together.

So we’ll go over the checklist we use, because that’s been really helpful as well. But we’ll save that for a separate episode, just to keep these topics separate.

Bob: All right. So at the top of this list when I have this quarterly planning day, I normally do this in the first work day of the quarter. So this is April 1st ( then again on July 1st, etc). And it doesn’t really matter when you decide to have your planning day, but this is just a rhythm that has worked well for me. And I’ve enjoyed that.

Your planning location matters

Bob: So another thing that I’ve done that I’ve found to be really helpful is getting out of my actual office and finding a different place to go. Because it’s the same thing that we’ve talked about with the sabbatical over and over again. There’s something about leaving your environment, breaking that default pattern. I think that allows you to think more creatively and there’s actually been scientific studies that have proven this. By getting out of your environment , you’re able to think more creatively. So there’s something actually to that.

I haven’t done this the last couple times but I wanna get back into this habit. What I was doing for a while was actually renting a hotel room in town to just be able to go somewhere else. And it could even be a co-working space. It could be any number of places.

Linda: Your favorite coffee shop?

Bob: Whatever, it doesn’t matter. I mean, I feel a little bit weird sitting in a coffee shop for eight hours. But in theory you could. For me, this is an all day thing. So if I’m doing it right, it’s taking me pretty much the whole day.

Be sure to make it fun

Bob: And along the lines of everything we do, I try to make it fun for myself. I’ll go out to lunch someplace. I want to make it enjoyable, as enjoyable as possible.

Be sure to thank God

Bob: And so going down this checklist, the first thing I’d like to do is thank God for the previous quarter. And you know, just the fact that we’re still in business. Like let’s be thankful about everything, you know?

Linda: Right.

Bob: Thankful that we’re in business, thankful for all the people we’ve gotten to serve. Thankful that He’s provided for us and provided for the business (If you’re a Christian business owner, here are 18 Bible verses you need to know).

I mean, there’s a million things we thankful for. And I think that’s the best place to start. Enter his gates with praise and thanksgiving.

Linda: Mm-hmm. Why not right?

Bob: Yep. So that’s kind of the top of the list.

Be sure to use a project management tool

Bob: Next on the list. And this is where I spend a lot of my time. , it doesn’t really matter what you use.I used Todoist a long time ago. It’s a to-do kind of tool. But now I use a Asana. We actually use this for project management for our company. But I also use it as my life to-do list for everything.

Linda: Yep.

Bob: Pretty much everything I do is kind of in this in some way or another, and in Asana what I do, or whatever to-do list we’re using, I have to dos that I complete throughout the week and things that need to get done. But then ideas will come to mind where it’s like, oh, it’d be great to… whatever, write an article about this. Or it’d be great to maybe collaborate with this person over here. Or, I saw this guy that had a great lead magnet for his website. That’d be a great thing to model after.

Linda: Mm-hmm.

Bob: Like all of these things where it’s like, I can’t do anything with that today. But I can later on. I used to get really overwhelmed cuz I would just have all that stuff in my mind and just keep pushing it off one week after another and just keep kicking the can down the road with no real plan in place for processing all this stuff. And it would just pile up to the point that I was so overwhelmed.

And so now what I’ve done is anytime I get an idea like that, I place it on one of the first days of the quarter. That way I know that I’m gonna see it again. Which if you’ve ever read Getting Things Done, and are familiar with that model… that’s one of the most important things: knowing and trusting in your brain and in your mind that the idea that you have isn’t gonna be lost. And that you’re gonna come back to it. Because when you don’t, when you don’t have any way to capture it and know that it’s there, you carry all the stress in your brain. Because you’re like I gotta make sure I remember this.

Linda: Absolutely.

Bob: But when you get it out of your brain and you get it onto some tool, you can remove that stress. And it actually is so helpful.

The first quarter planning day

Bob: So in that light, what I do is I take these ideas and I dump them on the first of each quarter. And sometimes if it’s like something I’m not gonna even think about for a year or two, I will literally push it all the way out a year out on the first day of that quarter.

Linda: Wow.

Bob: Just knowing that I don’t even need to think about it till then is awesome. So that’s what I do.

Bob: So for the quarter, I’m piling stuff up for that first day of the quarter. And then on day one of the quarter, I go through and process all those different ideas. And I’ll think through the next 12 weeks that are in this quarter. It’s like, what are the big things that I wanna be doing this quarter?

And so for our business, the beginning of this year, it was focusing on our book launch (get your copy of Simple Money, Rich Life today!). And within the book launch, it was a couple different things. Like, how do we assemble a launch team? How do we create a system to do some massive podcast outreach? How do we get on a whole bunch of podcasts?

Linda: The launch party.

Bob: And building a launch party.

So, each quarter might have a week or two or three dedicated to that important thing. But you know, in quarter one or two of the business, like SEO was not a priority. And therefore, I wasn’t going to schedule any SEO related tasks during quarter one or two.

Whereas maybe quarter four of this year, SEO might be something we begin working on. To start developing our search presence a little more. So at the beginning of the quarter, on July 1st, I just went through and I probably had 150, 200 different tasks to go sort out. Now, I have one day where I’m processing all those tasks and I push them out another quarter, or another two quarters or three quarters, if I’m a long way from working on the task. By doing this, I don’t have to think about the task (or idea) for a long, long time.

Breaking out my quarter (the next 12 weeks)

Bob: Or if it’s something that I think we’re gonna be working on in the next quarter, then what I’ll do is I’ll break my quarter out. For this, I have a regular physical calendar that I use.

What I’ll do is I will break my quarter into 12 different weeks. And as best as possible, I’ll assign a significant project for each of those weeks. In which will be the main goal for that particular week. Does this make sense?

Linda: Yes, that makes sense.

Bob: And so, I’ll just walk through a little bit of what I’ve done for this quarter.

Weeks 1-3: Updating our 10X Investing Course

Bob: So for this quarter in July, the top priority for us right now is working on our 10 X investing course. We’re doing a pretty significant update to this course.

There’s been a lot that’s happened with inflation. And there’s been a lot of people asking about investing for kids. So I just wanna fill in some of those content gaps and add more content to the course. There’s also been a lot of people asking about crypto, so we’re gonna add some crypto stuff as well. Anyway, so our 10 X course is just gonna continue to expand and become a better resource.

Already a 10x investing course student?

Bob: And side note, if you are already one of our students, you’re gonna get all these upgrades for free!

Linda: There you go.

Bob: Just as an FYI. And so what’s happening now for these two weeks, and the current week that we’re on. I don’t know when this podcast will come up, but the first two weeks in July I’m working specifically on upgrades or updates to the 10 X course.

And so that means recording content, writing content, creating content (how you can start your own blog). It’ll also mean probably writing some sales emails about the course, cuz we’re gonna launch the course and do some sort of sale. I dunno, probably soon I guess. And that’ll be coming up as well. So that’s what the first two weeks are focused on is that.

Weeks 4-6: Creating a new product

Bob: Then after that, we’re gonna be working on probably our most hands on product. We’re gonna create a new product (check out all of our current courses)!

Linda: That is…? Is it a secret?

Bob: Well, I don’t have a name for it yet. But it’s gonna be a product where it’s the most hands on. Probably the most expensive product we’ve ever released. And the most in depth in terms of helping people create a custom financial plan. Just taking them through everything that we’ve done that’s really made a big difference in our lives.

So anyway, we’re dedicated a few weeks to the planning of that.

Week 7: Crafting a really good lead magnet

Bob: The week after that we’re gonna be working on crafting and creating a really good lead magnet to build our email list better. We’re gonna work on building our funnel a little bit more, too. So we have a week dedicated to that.

These are all things that we’ve already started on and have done. But they can be improved. So we’re spending a week just improving them.

Weeks 8-10: Working on our True Financial Freedom live online class

Bob: The weeks after that we’re gonna be going through and working on our True Financial Freedom class. Continuing to make upgrades. That’s one thing you will find about us and all of our courses and everything we do. We are constantly improving our courses. And they are constantly getting better and better and better.

We take all the feedback that we get and we bake it back into the course. We find out what is really resonating with people and we highlight that more so. Basically all of our stuff is like a fine wine. It just gets better with time.

Weeks 11-12: Miscellaneous etc.

Bob: Beyond that, I like to make sure I have a week or two each quarter that’s pretty much dedicated to the et cetera and the miscellaneous. Because inevitably, stuff does comes up and things will need to move around a little bit. So you definitely need some flexibility in your schedule for this.

Anyway, that’s just a little bit of what we have laid out and how I’m laying things out throughout the quarter.

Sticky notes are key

Bob: My best tip for you is to use sticky notes. So for each week I have sticky notes for each of my to dos.

Linda: That’s a great idea. So then you can move it around if need be.

Bob: Yeah, I can move it if need be. Which works out perfectly because, for example, the beginning of this year we had so many people in our family sick. So much so that things just got kicked back and pushed out to a later date.

Linda: So then you’re like trying to erase everything to rearrange your calendar.

Bob: Yeah. So it was just easier with sticky notes. Then I can just move the note if I need to. This is why a miscellaneous week is really helpful having that buffer.

The first day of the quarter is BIG

Bob: But the point is… that on this first day, I’m going through this big long laundry list of all these ideas. I also try to think what the tasks are that line up with this idea (as I go through each idea). So I went through and looked for all the tasks that are 10 X related.

Then on July 1st, I went through and I had probably five to ten different lesson ideas that I had come up with over the past quarter that I wanted to add to the 10 X course. And all of those ideas were already sitting there.

I then dragged these ideas and dropped them on that first week, cuz that’s where they are. And that’s when I’m gonna work on them. Now on Monday of that first week, I see all those things just sitting there waiting for me.

This process has just been really, really helpful because it gives me a way to categorize and compartmentalize all of these different tasks without it being overwhelming and everything just coming at me a whole bunch of different ways.

Linda: Yeah. That’s good.

Bob: Does that all make sense?

Linda: Yeah. Cause I’ve never talked to you about this.

Bob: I know. And…

Protect your planning day

Linda: Our communication has been like… I’ll say, “Hey, can you help me out with this?” And you respond “no, it’s my planning day.”

Bob: I gotta protect my planning day.

Linda: And I’m like, what the heck is this planning day? And why is it so intense?

Bob: I am very protective of it because it is so important.

So that’s the big picture of what that planning day looks like for me.

Don’t forget to reflect

Bob: So another thing that I do is I also like to look back at the quarter and see what was working. And what didn’t work. Ask those questions. The things that are working all right, should we hit the gas more on that? Should we do more of that? And that’s just an important question to ask.

Finding a schedule that works for you

Bob: There’s been another thing that has worked for me, and it just may work for you too. Now I don’t do this every single quarter because it depends on what our needs and goals are at the moment. But we’ve had some quarters where I really find a creative rhythm. I will batch our content creation and that has worked so well for me.

Linda: Right. I remember when we did this.

Bob: When we were consistently pumping out content for our YouTube channel, which now we’re a little bit less consistent about at the moment. But when we were consistently releasing videos, we would batch them. I think we recorded and edited like 12 videos in one week.

Linda: We were trying to change our clothes in between shots so it didn’t look like we just we just gave up and only have one outfit. 

Bob: We just gave up and I only pretty much want wear black t-shirts now. Sometimes white t-shirts. But anyway, if you ever see me and I’m in a black t-shirt… I do have more than one. I actually have, six.

Linda: Seven. We have a friend who literally bought this electric blue colored shirt.

Bob: Yeah. And he just always has this blue t-shirt on.

Linda: And he’s got a bunch of ’em.

Bob: I think he’s got like 40 of them. Anyway, he has a bunch of them, so it’s always a clean one, but it’s the exact same shirt.

Linda: He wears it every day and you can pick him out of a crowd. Oh, there he is. There he is. It’s where’s Waldo!

Bob: Yeah. Oh, so anyway, so this actually was really helpful as well. And I recommend doing batching work if you can. Depending on what your business looks like.

But wearing the same outfit every day… Yes, I’m exactly kidding. But batching content creation it can really, really be helpful. It does require a good amount of upfront thought, but it was really, really nice taking that week and having all of the video done for the entire quarter.

Linda: Yeah. And there’s some tasks where it makes more sense to do it.

Bob: Without having to consistently think and come up with things each day, every day or whatever.

When batching work hasn’t made sense

Bob: Like with my writing. That was something that was the opposite. for me. I kept trying to batch writing and it just wasn’t working. So I finally decided what makes a lot of sense for my writing process. The rhythm that has worked the best for writing has been just writing every single morning, I write for 30 minutes or 500 words, whatever comes first.

And that’s my rhythm every single morning. That has worked so much better in terms of writing than batch my writing tasks .

Your planning day location matters

Bob: Okay. So When I was consistently going to a hotel, and I think you came to one or two of those, right?

Linda: Yeah.

Bob: In which I tried to get a decently nice hotel that I actually want to sit in, you know? We have one just down the street from our house, that’s not bad. And it’s nice and clean.

Linda: It’s new, right?

Bob: It’s not like a $5,000/night suite or thing. 

Linda: It’s on the company’s dime. We’re like, oh, let’s get the nicest room we can. Right?

Bob: Well a planning location isn’t necessarily a hotel. Like in the summertime, there’s actually this pavilion that’s not far away in our neighborhood. And that’s where I went just a few days ago for my planning day. It’s beautiful pavilion, just landscape beautifully all around. It’s one’s got a garden right next to it, too. And basically no one’s there. I’m all by myself. I actually had only two different people come by. They both said “man, this is a nice office.” I said “yes, it sure is!”

But in the wintertime, going to hotel room makes a little more sense.

Linda: Right.

An awesome tip for you

Bob: I have an awesome tip for those utilizing a hotel for their planning day. What I also do on my planning day is book the hotel room for the next quarter. And that way it’s already booked. Then when the next quarter comes, I don’t have to think about it. There’s no excuse because it’s already booked, you know?

Linda: Yeah.

Bob: And I just go.

Who are planning days are most beneficial for?

Linda: So I’m curious, who do you think this is most beneficial for? Like who is going to probably get the most benefit of it? Cause I think it depends on your job. You know, if you’re flipping burgers, maybe this doesn’t make sense for you in a business aspect. Or even if you’re a nine to five employee, maybe it doesn’t always make sense. I don’t know. Maybe it does depending on your job.

Bob: Yeah. I, would say freelancers and business owners, for sure. You know, outside of that I think if you wanna be an employee who’s thriving and making your boss look good (therefore advancing your career), it’s like you wanna be setting goals. And you wanna be doing some of this stuff, but maybe not all of it. I think that there’s definitely some employees for sure who can benefit from doing a process like this.

Linda: And I’m interested to know if an employee went to their employer or their manager, boss, whatever, and said, “Hey, I really want to make the most on my time. I’d like to spend a day just planning.” I wonder how that conversation would go and what would the fruit be like from that.

Bob: Well, I’ll tell you if you work for me, I’d be all over that.

What does your planning process look like?

Bob: So my question for you, our reader, is what are you doing? I’d love to hear from those of you out there who are running businesses, who are planning and thinking through stuff like this. What is on your planning day, or whenever you do this? What is working really well for you? Send us a DM on Instagram. I want to hear about your planning process, I wanna know your secrets.

Linda: And so we  always wanna know your secrets.

Bob: Yeah. You’ll find this out about me. If you haven’t already. I am an avid learner and kind of obsessed with just continuing to grow and learn and get better and better what I do.

Call to action

Bob: So your action item for today is, even if you’ve never done anything like this before, I recommend to talk to Siri right now. “Hey, Siri, remind me in the first of every quarter to go do a planning meeting.”

Or something like this to set some time aside to specifically plan out your next quarter. To get to the 40,000 foot view of your business. To step out of the weeds to step out of the day to day to look at the high, the big, picture. Because, it’s just been so helpful for me to step back and look at these 12 weeks, each quarter. And to determine what the most important thing is to work on for those weeks before I get into them.

I gotta put out all the “fires” that may occur in the business. And I have to answer all the emails that are coming in (have you signed up for our emails?)… and anything else that may come up.

With all the things that may happen each day, I go into each week with a game plan. And, I know the most important thing to work on for the week no matter what may come up. And that has been so incredibly helpful for my business.

Linda: That’s great.

Bob: So that’s your homework. I encourage you to try this out. Take a day and plan out the goals for your next quarter. And come back and let me know how it works for you. I’d love to hear your results. Send us an email or DM us on Instagram.

The Seedtime Money Podcast

Bob: And if you haven’t listened to our Podcast yet, you should! We strive to help you have success with money, success in your marriage and success as a Christian.

Linda: With that, I’ve got a podcast review. Oh yeah!

Bob: Let’s read it. Yeah, these are just pumping us up.

Bob: Everyone is welcome to leave a review on iTunes or anywhere else you may listen to podcasts. 

Linda: Love it, because it really is encouraging for us.

Bob: It’s inspiring for us and it helps push us forward. Be sure to send us a DM on Instagram after you do.

Linda: Then we can race over there and read it.

Bob: And Linda and I can go celebrate!

Seedtime Money Podcast Review

Linda: Okay. So this review was titled: Feeling Stuck. It’s from Corlawes. How do you say that?

Bob: Oh, I don’t know how to say that… core laws?  

Linda: Maybe. I know we’re saying that wrong. Sorry! But, okay here is what a the review reads:

Thank you both for the work you are doing. Your testimony has BLESSED and encouraged me to keep going in the assignment Father God has given me. I care for my grandchildren which I enjoy, however I have made some foolish choices in finances. He has proven to me over and over again He is my Source. Listening to you guys, I am learning a better way to use finances. God BLESS you and your family. “

Linda; Oh, that is awesome. I appreciate it. 

Bob: Yeah, thanks for the kind words. They’re such a blessing to us. 

Linda: I know. And it’s just exciting to hear that God is doing something like this. You know, we’re doing our best to share what we’ve learned and what God’s put on our heart to share. But it’s exciting when we hear that God is moving in people’s lives.

Bob: Yep. That’s the goal! Anyway, take care. Be blessed. Be a blessing.

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