What We’d Be Working on Right Now If I Were Your COO: Q1 Edition

Welcome to the 2021 Q1 Edition of, “What We’d Be Working on If I Were Your COO.” 

At the close of each quarter, I’ll guide you through the exact processes and reflections I work on with my COO clients throughout the year. You can expect actionable guidance, deep reflection, and ways to enhance your business systems to reach your goals. 

Curious about what we’ve covered so far? Check out the 2020 Q4, 2021 Q2 and 2021 Q3 blogs.

Can you believe we’re already at the end of Q1 of 2021? It feels like just yesterday I was writing about wrapping up your 2020 and starting 2021 strong

But here we are, the end of the first quarter – which should really be your first major check-in with yourself and your business this year!

But, what does that check-in look like? What should be covered?

I’m going to take you through the three things we’d be covering right now if I were your COO!

Goals: Review, Measure, & Refine

Remember those goals we set at the beginning of the year? The Financial Goals, Succes Goals, and That One Big Ultimate Goals?

With one quarter ending and another beginning, it’s time to review, measure, and refine them!

To do this effectively you’ll need to:

  1. Review your goals to make sure they still align with your vision! Because things change and visions change. So before you start sitting down and measuring progress, think critically about each goal you set at the beginning of the year. It’s not worth measuring progress against a goal that no longer serves you!
  2. Measure your progress against each goal. Use metrics, KPIs, testimonials, anecdotal evidence, and milestones to see the progress you’ve made. Then figure out if you’re on track with your original plan.
  3. Refine your goals as needed. Those goals that no longer align? Now’s the time to decide if they go by the wayside or if you update them to better guide your growth. It’s also the time to look at the goals where your progress is off-track and think about why. Do you need to refine the plan, timeline, or reset expectations around the goal? Make those updates now, so you continue to move in the right direction!

Setting goals is important, but it’s not nearly as powerful if you aren’t actively using them to guide you as you grow.

Taking this time as we close out Q1 to review, measure, and refine your will help you grow with intention!

Taxes: Pay & Plan

Alright…taxes and all the work around them is undoubtedly one of my least favorite parts of being a business owner. But it’s super important to stay on top of! And they play a big role in Q1.

The requirements, timelines, and processes change so drastically based on your location, services, business model, how you’re filing, and so many other factors. And I’m not an accountant, so I’m not going to go too deep into this one. 

But, I will tell you that one recommendation I give to every one of my clients is to get a good accountant specializing in small businesses and their location. Even better if that accountant also specializes in their industry! 

Hiring an accountant was a major step in my business, and it’s been worth every penny! So, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you find one ASAP.

Tax deadlines vary. Here in the US, our big deadline is April 15th (right around the corner!). It’s so important to have your things in order and filed properly on time. You never want to pay penalties or get tied up in an audit or legal process because you failed to plan. Additionally, there are instances where filing an extension might make sense, but if you are considering that, make sure to discuss it with your accountant first. 

The other thing to note here is that, in the US, most self-employed individuals are required to pay their taxes quarterly (again, talk to your accountant to see if this is required for you!). Now’s the time to get a plan in place for those quarterly payments as well. Meet with your accountant and make sure you know your estimated payments, deadlines, and who/where they need to go! Managing this throughout the year will save you from a big headache and potentially a major bill at the end of the year.

So, find an accountant that can get to know you and your business and guide you as you navigate taxes and finance as a business owner. If it’s something you’ve been putting off, now’s the time to do it!

And if you already have an accountant and your taxes filed, well done, and congratulations! The peace of mind of knowing it’s taken care of and done correctly feels so good, doesn’t it?

Content: Review & Update

You know all that evergreen content you have out there working for you? Your website, email nurture sequence, social media bios, etc.? 

When was the last time you reviewed them? 

It’s probably been a hot minute! (Maybe the very beginning of Q1? Or longer ago?)

So set some time aside and do a review of everything. 

This content is so important. It’s what people find when they connect with you, search for you, or start shopping for your services. 

And it’s crazy how quickly it can get out of date. 

The worst part of this content getting outdated is that we usually don’t notice it right away! So, once per quarter, I have all my COO clients set aside some time to give it a read-through. 

During our review, we flag updates to be made. Then we go through and re-write, re-link, or re-work anything that is out of date so that when new leads, prospects, peers, or clients come across it, the information they receive is relevant, up to date, and in line with our current branding and offerings.

It can be tedious, but it pays off! 

And it’s so much easier to handle when you stay on top of it with a quarterly check-in!

BONUS: Systems: Checkup & Cleanup

Ok, if you’ve been around here for any amount of time, you probably know I love systems. So I couldn’t wrap this up without throwing in a bonus tip and reminding you to give your systems a little TLC.

Much like your evergreen content, systems that are set it and forget it are amazing. They are total game changers in your business. But, they can go out of date. And when they do, it often takes us too long to notice!

So set aside some time to do a Q1 systems review and cleanup. 

Some things to look out for as you review your systems:

  • Are they organized and up to date?
  • Are your automations and workflows still running properly?
  • Are your linked resources still operating correctly?
  • Are integrations still functioning properly?
  • Are any canned emails or templates current? (If you already took care of these in your content review, kudos!)

Make sure that any changes in your business are reflected in your systems! You may need to update how things are managed or organized. You may need to add or remove things. Or you may need to create new workflows or automations. 

Last but not least, do a system cleanup. Clean out the clutter by getting rid of templates you don’t use anymore and archiving or closing out old projects and files (Hint: you should have a system or process for this!)

Outdated or bogged down systems won’t serve you well.

So put a little time into a systems checkup and cleanup so your business can keep running like the well-oiled machine that it is!

As we wrap up the first quarter and head into Q2, take a moment and run through these important pieces of your business. 

Try setting aside a CEO day or two and give your business ops a little attention. 

I know for many creative entrepreneurs, these aren’t the most fun tasks you’ll perform in your business, but I can’t stress enough how important each and every one of them are. They keep your business foundation strong. And every successful business is built on a solid foundation. (It’s key to working smarter, not harder!)

If you get hung up on anything, reach out. I’d be more than happy to chat through it or give you another perspective!

And at the end of all of this, look at all that you’ve accomplished in Q1 and all that you are set to accomplish in Q2 and beyond…and celebrate!

You’ve worked hard to get here, and your work, your progress, and your successes deserve a celebration!

  1. […] about what we’ve covered so far? Check out the 2020 Q4 and 2021 Q1 […]

Let's Connect!
Follow Me  @erincantwellco