2023 1st Quarter Review: How well have you performed?
The first quarter of every business year is very important. At the beginning of the year, new targets are set, the members of staff are all pumped up; the adrenalin is still high, the goals are fresh and determination to meet and surpass target is paramount. Many researchers have said that the greatest business strides are made in the first quarter of the year; it may not record the highest profit but the foundations are laid in these first few weeks of the year. However, some years come with external policies and shake-ups that tend to disrupt the business plans and expectations of entrepreneurs. In Nigeria, for instance, many entrepreneurs have described the first quarter of this year as challenging and chaotic. First, they had to deal with the fallouts of the financial policies that actually caused a cash crunch in the country. Add that to the disruptions due to the national elections into key political offices and they all have a full dossier of plans gone askew.
Whether the first quarter went smoothly or roughly, a constant review and re-evaluation of goals is very important. Readjusting your goals following a significant disruption to your business activity will ensure your company can respond to these changes quickly. By reviewing your business goals regularly, especially at the end of each quarter, it is possible to build a resilient long-term strategy and also develop a nimble business that can respond to changes promptly. Consolidate your gains by reviewing the strategies that made significant impact and adjust your plans where necessary to accommodate business failures and hitches.
A first quarter business review should be planned like a business retreat but of course, it would not take more than a few hours. Remember that the objective is to see where you are lagging behind in the plan towards the achievement of your overall goals and how quickly and best you can adjust your steps in order to be back on stride.
As with an end of year review, key staff would be involved, especially the management staff, the heads of units and the financial team. A quarterly goals review session is like a military tactics drill; every officer knows that his actions could cause the death or growth of the organisation. Departmental updates would be tabled and analysed, key challenges would be addressed and solutions would be set out.
There are several reasons why a detailed review is necessary at the end of every quarter.
- Adhoc solutions only bring epileptic growth. The quick decision taken by a presiding officer at the point of a challenge is good only in the short term. A well planned and executed business is one where the goals are properly set out and plans are drawn carefully to achieve the goals. The idea is to build a long-term strategy that works always.
- Staff participation and enthusiasm is recharged following goal reviews. There is a confidence that creeps up in the staff when they see how well the organisation is doing and what impact their contributions has on the overall success of the business. A documented entrepreneur discovered the potency of this piece of information and charged his officers with the job of translating the annual goals into monthly goals and weekly goals. Each week the departments analysed their achievements and where necessary adjusted their strategies. By keeping everyone’s eyes on the overall goals of the organisation, the entrepreneur did not just achieve the desired goals but had raised incredibly efficient staff.
- Solutions can come from unexpected quarters. It is good to keep the goals review session as open as possible and to encourage staff participation; it is really true that two good heads are better than one.
- Reviewing your goals and mapping out steps to increase productivity sends out a clear message to the staff that meeting the goals is non-negotiable.
Key things to look out for would be:
- What went wrong?
- Actions/ steps that could have been avoided and how?
- Actions taken and how they impacted on the expected target.
- What should be done to recoup lost ground or build on achievements?
- Outstanding officers and why they merit a pat on the back.
- Assign responsibilities and timelines.
In all, the attention is on growth of the organisation – turnover, profitability and market value.
You still have 9 months so don’t let a moment waste. The goals are still achievable.
Fatherhood with Ibe
WHEN YOUR TEENAGER IS A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE (Part 2)
Ado’s son, Benjamin joined him in my house in less than 30 minutes. He appeared to be alarmed at being summoned to my house and was more so when he saw his father waiting for him.
Father and son were engaged in a form of argument when I summoned them into my mini-conference room. Ben greeted me and stood respectfully till I waved him into a seat. As he sat down, I quickly assessed him. His wristwatch didn’t look cheap at all, at a glance I would say it would have cost around $300. His phone was the latest Samsung model. He was dressed like a typical teenager; sweat pants, hoodie and a nice clean pair of sneakers.
“Have you moved out of your parents’ home?” I asked him. He seemed startled by the question.
“Not really, Sir,” Ben replied, after a sharp glance at his father. “I play the drums in a rock band and sometimes, it is easier to stay with the other band mates so that we can rehearse together.” He replied.
Ado shot him a quick glance and shook his head but said nothing. I asked Benjamin how often his band was invited for events and if those invitations were always spontaneous; I was trying to find out if the gigs were enough to keep him away from the house as frequently as his father had said and if they could fund his lifestyle which, I surmised, was not cheap. Ben seemed to know where I was going so he responded that rehearsals could take some days and sometimes they stayed in the home of one of the band mates or at the studio.
“Why do you think it is unnecessary to tell your parents your whereabouts? I asked.
“I often tell my mom.” He said but his dad refuted that instantly.
“Do you have a day job, a 9-5 job?” I asked. He looked a bit uneasy.
“I used to have one but….”
“Don’t disrespect Odogwu by telling lies, Benjamin.” His father quickly cut in.
“I am not telling any lie,” Benjamin said calmly. He turned to me and said that he left the job he had a while back.
“Is there anything else that you do apart from the occasional band gigs?” I asked the boy.
He hesitated and shook his head.
I told him what his father had told me about going to the office of the man who was said to have given him car and accommodation and finding out that it was all fake.
“Now that the story is out, I think you should come clean and tell your father the truth. Who gave him the car and accommodation?” I asked directly.
“I did.” Ben replied in a sombre voice. Ado threw his hands in the air and exclaimed dramatically.
“You did? How did you manage to do that?” I asked the young man.
“I told you Odogwu, he has joined those yahoo yahoo boys. He’s always pressing his phone. I don’t know why I did not suspect earlier.” His father lamented.
“Sir, my friends helped me to rent the place and the car is for one of the band members.” Ben stuttered.
“More lies!” His father shouted.
“I would like you to invite the person over. It is important for your father to know the person who has been so magnanimous.” I said to him. There was a look of panic in his eyes.
“I told you that he is lying, Odogwu.” Ado said to me. “If we call that person he just mentioned, it will be another disgrace. You should have seen how foolish I felt when I met his so–called boss?”
“Daddy, I only wanted to help. I knew you would not accept those things if I said they came from me.”
“Of course, I would not have accepted them. I may not have money but I have fear of God.” Ado said piously.
Ben lowered his head and muttered that he was only trying to help.
“How did you get the car?” I asked him again.
He said that he bought it from someone who was relocating to Canada.
“How did you get the money?” I asked. “Are you involved in internet fraud as your father suspects?”
“It’s not really fraud, Sir. We just tell white lies to gullible people and if they send money, my friends and I share it.”
“In other words, you con innocent people into sending you their hard earned money?” I asked.
“They even engage in money rituals.” Ado was almost in tears.
“No, Dad, I have never engaged in any ritual.” Benjamin exclaimed hotly. In a lower voice, he said, “Dad was working so hard and things were not getting better. The money I was paid as a cleaner at that office was too small to be of any significant help so when I saw some friends making money online, I decided to join them.”
“Your intentions were good but the route you took is bad… infact, it is terrible.” I said. I tried to educate him about the devastation that their victims go through, with some even ending their lives. I told him the legal implications, explaining the penalties. He listened quietly, infact I saw a trickle of tears run down from his face and drop on his clasped hands on the table.
“I just wanted to help.” He muttered again.
“You should know better than to give me that kind of help. I would rather borrow and work all day and night than have my son associate with people who take joy in collecting the life savings of some other people or killing people for money rituals.” Ado stated sternly.
“I have never visited a native doctor, you have to believe me ….” Ben cried.
“It starts gradually, if you are heartless enough to defraud someone of his hard earned money, who says you can’t kill to get more. They could even tell you to bring your father or your mother.”
Father and son were getting quite emotional again.
I cut in at this point.
“Benjamin, I believe you have heard all that we have said; what is the next course of action now?”
“I will stop hanging out with my friends and maybe get a job.” He said looking at his dad.
“There’s not much that you will earn with your current qualifications.” I pointed out.
“I want him to prepare for admission into a tertiary institution.” Ado said.
“Dad, how would you cope financially with three of us in the university? I don’t think the cab business is enough….”
“I am not driving that cab anymore. I can’t, now that I know how you got it.” Ado declared vehemently.
Finally, we agreed that Benjamin will put the car up for sale and use the money to fund his education. Ado also insisted on moving his family out of the apartment. Ben promised to start the process of getting admitted into the university and begged his father for forgiveness.
I was glad that father and son had resolved their misunderstanding.
Indeed, there are many opportunities that have opened up due to technological advancement but taking advantage of the gullibility of another person in order to defraud the person is not smartness, it is just sheer wickedness. I wish many culprits would see the moral injustice of their actions and change their ways.
As Ben and his father left my house, I hoped fervently that he would stay on the right path and not get entangled into any form of illegality.