How to set quarterly goals to achieve your long-term vision


If you have a vision for your business but you struggle to make it a reality, don’t worry – you’re not alone! Many small business owners feel overwhelmed by the amount of work in front of them. And when you’re too busy with the day-to-day grind, it can be hard to find the clarity and direction you need to grow your business.

While it can be hard to get ahead through the overwhelm, there’s one powerful way to achieve your long-term goals – you need to start by setting quarterly goals.

Quarterly goals are short-term stepping stones that help you get to that long-term vision for your business. They help you focus your efforts, motivate your team and measure your progress as you go.

And because quarterly goals focus on short-term incremental actions, they allow plenty of room to adapt and pivot when our business needs changes. Because as we all know, in business, the ability to adapt to changing environments is key to long-term success.

In this blog, I’ll show you how you can set quarterly goals, make them relevant to your long-term dreams and stay on track to actually achieve them.

Let’s go!

Why quarterly goals are the best hack for helping your business grow

Quarterly goals are short-term goals you set for your business every three months to help get you to your longer-term goals and overall vision for your business. Like all good goals, they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).

When your goals are too big, they become unachievable. And when success seems so far away, it’s easy to get disheartened and give up.

Quarterly goals are the productivity and motivational hack you need because they help you:

  • break down your big goals into smaller, more manageable tasks
  • focus on the most important and pressing priorities
  • track your progress and adjust your strategy as you go
  • celebrate you and your team’s mini achievements along the way.

There’s so much to love about quarterly goals, but I think the best thing about them is that they help you stay motivated and committed as you work towards long-term vision one step at a time.


How to set quarterly goals for your business

Setting goals can seem like a super scary thing to do, but it’s not as hard s it seems. All you need to do is follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Review your annual goals and long-term vision

To ensure your quarterly goals help you along that road to achieving your big-picture goals, you need to review your annual goals and long-term vision for your business as part of the planning process. These are the ultimate outcomes you want to achieve by the end of the year. Your long-term goals will usually align with your business mission and values to ensure you stay focused on your purpose.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I want to achieve in my business this year?
  • How are things going so far?
  • What challenges am I facing?
  • What opportunities can I make the most of?
  • What changes or adjustments do I need to make?

Write down your annual goals and keep them as your ultimate target while setting and assessing your quarterly goals.

Step 2: Break it down into quarterly sized chunks

Once you have your bigger picture vision sorted, you need to brainstorm how you can break it all down into smaller quarterly goals. That means you need to think about what actions you can take over the next three months to get you closer to achieving your long-term goals. Note: you’re not trying to completely tick off your annual goals here. You’re taking meaningful, practical and actionable steps towards achieving them.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the most important or urgent tasks or projects I need to complete?
  • What are the resources or support I need to achieve these goals?
  • How will these goals benefit my business, my team or my customers?

Breaking down your annual goals into these smaller steps will remove the overwhelm and help you focus on achieving each small step at a time.

Step 3: Pick your top three quarterly goals

Once you have your list of possible quarterly goals, you need to prioritise the ones that will be the most effective in helping you achieve your annual goals. These are the quarterly goals that will move the needle and have the most long-term impact on your business.

Ask yourself:

  • Which goals are realistic and attainable in the next three months?
  • Which goals need to come first, and which ones need to wait?
  • Which goals are most aligned with my values and vision?

Pull out your top three quarterly goals and move to the next step.

Step 4: Make your quarterly goals SMART

After you’ve pulled out your top three quarterly goals, you need to make them SMART.

This means your goals must be:

  • Specific – clear and concise, not vague or ambiguous.
  • Measurable – quantifiable and trackable, not subjective or intangible.
  • Achievable – realistic and attainable, not impossible or unrealistic.
  • Relevant – aligned with your annual goals and vision, not irrelevant or unrelated.
  • Time-bound – on a deadline or timeframe, not open-ended or indefinite.


For example, ‘I want to increase my sales’ isn’t a SMART goal. A SMART goal would be, ‘I want to increase my sales by 10% in Q3 by launching a new service or client offer.’

Step 5: Turn your quarterly goals into monthly and weekly actions

This last step is one of the most important in making sure you achieve your quarterly goals, because this is where the action happens! Now it’s time to break your quarterly goals down into monthly and weekly actions. These are the specific steps or tasks that you need to take to achieve your quarterly goals.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I need to do each month to achieve my quarterly goal?
  • What do I need to do each week to achieve my monthly goal?
  • What do I need to do each day to achieve my weekly goal?

This break down gives you a clear task map to follow for the quarter so you can put ticks against each of your quarterly goals. And with each quarterly tick, you know you’re a step closer to achieving those big annual goal ticks by the end of the year.

How to achieve your quarterly goals

Now that you’ve set your quarterly goals, you’ve won the first part of the battle. The second half is achieving them. Here are my top tips to help you stay focused and achieve those well-planned quarterly goals:


  • Display your goals somewhere visible – where you’ll see them every day.
  • Plot out your actions in a calendar or planner – doesn’t matter if it’s paper or software, whatever works best for you!
  • Assign roles and responsibilities to you and your team – make sure everyone knows who is doing what so there is accountability.
  • Track your progress and performance – set up a system or use a tool to ensure you keep on track.
  • Review your goals and actions regularly – and adjust if needed as you go (part of the beauty of quarterly goals is you can make small adjustments without completely changing the plan).
  • Celebrate your milestones and achievements along the way – include your team and supporters, who’ll love being part of your shared success.
  • Reward yourself and your team for all your hard work and dedication!


Example quarterly goals (you can totally steal)

If you need quarterly goal inspo, look no further! Here are some examples of quarterly goals you can use or adapt for your business.

  • Increase website traffic by 20% in Q3 by implementing SEO best practices and creating engaging content.
  • Create a new online course in Q3 by creating the curriculum, recording the videos, and setting up the platform.
  • Reduce expenses by 10% in Q3 by negotiating with suppliers, cutting unnecessary costs, reviewing your memberships, outgoings and optimizing processes.


Need more help with your quarterly goals?

Your quarterly goals act as a detailed road map leading you to your long-term business goals and vision. By following the steps and tips in this blog post, you’ll have quarterly goals that will help you move your business forward and better serve your customers.

But if you feel like you’d like some one-on-one guidance to help you set your goals or an accountability partner to make sure you achieve them, take a look at my Quarterly Business Planning Sessions.


I’d love to help you break through the goal setting overwhelm and create a quarterly plan that delivers quick wins and makes sure your long-term goals don’t remain forever out of reach.

And if you’d like to work on your quarterly goals in the company of an inspirational group of like-minded people, join my Business Tides Community. Business Tides is for small business owners who are ready to get serious about achieving their long-term business goals by focusing on short-term planning and action. Working together, we raise the collective business tide for all and help each other turn our business dreams into reality.




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