How to Create Annual + Quarterly Plans

Being a Type-A business woman I am an obsessive planner and list maker. I have carried over some good habits, and incorporated them into my business, from the decade-plus I worked in corporate America.

One thing I learned very early on in my career is the importance of annual and quarterly plans – especially now as an entrepreneur. Strategic annual and quarterly business plans will help you focus, increase your productivity, and achieve your written goals.

To make it incredibly simple for you, I’ve created a free annual + quarterly plan template to guide you. The guide is completely fillable, or you can print it off, and follow along with the tips from this post. Bonus: I include some resources in the free guide to give you an extra boost in attaining your business goals.

What is an Annual + Quarterly Plan?

To start off, there are different types of annual + quarterly plans: marketing plans, business plans, and financial plans to name a few. To clarify, I am going to focus on strategic annual + quarterly planning. In it’s simplest form:

Your hopes, dreams, and goals for your business translated into actionable tasks.

Why do I Need a Plan?

Because if you aimlessly do tasks with no plan in place I can almost assure you that you are not being as efficient or productive as you possibly can be. Let’s face it ladies and gents, as an entrepreneur, we are doing a lot of tasks and who doesn’t want to maximize the efficiency of those tasks? I certainly do.

Secondly, I LOVE crossing tasks off my list. In fact, I like it so much I still use old-fashioned pen and paper when I write my daily list of tasks. There are some great task management resources like Trello but for me, just writing it out and striking through when completed makes me happy.

Most importantly though, you need a way to translate the big picture into small, achievable, tasks because this is how you will grow your business and make money. Let’s say your goal is to make $100,000 a year from your business, you wouldn’t wake up each day and just pin some random pins, write posts with no rhyme or reason, or run a rogue ad on Facebook.

I mean maybe you would but the point is you shouldn’t. Your content should be insightful, your Pinterest strategy on point.

Yearly vs. Quarterly vs. Weekly

A yearly plan is awesome, as a matter of fact, that’s where I start in my business planning template. We need to set some high-level goals for your business first. But, that doesn’t really translate to a day-to-day task list. On the other hand, writing down a weekly task list is perfect to keep you focused on short-term tasks but limits your ability to plan the big picture items.

A quarterly plan is a perfect balance. A quarterly plan allows you to take your big picture goals (think your top five goals for the year) and break those down into quarterly action items. From your quarterly plan, you can work back into your weekly task list.

Q1 – Q4 Breakdown

You can follow any version of this breakdown but I like to do it with calendar quarters starting in January.

  • Q1: January – March
  • Q2: April – June
  • Q3: July – September
  • Q4: October – December

Planning Quarter-by-Quarter

I like to plan each quarter one at a time. Meaning, I don’t sit down and plan out four quarters for the entire year. The reason is simple, things change.

It’s December and I’ve already begun my Q1 planning. A good range is 4-6 weeks out from the next quarter. This gives you the opportunity to assess what was accomplished this quarter, make any shift in priorities, and queue up goals and tasks for the next 3 months.

How to Create an Annual + Quarterly Plan

My plan keeps it simple. I break out my strategy into five foundational pillars: Monetary, Education, Growth, Improvement, and Personal.

  • Monetary: A specific monetary goal.
  • Education: A new skill you will learn to improve your business success.
  • Growth: A set amount of growth for your business.
  • Improvement: An area of your business that needs the most improvement.
  • Personal: A commitment to your business for your own accountability.

I want to first address the 10,000-foot view (your annual goals) and we will create your quarterly plan from there.

Annual Business Goals

To be clear, this is only done once a year, but it’s completely fine to re-visit these goals at any point throughout the year. For example, you totally crush one of your annual business goals by Q2 you better be raising the bar for yourself. Your goals should be:

  • Achievable: Your goal should be realistic and something you can achieve with your current resources. That’s not to say you shouldn’t push yourself but scalable growth and progress is way better than setting a goal you simply can’t attain at this stage of your business.
  • Quantifiable: Saying, “grow my followers” is not as good as saying, “grow my Instagram followers by 25%.”
  • Focused: Set 3-5 major annual goals. Taking on too much can spread you too thin, rendering you unable to achieve any of the goals. That wouldn’t be good.

Here’s what an example of your annual goals might look like:

  • Monetary: A specific monetary goal. Ex: My business will earn $100,000 annually.
  • Education: A new skill you will learn to improve your business success. Ex: I will learn to use Pinterest to increase traffic to my website.
  • Growth: A measurable amount of growth for your business. Ex: I will take on 10 new clients.
  • Improvement: An area of your business that needs the most refinement. Ex: I will re-brand my business.
  • Personal: A commitment to your business for your own accountability. Ex: I will write 52 blog posts per year (1 per week).

Quarterly Business Goals

Now that we have considered the big picture you can break this down a little more into a quarterly plan using the same goal framework of achievable, quantifiable, and limited. Each goal should be more specific.

Start Planning

Get a free copy of the Annual + Quarterly Plan template for a complete step-by-step template to set your annual and quarterly business goals. My fillable plan template gives you both annual and quarterly examples to follow.

Please note, some of these links are affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of them, I may receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I use and love.

Did you find this post helpful?  Share it with others!

62 thoughts on “How to Create Annual + Quarterly Plans”

  1. Hey Lyndsey,

    Thanks for writing this post, I found it from the Reddit post I made a little while ago. It’s awesome to see your process. I have one that is very similar here https://growthandpurpose.com/yearly-goal-planning/

    One thing I have learned when setting goals is how important it is to print them off and have them in front of you every SINGLE day. I have mine on my office computer and think it’s critical to keep me accountable.

    Anyways, thanks for writing this post and just wanted to stop by and leave a comment.

    1. Hi Alex, I love your post and your strategy by posting your goals on your wall. It really is important to keep them front of mind… goals are more than just written words they are in essence the foundation of your daily tasks. Everything you do should be with purpose and intent. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to give something back and help others like you
    aided me.

  3. Great post. I was checking constаntly this blog аnd Ӏ am impressed!

    Extremely helpful info ѕpecifically tһе last part :
    ) I care for such infⲟrmation a lot. I was seeking
    this particսlar infоrmation for а very long
    time. Thank yߋu аnd bеst of luck.

  4. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring
    on other sites? I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and woul love to have you share
    some stories/information. I know my visitors would value your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, fee free to shoot me an e-mail.

  5. you are in point of fact a excellent webmaster. Thhe web site
    loading pace iis amazing.It sort oof feels that you are doing any
    distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents aare masterpiece.
    you’ve done a wonderful task on this matter!

  6. I like the valuable info you provide іn your articles. І’ll bokmark your blog and check
    agаin here regularly. Ӏ am quite sure I ᴡill leaen many neԝ stuff гight һere!

    GooԀ luck for thе next!

  7. Great – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, web site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task..

  8. I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any
    interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough
    for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

  9. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I
    will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will eventually come back
    later in life. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great job,
    have a nice day!

  10. Hello there! This article could not be written any better!
    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept talking about this. I’ll forward this article
    to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a very good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  11. Hi I am so glad I found your website, I really found you
    by accident, while I was searching on Aol for something
    else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say
    cheers for a remarkable post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time
    to read it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS
    feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great work.

  12. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills
    and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it
    yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a
    great blog like this one nowadays.

  13. Fantastic post but I was wanting to know if you could write
    a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Cheers!

  14. Hey there, You have done an incredible job. I’ll definitely
    digg it and personally suggest to my friends.

    I am confident they’ll be benefited from this website.

  15. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you
    using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers
    and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.
    I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  16. Hey there! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Humble
    Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

  17. Hey would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a
    fair price? Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  18. Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.

    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this content together.
    I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  19. Merely to follow up on the up-date of this issue on your web page and would want to let you know how much I liked the time you took to create this valuable post.

    Within the post, you really spoke regarding how to truly handle this matter with all convenience.
    It would be my personal pleasure to get together some
    more ideas from your web-site and come as much as offer other folks what I have benefited from you.
    Thank you for your usual fantastic effort.

  20. I was more than happy to uncover this great site. I wanted to thank you
    for your time for this particularly wonderful read!!
    I definitely loved every bit of it and i also
    have you saved to fav to look at new things on your site.

  21. Whats up very nice web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing ..
    I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?
    I am glad to find numerous helpful info right
    here within the publish, we want develop extra strategies in this regard, thank you for
    sharing. . . . . .

  22. HI Lyndsey,
    Your post is amazing and I can see you know a lot about it.

    I have to prepare a quarterly action plan for a new business set-up and I was looking at your post. I think it might be a bit different – what do you think? Do you have any advise for new business?

  23. Just desire to say your article is as astounding.

    The clarity in your put up is just spectacular and i can think you’re a professional in this subject.
    Well together with your permission allow me to take hold of your RSS feed to keep up
    to date with approaching post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  24. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s difficult to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability
    and visual appearance. I must say that you’ve done a awesome job with this.
    Also, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Chrome.
    Exceptional Blog!

  25. It’s a shame yоu don’t have a donate button! I’d most сertainly donate
    tߋ thiѕ superrb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle
    fߋr book-marking and adding your RSS feed tо my Google
    account. I look forward tο brand new updates and
    will share this site witһ my Facebook groᥙp. Chat ѕoon!

  26. You аre soo cool! І do nott believe I’ve read something ⅼike this before.
    Ꮪo wonderful to find somebody wіth some unique tһoughts оn this topic.
    Reaⅼly.. thank yoᥙ for starting thiѕ uρ.
    Tһis site is one thng that is required on the internet, someone with a bіt oof originality!

  27. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you
    hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from.
    thanks a lot

  28. I really love your website.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own blog and would like to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Appreciate it!

  29. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here!

    Best of luck for the next!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *