How to Set Goals for the New Year Using Data From Q4

As 2023 approaches, use these techniques with data and metrics from the final quarter of 2022 to set the basis for business goals for the next year.

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How to Set Goals for the New Year Using Data From Q4

Here's what you need to know:

  • Using historical data is a tried-and-true method for achievable goal-setting
  • When developing 2023 goals for your business, identify performance variations and determine specific, attainable goals
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis and forecast the steps to achieve the goals
  • Track results along the way to effectively measure progress

Creating the best scaling business requires a ton of planning. Companies need to always be willing and ready to establish their goals and track them every quarter at the very least. Without business goals, the progress of a company is left unmonitored, and the path forward is left unprioritized.

Businesses that don’t have solid and realistic plans essentially don’t have a foundation for a successful business. As such, problems with business plans are a likely cause of the massive amount of business failure.

For these companies, 2023 will be merciless. Inflation is on the rise, and companies are trying their best to prioritize budgets and spending efforts to make their employees and customers happy and keep them from going anywhere.

To get the most out of the new year, it would be helpful to use strategic and analytical efforts to set up the goals for the new year.

It wouldn’t be a good idea to put off goals for the new year if enough data is present to predict future outcomes. Using historical data is a tried-and-true method for achievable goal-setting. As 2023 approaches, data and metrics from the final quarter of 2022 can help set the basis for the goals required in the next year.

Identify performance variations

When a company begins to develop its 2023 goals, history has shown that certain areas of performance may need extra attention if things didn’t go as planned in Q4.

For instance, a normal year or quarter was likely determined by sound data from typical circumstances. However, dips in performance indicators might have come from a sudden detrimental state of affairs.

These can look like an employee shortage, which can lead to poor service, unexpected closures, and a lack of profits. If this has been remedied before the close of Q4, data from Q3 could be used instead to predict the performance required for 2023.

COVID-19 has proven that extenuating situations can cause a direct hit on regular business patterns. 6.2 million employees were unable to work because of closed businesses, which cost $3.2 trillion in net losses.

Things like pandemics, local weather conditions, industry shortages, building remodeling, etc. are all out of a company’s control, and should not be considered foundational data for the entirety of the following year.

It took a while for businesses to bounce back after the pandemic, and there still may be some lingering influences. If no other haphazard changes occurred in Q4 of 2022, it should still be a fine predictor of what’s to come.

Determine specific business goals

A business will likely struggle a bit trying to find out where and how to begin setting goals for an entire year. Companies can start brainstorming what they want they want to accomplish over the next year. Each goal should be attainable, which will be evident in previous quarter data and metrics.

Goal planning should be both long-term and short-term.

Goal planning should be both long-term and short-term. The giant plans for a business can come to fruition even with the tiniest milestones over the next year.

To determine what these are, the top priorities of a business can be apparent with the previous areas where a business may have fallen flat or needs an overhaul.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Goal-setting can be done with a SWOT analysis. This strategy considers the internal and external factors that drive a company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Over Q4, staff members can use SWOT to critique the business as a whole or even a single project during the quarter.

The outcome of the project, potential profits, engagement, marketing efforts, market strength, product effectiveness, time-to-value — the whole 9 yards should be tested.

SWOT can help businesses find gaps in the market. By knowing their strengths and weaknesses, they can determine if bridging this gap is something that the staff can accomplish in the next year, or at least become a work in progress.

It may not be enough to have a vast, simple idea in mind for a company’s future. For instance, “raising profits” is a great idea, but several intuitive questions are missing from this assessment.

Company leadership will need to dig deep to figure out what is doable for the next year. They should ask themselves:

  • How will the company raise profits?
  • How soon can they achieve the goal?
  • Also, how many teams and staff members will it take?
  • How many resources will the company need?
  • How many projects are involved?
  • Additionally, how much money will it all cost?
  • Is this all possible according to a review of Q4?

Forecast the steps to achieve the goals

Once a comprehensive goal is chosen, staff can lay out a roadmap to cover the next 4 quarters. For instance, a business has looked over the Q4 summary and decided to release a new product to raise profits.

Their forecast over the next year should lay out the steps to achieve this in the new year. With proper planning, all teams involved in the projections are aware of the road ahead and what is expected of them to reach each milestone timely.

Staff members can use Q4 for the year following to determine the next 4 quarters based on projected profits.


Staff should designate Quarter 1 for product ideation. From January to March, staff brings forth a new product idea with detailed features, materials, purposes, and possible alternatives. This includes researching the competition, finding gaps, feeling out the market, and understanding the target.

The marketing team can begin market segmentation and think of social media avenues. Q4 from the previous year tells them what type of product or service is relevant according to their niche audience.


Quarter 2 can be a continuation of Quarter 1, wherein the design and brand are the focuses. Quarter 4 from the previous year tells a company how on-brand marketing efforts are working, and if a new approach is necessary.

Marketing efforts can continue brainstorming to determine the best lead generation and pricing strategies.


By quarter 3, product testing can begin. Staff can test the product, service, or software for durability, ease of use, and functionality. Coding for software or applications is thoroughly debugged and enhanced.

The marketing team can learn how to differentiate this product from the competition and find creative strategies to introduce it to their customers and clientele.


Testing continues in quarter 4 to optimize and finalize the product. By the end of Q4, the product should be ready for release. Pre-ordering is now available, and staff members are deploying heavy marketing strategies. This is also where preparation for the retail release can begin.

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Conclusion: All goals need dedication and planning

Of course, none of these goals are any good without dedication to them. The milestones should be stuck with and committed to so that the end-of-year intention is flawlessly met. Staff should track all the results along the way to effectively measure the progress made to keep what’s working and scrap what doesn’t.

All business goals are a team effort. Transparency is the key to making all these endeavors worth it in the end. Regardless of the type of company or like-minded goal, each business quarter is meant to be a target for the best results possible. The best part is business can use each one as a prediction for the future.

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