How to design the perfect Quarterly Goal Canvas – 7 steps

What is the Quarterly Goal Canvas?

The Quarterly Goal Canvas helps you to determine your focus for the next three months. It will do so by splitting up your quarterly goal into manageable chunks. It also helps you to identify everything which is essential to get there.

Determine your main business focus with the Quarterly Goal Canvas
Quarterly Goal Canvas

Why should you use the Quarterly Goal Canvas?

I probably don’t have to tell you why a focus is important to make quick progress towards your goals. This canvas will not only bring the best focus to the surface, but also strengthens your focus. Because every time when you’ll be reviewing the canvas, you’ll be reminded again of your main short-term goal.

This focus will help you to prevent yourself from wasting your valuable resources (like time and money). You’ll direct it to the areas which will be most fruitful regarding your business ambitions. You’ll be more likely to mange your time efficiently which will result in more progress on a shorter period of time.

The 7 steps of filling in the Quarterly Goal Canvas properly

STEP 1. Define your objectives (desired situation)

What do you want to achieve after a quarter from now? What will be both realistic and ambitious to have realized by then? I say realistic because it will be demotivating and disappointing to set the bar too high for yourself and not being able to reach it. But it also should be ambitious because we’re talking about a huge part of a full year.

This short-term goal should be directly connected to your most important incremental and innovative goal which you’ve worked out with the Yarigai Questions Canvas. If you’ve missed my previous article about how to fill in the Yarigai Questions Canvas the right way, you can click here to directly read it.

An example for this part could be to build an online learning environment which will be used by some people. This sounds vague and could mean many things. That’s why you’ll later define what you mean by this. So that it can be measured. But before doing this, you want to set a clear scope in the next step.

STEP 2. Define your scope (focus)

The canvas is all about getting more focus. So knowing exactly on what you will and will not be putting your attention on for the next three months. Having a clearly defined scope will definitely contribute to that. This could be focused on the audience you’ll be focusing on, the product you’ll be mainly promoting, or the marketing channel which you’ll primarily use. It can also work to exclude things from your focus if you’re not too sure yet what you’ll be including into your scope.

In the situation of building an online learning environment, you could decide to focus on online only (instead of physical or a blended form). Next to this, you could already determine to focus on B2C (individuals) instead of B2B or both. Also, you can predetermine that you want to offer content exclusively to paid members (instead of just making it free to the public). And you can choose to first focus on the local market before directly going international (and using English as the main language). These are just a few examples of things you can already decide to start with more focus.

STEP 3. Specify your metrics (success criteria)

As I already pointed out in the first step, this is very important. Because how would you otherwise measure if you’ve accomplished your objectives. Or if you’re on the right track. For every objective you came up with in the first step, ask yourself how you can measure its progress. For some objectives you may have more than just one metric.

Let’s give you some examples. To stick with the example in the first step, you could choose 100 free and 10 paid users as a metric for deciding if you built a learning environment which will be used by quite some people. In addition to that, you can measure if you sold 30 online courses. Or measure if you’ve published at least 10 pieces of content on your online learning environment. These are just a handful of examples to measure if and to what extent you reached your objective(s).

STEP 4. Define your baseline (present situation)

What’s your status quo looking at what you want to achieve? It’s hard to define this by using subjective language. That’s why you want to mainly look at the previous step and ask yourself for each metric: what do I currently score on this? What is my current progress?

Looking at the examples in the previous step, you may already have 50 free members (which can be converted into paid members), 2 created courses (which can be sold), and 5 published articles. You want to name all of this so that you know where you were coming from. It gives you a total picture and reminds you to stay more realistic looking at your desired situation by taking into account your present situation.

STEP 5. List the key results (milestones)

As mentioned earlier, you want to break down your quarterly goal into manageable parts. Ask yourself the question which milestones would be celebration-worthy. And put these milestones in the right sequence of the road from your present to your desired situation. When thinking out your milestones, you also want to write down the stating date (ideally today if that’s possible) and deadline (after 3 months from now). In between, you work out the necessary steps to get there. Limit yourself to 2 to 5 milestones so that your listed milestones are essential and noteworthy to mention (and celebrate).

Some examples for the road to building an online learning environment for quite some users, would be to set up your own learning environment, launch your website (and landing page), publish 10 new articles, having acquired your first paid customer, and so on. These milestones can but doesn’t have to be similar as your success criteria which you specified in the third step.

STEP 6. List your key stakeholders

In this step you want to think about all stakeholders which are essential for achieving your objective(s). This is very important to work out because it will remind you of connections you may want to forge or utilize. And together with other people, you’ll increase your odds of succeeding big time.

Examples for stakeholders you could think of are a business coach, accountability partner, investor, affiliate ambassador, colleague entrepreneur, you name it. To get inspiration for people you want to list in this step, I’d recommend you to scroll through your contacts list on your phone and LinkedIn.

STEP 7. List the key competences

I deliberately write “the” instead of “your” key competences. That’s because you want to think of all the needed capabilities and skills to get to your desired situation. Including those competences which you won’t have or want to develop yourself. You can decide to delegate those to the stakeholders which you identified in the previous step. Talking about delegation, this is in fact already an example of a competence you could list in this step. Because this may be essential to reach your goal.

Other examples for competences would be software development (for the online learning environment), marketing (to gather new leads into your funnel), sales (to convert your existing leads), and financial planning. Try to limit yourself to the most essential activities so that the canvas remains clear and really gets to the heart of the matter.

STEP 8. List the key resources

If you’re familiar with the Business Model Canvas, the last three steps would sound very familiair to you as well. You may question if it’s needed to go through these steps if you already once worked out the Business Model Canvas. The answer is yes. Because you want to limit the answers of the last three steps to your quarterly goal canvas.

In this step, you want to list all remaining necessities (besides stakeholders and competences) to accomplish your objectives. This could be literally anything, from having a clearly defined value proposition to have a registered trademark law. Other examples would be an email list, a website, a clear target audience, sufficient cash flow for the needed expenses, or your available time.


You’ve now filled in the Quarterly Goal Canvas. You want to review this canvas weekly so that you keep reminding yourself of the things you need to focus on and utilize. By repeatedly doing this, you’ll be more likely to stay on track and reach your desired business situation. It will help you to stay focused on that which matters most with your business for now. Also, review it when you’re doubting your day-to-day activities and when you’re losing motivation.

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