The year is going to close before we know it. Don't start the new year until you've done a year end business review. Running a business can feel like you’re on a never
The year is going to close before we know it. Don’t start the new year until you’ve done a year end business review.
Running a business can feel like you’re on a never ending cycle of ups and downs. At times, things couldn’t be better; then, all of a sudden, you get thrown a curveball. Maybe you had one of your best employees leave. Or was it the downturn in sales that forced you to navigate through and figure out how you were going to make payroll that week.
Uncertainty, doubt and stress can make running your business feel like you’re losing control.
Nobody likes feeling like they’re losing control. One term you hear a lot in sports and in military circles is regroup. I’m a big believer in using strategies and tools to regroup. To regroup in your business means stepping back to look at the big picture to get a handle on where you are at and then planning your way to forge ahead into the next phase of your business.
At the end of the business year is a great time to regroup so that you can start the next year strong, with clarity and control. One way to do that is to do an end of year business review.
These steps are a good way for you to step back, analyze your business results and set new goals and strategies for next year.
Review the Goals You Set
When you began business this year you probably set some goals that you wanted to achieve. Some of your goals may have been focused on sales; maybe you set a goal that you wanted to increase sales by 10%. Other goals focused on the finance side of your business. Something like reducing costs by 5% or improving your cash flow by cutting down the time to collect on your accounts. Operations or marketing goals may have been the target this past year.
Whatever the goals you set, review how you did.
Take out the list of goals you set last year and the measurements on your results to see how you did.
List Your Hits and Misses
You and I know having goals without reviewing how you did is useless, both on the goal setting side and the measurement side.
So take a hard look at how you did during the year.
Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” Anonymous
Celebrate the Hits
All year long, you and your team were working hard to achieve those goals. It’s easy to get lost in the hard work and perseverance that it took to achieve those goals. By the time the year ends, it’s a little uneventful or even anticlimactic.
But, you’re wasting an opportunity to create engagement and motivation with your team by not celebrating your achievements! Applaud your wins and more importantly, figure out how you might be able to capitalize on them going forward.
Determine if the goals you achieved can be improved even further going forward. What new goals can you set that are bigger and bolder for the coming year?
Don’t forget they should be reasonable too!
Analyze Your Misses
You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky
Gretzky’s quote will stand the test of time I think. If you shoot for goals and miss, it’s not the end of the world. You took a shot. It’s an opportunity or maybe a few opportunities actually.
Like in hockey (a sport that I’m a big fan of) if you shoot with a bad angle, then it has less of a chance of going in the net. You may have set a goal that had no chance of being achieved. Maybe it was ill-conceived, relying on too many things that were out of your control and kept you from reaching it.
You may have missed one of your goals because, well, you just didn’t do the work or make the business changes that would allow you to reach it. Your plan and tactics weren’t enough. Something more needed to be done in your business to enable you to succeed in reaching that goal.
Whatever the case, learn from the reasons why you didn’t reach it. Determine what went wrong and if it’s still a desirable goal, figure out what you’ll need to do to achieve it.
Remember, this is an opportunity to understand what went wrong and take the opportunity to learn from it, fix it and move forward.
Unexpected, Unplanned Developments
Curveballs, they happen all the time in business. Review the curveballs that were thrown at your business this year. Was it an unexpected expense? A cost you didn’t anticipate?
What others occurred during the year? Was a big opportunity that you thought you had with a prospect that fell through? Maybe you had a large customer who ran into trouble and sales slipped off.
Review those unexpected and unplanned surprises you had during the year. Think about what, if anything, you could have done to anticipate them. Would better budgets pick up that unplanned expenditure? If you had more time to stay on top of developments, could you have seen the problem coming sooner, so that you could react more quickly?
Reviewing those unplanned events is an opportunity to determine if there is something in your business that can be improved. Whether it’s improvements in your planning, feedback mechanisms or just taking time to stay on top of industry developments, take some time at year end to step back and analyze what you could have done differently.
Take Time for a Year End Business Review
I wrote at the start of this article, no one really enjoys lacking control or having uncertainty and stress! Take some time at your year end to review your results, examine your goals – both your hits and your misses.
Use that information to get control over what went right and what went wrong so that you can use what you learned to improve your business, get clarity and take control of your goals and plans for next year.