Entrepreneurs are more likely to plan the future than evaluate the past. But how can you fix something when you don’t know it’s broken? How will you celebrate achievements when you don’t realize how significant they are to the big picture? If you do not conduct a year-end review of your business, it’s likely you’ll begin the new year with the same troubled systems, processes, and problems. Even if you had a great year, you want to grow. By establishing what did and did not work for you in 2018, you’ll create a more powerful plan to support your growth in 2019.
If you have a written plan for 2018, use it as a guideline to ascertain your achievements, delivery of goals, and where you missed the mark. Here’s a guideline for your 2018 review. Customize it to meet your needs to make planning for the new year a snap.
Revisit Your Mission: reflect and ensure your time and attention still aligns with your mission and goals.
Set your intentions: review your results with positive intentions to celebrate your “wins” and pivot where necessary.
Make a list of question: being intentional about your process sparks creativity and prevents you and your team from overlooking important pieces of information. Examples include:
- What are my (our) achievements?
- How did they impact our growth?
- What did we learn in 2017 and how did it support our growth?
- What were our biggest disappointments?
- Did we implement a strategy to pivot or constructively address the disappointments?
- Did we have unexpected expenditures and how can we plan better for next year?
Make your schedule: give yourself time for a deep dive into your business, values, and goals. Keeping the pace is important, so schedule time slots in each day during one particular week.
Recognize and celebrate the good stuff: When you focus on the negative you are subconsciously inviting more of it into your life. Review all of your achievements and then list the top three. Note any tools and processes you used to achieve them–don’t forget pure talent and your magnetic personality.
Organize Finances: conduct a thorough review of your finances for the year. Prepare for tax season. Review accounts for automatic deductions. Where can you optimize your spending?
Identify your metrics: aside from solely financials, consider measuring your company on customer retention, new subscribers, or Google analytics.
Review your 2018 goals: identify which goals are worth keeping, which will be eliminated, and how you will redirect your energies to realize your desired outcome. Don’t be hasty in ridding you and your team of worthwhile goals that did not pan out. Instead, look at other avenues you might take to achieve them. Your new list of goals should include the long term and short term.
Review company values and culture: either you build your company’s culture, or it will build itself (eek!). What did you do this past year to cultivate a positive culture? What opportunities were missed? How will you be even more intentional about it in the new year?
Follow up: Once you’ve completed your review and planning process, schedule a monthly, or quarterly, meeting to perform mini-reviews. This is a living document, fluid like water. Make changes, note your wins, and continue to celebrate them.
Say “Thank You”: show gratitude to those who made your business what it was this year. This can include your customers, employees, investors, partners, vendors, network, and all supporters. A hand-written note, small gift, or any kind of personal acknowledgement goes a long way.