If the glittering decorations across shop fronts and lampposts don’t highlight that the end of the year is fast approaching, we don’t know what does! Whether you are winding down for a well-earned break or winding up for a busy sales period, the end of the year is the ideal time to take a look back on the last 12 months and review how it all went.
Did your business have an outrageously successful year? Was it so-so? Did you face some significant challenges? No matter how it looks at first glance, remember that everything is a learning experience and a chance to grow.
Whatever your overarching feeling about the year that was, we think it is worthwhile to use any lessons learned to help push your business forward. A thorough review is a critical component in your planning and goal setting. How can you set the right kind of goals for the coming year if you don’t first look at what led you to this point?
If you’re not sure where to start with reviewing your year, here are some of the things you may want to consider. These tips will help you put systems in place so you can march confidently into 2019 with your carefully laid battle plans in place!
What did you do well?
Although it is human nature to gloss over your successes and get hung up on the negative aspects, it is so important to celebrate and acknowledge your victories; even if they were only small wins.
The positives can give you just as much insight and direction as the negatives, so make a list of your top three proudest achievements this year. Then, dig a little deeper. Investigate them, see what created them, and plan to replicate them in some way next year.
Review The Figures
Financial reviews are an essential end-of-year consideration, but there are many more metrics that contribute to a successful business.
Look at customer or client growth and retention, referrals, social media engagement, conversions, Google analytics and any other measurable data. Taking time to put these things under the microscope will show you what you need to devote more time/money to in the future, and will also help you work out which of your efforts were a waste of time or a bad return on investment.
What Didn’t Work?
Take a deep breath and dive into the things that didn’t go so well for you and your business this year. Don’t think of them as failures, but as learning opportunities. Things that don’t work out give you the chance to pivot and approach them in different, creative ways. You tend to learn more from a mistake than you would if you nailed it the first time.
Maybe your social media didn’t get the following or engagement you wanted, perhaps a marketing campaign bombed, or you had unhappy customers. i.e. If you pumped $2k into Facebook adverts, but only got $300 in sales from it, that $2k was not money well spent and could be put towards a higher yield activity next year.
Whatever you consider your big flops for the year, it helps to get specific. Then you can get proactive. Come up with solutions, and put plans in place that can help avoid this problem in the future.
Where Do You Need To Spend More Or Less Energy?
Asking yourself the above questions and looking at your year in review will highlight the areas that need more time and energy spent on them. Now is the time to get to work on those goals for next year.
How can you give attention to the areas that need it while growing your business and staying on top of day-to-day tasks? Perhaps you need to outsource some of the mundane, time-consuming jobs so you can focus on more productive activities. Hiring experts in the areas that you are not well-versed (possibly areas like bookkeeping, SEO or marketing) can have an overwhelmingly positive impact on a small business that is looking to grow (we are happy to assist in all these areas).
It might also be helpful to make a list of how you spend your time each day or week. We suggest noting down the tasks you do but don’t enjoy, as well as the tasks that take a lot longer than they should. By getting clear on your pain points, you can plan to implement changes that will make life easier for you. These changes could consist of changing a few of your current systems and processes. Even as simple as downloading a new app or some intuitive software. (We had a client that got rid of a part-time proofreader, just by downloading Grammarly!) The goal is to make your ‘ugh’ list shorter and more manageable.
If you are ready to make next year your best one yet, outsourcing should be high on your priority list. Not only does it free up your own time, but it ensures that the job gets done with expert precision and knowledge.
We have a large team of skilled experts here at Virtual Assistants, and I’ll let you in on a little secret… Those jobs you can’t stand? We love them! We zip through them like reindeer dashing through the snow, and we wager that we could do most of them with our eyes shut! If you really want to get serious about having the best, most productive 2019, we want to hear from you! We are waiting by the phone. Chat soon!