TODAY, IN 4 MINUTES OR LESS, YOU’LL LEARN:
- Why reflecting *now* is crucial for next year’s success
- The key metrics to track and the best questions to ask yourself
- My exact process for constructing a high level business plan
If you’re a business owner, December is a great time to reflect on your 2023 business journey before you start setting your goals for the new year.
Here’s how to conduct an epic end-of-year review that will set your business up for unprecedented results in 2024…
1. Set Aside Time
First things first, carve out a chunk of time for this process. This could mean a few dedicated hours or even a full day. Trust me, this is time well spent. You’re not just reviewing; you’re strategizing for success.
2. Gather Your Data
The numbers never lie. So looking at your performance data from the past year is a great way to get an unbiased, objective overview of how you’re doing.
As for which metrics to review, it will be different for every business, but a great starting place is to look at your:
- Annual gross income
- Number of customers / clients
- Units or packages sold
- Number of followers on social media
- Number of subscribers on your email list
- Number of product launches
- Volume of sales calls
- Advertising spend
- Average customer spend
- Website visitor numbers
- Hours worked
- Vacation days
If you can, get the above metrics for the year prior too. Look for trends, areas of growth, and places where your efforts may not have yielded the results you dreamed of.
3. The Story Behind the Numbers: Qualitative Data
Numbers only tell part of the story. Qualitative data is also important.
This kind of data helps you understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’, giving depth to the numerical data and offering a more rounded view of your business’s year.
You might wish to look at:
- Customer Feedback and Reviews: Customers’ opinions, satisfaction levels, and suggestions can offer valuable insights into your performance.
- Support: Did you make any new hires this year? What did you outsource?
- Assets: Did you create any new assets? (E.g. new products, programs, lead magnets, etc.)
- Employee/Contractor Feedback: Gauging employee satisfaction, team dynamics, and feedback on internal processes can help you spot areas to improve workplace culture and operations.
- External Factors: Considering the impact of external factors like economic shifts or global events (like a pandemic) can help in risk management and future planning.
4. Check in with your 2023 goals
Get out the goals you set for your business throughout the year. (Hopefully you’ve got these written down somewhere. If not, now’s a great time to make that a habit!)
Then, for each goal, ask yourself: Did you meet the goal? Why / Why not?
5. The Deep Dive
So far, we’ve been quite objective and data focused. Now let’s bring some heart and soul into the process.
In your journal, riff on the following questions:
- What worked really well in your business this year?
- What didn’t work so well?
- What could you have done differently to achieve a different outcome?
- What drained you?
- What sparked joy?
- What bottlenecks are slowing your progress?
- Where could you use some extra help?
- Apply the 80/20 rule: What aspects of your business yielded the most results? What gave you the most headaches?
- What would you love to STOP doing?
- What would you love to START doing?
- What are you proud of this past year?
- What areas have you not been performing so well in?
- What did you spend too much time and energy stressing about?
Hot tip: This kind of deep dive is where you’ll unearth the most valuable insights. So take your time and don’t rush through these questions.
6. Create Your High Level Business Plan
This step is about taking your reflections and turning them into actionable plans. It’s where you define your goals, decide what to track, and outline the activities that will drive your business forward.
I usually like to sketch out a high-level plan for the entire year, and then create a more detailed plan for the first quarter only. As each quarter passes, I then flesh out my plans for that next chunk of time. This means I start the year with a clear direction, while also allowing space to be flexible and responsive as the months unfold.
But you know what? The beauty of this process is its flexibility, so feel free to structure your plan however you like!
Items to consider for your plan include:
- Your high level business goals (including how much income you want to earn, how much growth you want to achieve, etc.)
- The sub-goals (and sub-sub-goals) that compound to make your high level goals possible
- The daily and weekly activities that will move you toward your goals (For example, if you want to land 20 new coaching clients in the first quarter of 2024, how many sales calls will you need to schedule each week?)
- The metrics you want to track along the way
- Key dates for the year (including launch dates, vacations, deadlines, etc.)
- Any new products or assets you want to create over the year
- How you will prioritize things if you don’t have time to do everything
Hot tip: I usually do this kind of planning in a Google Doc, a spreadsheet and my Google calendar.
7. Making It Happen
You can’t just do this exercise once and forget about it until next year; plans only work if you do!
The key to ensuring that you execute on your big beautiful plan is to integrate the steps, goals and activities you’ve just identified into your daily routine.
My favorite ways to do this are:
- Regular Check-Ins: Schedule periodic reviews – either weekly or monthly – to evaluate your progress against your goals. Put these in your calendar otherwise it won’t happen.
- Track the Data: Keep a close watch on your key performance indicators. Tracking these metrics continuously allows you to spot trends and react promptly.
- Make It Visual: Create a visual representation of your goals, like a wall chart, vision board, or a custom desktop wallpaper, as a constant reminder.
- Align Your Daily Activities with Your Long-Term Vision: Every day, when you’re deciding what to do in your business, ensure that each activity you choose to spend your time and energy on is building towards your larger objective.
And there you have it — a comprehensive guide to conducting an end-of-year review for your business.
Remember, this process is not just about looking back; it’s about moving forward with purpose, clarity, and renewed energy.
Here’s to 2024 being your best year in business yet, Beautiful! ✨
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Til next time, sending so much love,