2017 has come and gone, which presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year in the life of your small business.
Business will soon be busy again, so, before the new year begins, we wanted to put together a really quick plan to help you reflect on your business across the past year.
Our biggest piece of advice is to always collect data that will inform your reflections!
It’s really easy to lead by emotion when you’re reflecting, but cold, hard, data is king when it comes to knowing just how successful a year has been.
We know that’s not an easy thing to do – but it’s really important to do so.
A better understanding of the playing field helps you navigate your way through the future, and that’s key to running your small business.
We use Xero; the accounting software that gives us, and small businesses around the world real-time, financial information to help small businesses inform their decision making. Maybe this coming year you could switch to a piece of software like Xero?
However we understand that you might be reading this and have done no preparation, you’ve worked all year round and just want to make the most of this period of reflection.
Below we’ve listed out a quick plan about how you can quickly and efficiently review the past year. We hope it helps!
What’s The Absolute High Point Of Your Year?
Success is something that needs to be monitored throughout the year: only then will you get a true overview of how the past twelve months have truly gone for you and your small business. You’ll be able to identify consistent trends that can be deemed a success.
However the stand out ‘moment of the year’ will always be to hand in your memories. Take the time to think about which point of the year really made you jump for joy as a business owner!
It might be a specific order that was placed, a new service that you rolled out, or a milestone you never thought you’d achieve – perhaps hiring a new member of staff?
Make sure to celebrate that success and, more importantly, think about the moments around that high point too.
What were the little moments that helped build up to that massive high? Thinking in this way will give you a much more rounded view of the culmination of little events that contributed to the big, memorable high of the year.
Scrawl through your diary or emails: perhaps it was a networking event, a time of year when things started to fall into place, or just a golden piece of email communication?
What Was The Low Point Of Your Year?
It’s not the nicest of things to dwell on, but an important reality of being a small business owner.
These low moments are guaranteed to happen because – life happens. It’s key to remember that low points are part and parcel of the life of any small business.
Try to think of specific reasons as to why that moment is the lowest point of the year for you: what were the implications of this low point, did it severely harm your business and are you still feeling any lasting effects from it?
Again, it’s really helpful to take a look at the bigger picture – what was life like during that time and the build up to it?
Were there outside influences that dented your businesses performance? Had a family member passed away that derailed your work ethic? Was there a low demand for your service or product?
If you track your whole year, the data will help show you whether there is a reoccurring quiet period for your business that you need to prepare for in the coming year.
What Are The Status Of Your Goals?
Having a better understanding of the little moments that build towards the high and low points of a year go a long way in shaping your goals for the coming year.
Without them you’re stabbing in the dark as to whether you’ve really achieved your goals – or whether they even matter.
How will you put the wheels in motion to create more of those high moments? How can you replicate the build up and create similar scenarios that have been the breeding ground success over the past year?
Similar with the low points – what can you do to avoid the rough and rocky road that have led to your biggest disappointments?
Can you provide offers at critical points in the year, or have someone waiting in the wings to take the wheel if life gets in the way?
A Helpful Product We Use Is Asana
We use a program called Asana to helpfully track our goals throughout the year. There’s a board feature (an example of how it works is shown below) which allows you to create goals and keep track of them by changing their status at any point.
Using something like Asana could be a big step towards monitoring your goals and having a better understanding of your businesses progression over a long period of time.
As a small business ourselves, we’ve consciously invested a lot of time into setting our goals and monitoring every little detail along the way.
We’ve done this to see how efficiently our businesses is performing and how the goals we’ve set are being reached. It’s taken time and hard work – but it’s revolutionised the way we do business.
Again, if you want someone that can help set you up on Xero, the accounting software that gives you a real time overview of your financial information – then click the link below and start setting better goals and tracking your performance over this coming year.