How to Review Your Year: Seven Steps to Reviewing Your Year – before planning the next one! – for any entrepreneur/small business owner.
As the year draws to a close, I think it is really important to take some time to look back, before we look forward. So here are my seven steps to review your year.
Because if we don’t do it now, we will never find time to! And if you don’t see how far you’ve come, what you’ve achieved, (and what you haven’t), and take stock of where you are now, then it’s hard to set new goals for next year.
And it’s hard to remember how far you have actually come in a whole year without specifically looking back at it all, and that means it’s hard to celebrate what you have managed to do!
So firstly, this time last year, did you make any notes of where you were with your business then? Write any goals for this year? Track any numbers? Dig out your notebooks and planners, and have a look back at what you were thinking at the start of the year. Don’t worry if not, some of the data you can find now anyway, and some you can work out. Otherwise just start with now, so that you’ve got the info ready for this time next year. Now find a new page/document/whole new notebook, and start making some notes about your year.
Have a think about your year, and all that you got done.
Which goals did you smash? What else did you do this year that you’re really proud of? Anything that wasn’t even on the plan? Or what you added to the plan half way through?! Or what did you spend time, energy, budget on instead? And was that worthwhile too? What made this year great?
Write it all down, so you can see exactly what you’ve achieved. I’m sure it will be more than you might think at first. And now you can really celebrate what you did manage to get done.
Let’s have a more thorough look at your goals next. Did you write any down at the beginning of the year, or think about what you wanted to achieve this year?
Review how many of them you completed, how far you got through the steps towards each one, which ones you totally smashed, and which ones you didn’t manage to get on with. Think about why you did or didn’t reach them – you may not have allocated time to them, didn’t have the funds, or maybe what you wanted changed and they became irrelevant. Look at if you easily reached them too, to see if they weren’t hard enough and you could have pushed more, or were they totally the right thing for your business and that’s what you should do more of next year?
Which goals do you want to keep working on? Any that you don’t want to aim for anymore? What goals have you started working towards ready for next year? All this will help to plan the next year.
3. Your Work
Next we’re going to look more in detail at your business…
Of all your work all year, what went well, and what didn’t?
Which were your most popular products/services? Which were your most profitable?
What new products or services did you create during the year? Were they successful – did they bring you new customers, repeat customers, profit, brand awareness?
What networking, marketing and PR did you do during the year? And again, was it successful – did it bring you new customers, repeat customers, profit, brand awareness?
How have your finances been over the year?
What learning and development of your business skills, knowledge, training, did you invest in during the year? Was that helpful / will it be helpful going forward?
What part of your business have you enjoyed the most this year? And therefore do more of when planning next year? And which the least – and not carry on doing next year?
What bit of your business stressed you out the most? (How can you solve that for next year – not do it, outsource it, learn or buy something to help?)
4. The Metrics
Now it’s time to review the numbers!
How many clients/customers did you help/sell to? How is your business doing, and growing? Have you made more profit?
Have a look back in your accounts, at your social media followers, your email list numbers/sign-ups/open rates/click through rates, freebie sign-ups, your google my business search numbers, website visitor conversions, and anything else that you use, to keep a track of to see how your business is going.
If you can find the data for this time last year, for the end of December 2018, then make a note of that first. Then look at where you are now, and write all of those down. And then you can see how far you have come over the year. It may feel like the year has gone super quickly (anyone else feel like that?!), but we have all achieved stuff in that time, which is amazing!
Can you think of anything else you could track to see how your business is doing? Write those numbers down for now/the end of the year too, and track those during next year or at the end of next year too.
5. Your Brand & Business Strategy
Next, review how well what you’ve done this year has fitted in to your overall vision for your business.
Has it helped move your business forwards, towards your long term goals and vision for your business?
Has it all been aligned with your values?
Has it been aligned with your brand and brand strategy, and grown your brand awareness?
Has it grown your audience, your customers/clients, your profit?
6. The rest of your life!
As well as your business, why not also review how the rest of your life has been this year? Your health, time for hobbies, time for you, holidays, house, garden, time with kids etc etc, and have a look at all of it. And how it affected your business too. Then you will be ready to make goals for next year to cover all of this too.
Did you spend the time you wanted to, doing what you wanted? How was that infamous work/life balance for you this year? Did something take up too much time away from the business, which affected how well that did? Or did you end up working too much?!
7. Reviewing Your Year Overall
What achievements are you most proud of this year?
What moments in your business were amazing?
What didn’t you achieve yet that you would still like to?
What are your biggest learnings from the year?
Any disappointments to accept, and mistakes to learn from?
What made you happy / what didn’t?
What do you want to do more of? Or less of?
Do you still enjoy doing the work you are doing, are you still passionate about your business?
How do you feel about last year overall?
I hope you found that useful, and enjoyed reviewing your year! Take some time to slow down, put your feet up, appreciate what you have, and how far you’ve come. Intentionally celebrate those wins, and acknowledge any mistakes so you can learn from them.
Hopefully now that you’ve looked and seen how far you’ve come, there are things to celebrate even if maybe you didn’t at first think there would be. And you can now see which goals still need more work, and what parts of your business you want/need to concentrate on next. And a bonus, you’ve got your current situation written down, ready to track in the future too.
So now you are ready to set some goals and get planning for next year!
If you’re not sure how your plans and goals fit in to the rest of your brand, and you’d like some help with getting to know your brand, or even creating it from the start, take a look at my 50 page Create Your Brand workbook . It walks you through my twenty essential steps to sorting out and thoroughly getting to know your brand. So that you can really make your brand recognisable and memorable for your ideal clients, so more of them find you and want to buy from you!
PS Are you in my free Facebook group Your Brand Story yet? For tips and chat and lots more on all things brand and brand photography. Click the photo to come over and join us:
How to Review Your Year