As the end of the year approaches many small business owners start creating their goals and strategic plans for the next year without doing one very important step – a year end review. The year end review is simply a look back and review of the past year. Sports teams do this during every game to determine whether they need to change their game plan. It’s also used by corporations to determine business performance monthly, quarterly as well as annually.
A year end review can help guide your business decisions, strategic plans and resource allocation for the coming year. However, many businesses jump into the planning process without taking a look back. The year end review is not just a financial analysis but it should include an evaluation of all business areas – team, systems, products and/or services, and industry/marketing trends.
Before you spend hours and hours planning for the coming year, do a year end review using these three simple questions as a starting point.
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- What do we want to change or improve next year?
The answers to those questions will be helpful in determining your business’ overall goals for the next year.
Your year end review may also include a client/customer survey especially if you’re planning to launch a new product or service in the new year. You could use the survey to get feedback, build excitement and get your clients/customers involved in the launch. For example, maybe you ask them to help you name the product or service, choose a color or decide on a design. It’s fun for them and valuable market research for you.
Whether you’ve completed your strategic plan and goals for the next year or not, doing a year end review can be very insightful and eye-opening. Don’t guess about what is and isn’t working let the data and results speak for itself.