This time of year is perfect for looking back, reflecting on the year and resolving to make changes. You have a whole year to look back on, so it’s a good time to analyze what your business has done, measure your success and make plans for next year.
As a business coach, I encourage business leaders and entrepreneurs to take some time to purposefully reflect on their business. I feel it’s important to continued success to ponder on past actions and learn from them to create plans for the future.
Here are a few suggestions to help you reflect on 2015 and make plans to grow your business next year.
Revisit your Business Plan
First, pull out your business plan. Ideally, you’ve been referring back to this regularly, but now is a good time to really analyze it. Look at what your plans were and then consider how well you’ve followed through.
Take notes about parts of the plan that were successful and parts that didn’t work out. Why didn’t you succeed? If it’s because you fell short or didn’t follow through, resolve to focus on these areas next year. If it’s because the plan wasn’t effective, make changes so it will be more effective next year.
Measure your Efforts to Reach Goals
Take a look at your goals and measure your successes. Your goals should be measurable, so this step should be relatively easy. Either you met your goals or you didn’t.
If you did meet your goals, write down what you did well and why you were successful. Also take note of where you fell short and try to determine what went wrong.
Take Stock of Accomplishments
Look back on the last year and list all of your business accomplishments. Recognizing things like increased sales, a growing client base, a bigger office with more employees, a stronger social media presence and other marketing, financial and business accomplishments is important.
Congratulating yourself and your colleagues for how far you have come is important to maintaining unity and ambition and will light a spark that will drive your team to achieve loftier goals next year, growing your business even more.
Note Business Growth
It’s important to specifically note business growth. Of course, it can be encouraging to see how far you’ve come, but it is also an important part of planning for the future.
As your business grows, its potential to accomplish more and make a higher profit also increases. When you know how much you have grown, you can set realistic goals that will take your business to the next level in 2016.
Ponder what Went Wrong
Just as it’s important to recognize success, it’s also important to think about what went wrong. Think about where you felt short this year or challenges you faced. Consider how you overcame these problems and whether you feel like you were successful or not.
Most importantly, think about what you learned from these problems. Failures can bring opportunities if you learn how to better prepare your business and team to take on future challenges. Add these preventative measures or plans to bypass obstacles to your business plan for next year.
Plan for Obstacles
Of course, your business will always face new obstacles, but learning from challenges you have overcome can help you avoid making the same mistake twice and even help you prepare for similar situations.
Think about how you overcame challenges and what kinds of unexpected problems you faced this year. Then, add plans for conquering similar problems to your business strategy.
Adding processes, opening lines of communication, making time for due diligence and changing the way you approach things can all help you avoid obstacles in the future, but your plans will be unique to your business.
Change Goals and Make new Ones
Finally, take a good look at your current goals. You’ve already assessed whether you achieved them or not, so now it’s time to change them and make new ones. If you were extremely successful, consider setting your goals a little higher or making new ones to help you grow different areas of your business.
On the other hand, if you didn’t reach your goals, decide if it’s time to change them or if you need to work harder to meet them next year.
Make sure everyone is aware of these goals and how they fit into the big picture of success so you’ll be more likely to achieve your 2016 goals.
I always encourage my clients to take time to reflect and find ways to improve the way they do business, and now is the perfect time to do it. If you would like some one-on-one help with setting goals that will help you increase your income, contact me.