Sometimes people plan the year ahead for their business, but not everyone reviews what has happened in their business over the last year. Yet there is so much to discover! You can learn a lot about business generally from courses, research and from other people, but your own experience can teach you how you achieve your goals, what challenges you come up against – which are unique to you. I strongly recommend an annual business review; reviewing how this year went for you, so that you can use what you learn to plan accordingly for next year (with my help in the next blog, if you’d like).
Let’s Do This – How to do an Annual Business Review
Take a few minutes to answer the following questions reflecting on the past year, allowing you to review your progress and challenges. You can go into a lot of detail in an annual business review, but these questions will dig out what matters to you.
- Did you make the progress you wanted this year? Did you meet your goals for the year?
- What have you achieved this year (planned or otherwise!)?
- These can be big or small, anything that you’re glad you’ve done, e.g. reached revenue targets, managed a full 2 hours work uninterrupted by children, got your website live, cleared your desktop.
- How did you achieve these things?
- Think about any strategies you used, e.g. goal setting, time management, accountability buddy, apps/programmes, coaching. Learning what works for you and how you achieve things is key to reaching your goals in the future.
- What didn’t you achieve?
- Did you have any goals at the start of the year that you didn’t achieve? Why do you think this is? This will be extremely personal to you. Examples include lack of time set aside for the tasks, needing help/ more knowledge, breaking down the goal into small enough chunks, ineffective marketing. Learning what stops you from achieving goals is extremely valuable – you can work around them to ensure you achieve what you want to in future.
- What was most successful?
- e.g. a product, service, marketing campaign. What made it successful? What can you learn and apply to future projects?
- What has made you happy?
- This is so important! Ensure you get as much of this sort of thing into your plan for next year.
- What have been your biggest frustrations?
- Describe the jobs you avoided or just plain went wrong. What can you do to avoid/mitigate these going forward? Maybe you can you get help with them or improve the systems to reduce wasted time and error.
- What have you learnt from this year?
Key information from this year
Make a note of this key information from this year for your business. Having metrics to compare year-on-year is a way of quantifying all the hard work you do and its impact. If you have any of this data from previous years do compare and keep it all together. What did you do differently to cause changes in these figures?
- Number of customers
- Visitors to website
- Email subscribers
- Social media followers (for each platform you engage with)
- Total revenue
- Total costs
- Profit (or net = revenue – costs)
I hope you find this annual business review guide helpful, and if nothing else feel really proud of what you’ve achieved. This information should be useful in creating your next annual plan; particularly what works for you, what doesn’t, and what makes you happy.
Check out our article “How to plan your business activities for next year” to help you do this.
Let me know if you have any questions about your annual review or want any help at firstname.lastname@example.org.