As Christmas approaches like a freight train it’s time to reflect on and review the past year. To do that you need to do what most find hard and that’s stop.
Get off the treadmill and stop what you’re doing and give yourself and your managers space so that you can look at the year and review how well or not it went. Even if you are your business and there is no one else, it’s so important that you do this.
Doing this is vitally important because you don’t want to repeat the mistakes of this year, you don’t want the same issues holding you back and you want take what went well into next.
To help, here are 3 questions you (and your people) should ask.
1 – What didn’t work?
Ok – let’s start with a pretty obvious one – obvious but very important.
Write down what didn’t work – actually write it down. Make a list of the things that didn’t go according to plan like goals missed, product failures, supplier failures, lost key people from your business, lost contracts, complaints and so on.
Take the time to analyse what happened and what, with the benefit of hindsight, you could have done differently so that problem would not arise. Are there lessons to be learned that you could take forward into next year?
2 – What did work?
It’s equally important that you assess what did work. Again, write down those things that worked and analyse why they worked and the positive impact they had on your business.
Were certain efforts and initiatives more rewarding than others? Did a particular marketing tactic attract more prospects than others? Did some relationships work better than others? Where did you win over your competitors? And so on.
Again, take forward what you learn and exploit these strengths.
3 – What were your top 3 challenges?
A key purpose of a strategy is to overcome those big challenges that previously hindered your business’ success. These challenges could have taken you away from driving your business forward or added to the cost of running your business or had some other negative impact.
Did you have a higher turnover of staff than you’d like? Did your people miss targets you’d set? Did you have to spend too much time in your business resolving problems? Did you spend too much time doing tasks that were non-revenue generating? Did you struggle to step back enough to keep on course?
If overcoming or at least reducing the scale of these challenges would benefit your business then amend your strategy to include the solutions to these problems. Don’t ignore them and hope they’ll go away because they won’t.
Asking these 3 questions and finding solutions to their answers can in itself have a hugely positive impact on your business and could even constitute the core of a business improving, a business strengthening strategy that will positively impact your business for years to come.
If you need help in overcoming that which didn’t work or those challenges that held you back then work out the investment versus the positive impact on your business and if the numbers add up then get that help.
Photo credit: John Liu on Flickr