Year in Review: What You Should Look at to Evaluate Your Business’s Success
Another year has come and gone. As a business owner, it’s easy to look at the year ahead and think of the projects you want to complete and the goals you want to achieve. However, looking at what you’ve already done — as well as what happened in the previous year — can help you plan more realistically and strategically for the future.
So, before we start 2022 off with a bang, let’s review how 2021 went for you and your business.
What were your 2021 goals?
Go back to the goals you set for the New Year at the end of 2020. Maybe you wrote them in a journal, maybe you have them in your project management tool. Wherever they are, take a look at them. Which did you hit? Which goals did you decide to not pursue as the year went on? And were there any goals you added or extended as the year progressed?
This can show you a few things, including:
- What a realistic goal looks like
- Which goals were not realistic
- Your capacity for certain projects
- Just how much you accomplished in 2021!
Look at the milestones and achievements
Speaking of how much you accomplished in 2021, I also want you to take a step back and look at certain milestones that you hit. Maybe you had your highest revenue year or hired your first employee. Maybe you managed to take weekends off or spend time off your laptop with your family on vacation.
Write down those milestones — even if they aren’t “traditional” business goals. You can also ask yourself questions like:
- What felt fun this year?
- What projects were really interesting for me?
- Who did I really connect with this year?
- What challenged me in a way that led to growth?
Evaluate the numbers
Here comes the part you probably associate with a yearly review: the numbers. There are a few elements you can evaluate in this area:
- Your biggest revenue-generating product or service
- Your profit margin for each product or service (revenue minus expenses)
- Your KPI growth (inquiries, conversions, social followers, web traffic, etc.)
- Your expenses, including where your money went and the profit margin on those expenses (if it is a revenue-generating expense, like a team member)
Consider your experience
While numbers are a huge part of your year in review, I also want you to consider how each of the numbers above make you feel — and the experience you had with any growth or changes you’ve had in each of those areas.
When it comes to your biggest revenue-generating offers, how do you feel? Do you love providing them, or are you ready to move past them? This could offer insight into what you need to work on in early 2022.
When it comes to your profit margin, what did you realize? Are you profiting more than you thought or less? Do you want to see that margin increase next year?
As far as your KPIs go, which of those actually indicate performance? Let’s say you grew your Instagram following by 1,000 people — but you never got a lead or inquiry from the platform. Do you want to continue pouring effort into that platform? (It’s OK if so, this is just a thought exercise!)
Lastly, let’s consider your expenses. This can be an area where many of us have a knee-jerk reaction — “Oh no, I spent too much on this. Time to cut back.” But instead of thinking about where you can cut back, consider which expenses gave you something back — beyond money.
Maybe you found more time to exercise or take trips because you hired an employee. Maybe you spent less time on your phone because you automated email and social media with that software you pay for. Or maybe you love having someone come clean your house so you can focus on deep work during the week. Whatever your expenses are, consider them in terms of what they give back, too.
Let’s look forward
Looking at everything you just reviewed, take a moment to just reflect. Did you realize you accomplished more than you thought? Did you realize something, based on the numbers, that you didn’t know before? Are you excited about what you can do to keep your business growing?
Even if you’re feeling discouraged by things like a stagnant offer or a concerning profit margin, there is still so much room to improve in the coming year. So don’t worry — you can absolutely turn this ship around.
I want you to consider what you’re going to keep the same and what you’re going to change for next year. Are you going to cut back on expenses? Stay the course on your marketing strategy? Focus more on one specific KPI? Hire a team? What holes are you seeing in your business that you can make a plan to fill in the new year?
Last but definitely not least, let’s talk about what you’re letting go of. I know there are so many gurus out there saying you need to do XYZ to grow your email list or focus on a specific area of your business to see growth. But at the end of the day, you’re the CEO of your business. What you see during this year in review and how you feel while you do it will tell you a lot about what needs to be left in 2021. Maybe you’re going to say goodbye to expensive coaching that didn’t net you results. Maybe you’re letting go of a certain offer that just doesn’t click with how you want to work. Maybe you’re leaving limiting beliefs behind. Whatever it is, I want to give you permission to let it go, like Elsa.
2022: The year of strategy + intention
As we enter 2022, I hope that this year in review helps you see what you’re already doing well — and how you can grow. I will never be the one to tell you there’s a specific formula for growth. On the contrary, I believe that the path to your business success is a strategy rooted in what works for you, your audience, and your resources.
If you’d like help reviewing your business more in-depth and creating a plan for 2022 that helps you think strategically (instead of reactively), let’s chat. With my Focus Framework VIP day, you’ll gain clarity around the direction of your business and the projects to prioritize without adding a ton of extra to-dos to your plate.