For the successful growth of any business, it is vital to conduct regular strategic reviews that allow you to take honest stock of where your business is in order to set clear, tangible goals for the future. The start of the New Year is an ideal opportunity to do this.
In this blog, we have pulled together 10 questions to help you to reflect on the year just gone in order to refocus your business for the coming year. So, gather around the whiteboard, fill up the coffee cups and take some valuable time out with your team to work through these questions. There are, of course, many other questions you can ask, but these are a great place to start:
1. What went well?
What did you accomplish last year? What are you most proud of? Have you achieved what you wanted to financially? Are there personal developments that have contributed to the overall success of the business?
2. What didn’t go well?
Think about what hasn’t worked for your business. What could you have done differently? Whilst it is tempting to ignore the lessons, in favour of ploughing on ahead, the practice of reflecting on what has been learned serves to build a more robust and dynamic business moving forward.
3. What negative patterns are we repeating?
Taking time to stop and look at patterns that are emerging within your business is invaluable. Often, we don’t notice the small repeatable, negative habits becoming patterns. Stop. Think about what negative patterns are emerging and how you can prevent them as you move forward.
4. Are we growing in line with our business plan and vision?
Go back to your business plan. Are you growing in line with what you initially set out to achieve and what you want your business to be? As businesses grow and expand it is easy to lose sight of the business model that you initially laid out. Reflect on whether you need to change your business to realign with your business plan, or adapt your business plan to come in line with your current model. Keeping your vision for your business central, and regularly steering back to it, is vital as your business develops.
5. Is our brand message clear and where are we relaying it?
You brand message should be clear and come through in everything your business does. Does everyone in your team have a clear understanding of what your brand stands for? Is this being relayed in all your marketing and communication activities? Take a step back and look at your business from your clients’ and customers’ perspective. What are they seeing? How are you communicating about what you offer and what you stand for? Who do you need to have better (and more) conversations with?
6. Are people within our organisation happy?
Nothing is more important than ensuring that everyone in your team is pulling in the same direction. Are your team members happy? What could you be doing differently to ensure that everyone within your organisation is content and thriving?
7. How will we define success in the New Year?
What are your aims and objectives for the coming year? Discuss what your goals are and how you will go about achieving these. This process will ideally already be a regular part of your business management, so think more generally about what a successful year could look like for your business. This might not be a tangible ‘goal’ but rather an overall objective or culture you wish to nurture within the organisation.
8. Do we have the skill sets we need to reach our goals this year?
Whatever your business goals are for the coming year, have you got the skill sets within your current framework to reach them? Where do you need help? Whether you intend to develop these skill sets through training and internal development, outsource them, or recruit new team members, start planning for this now so that you are ready. Account for the time it takes to onboard new team members and to get everyone on the same page.
9. What theme would you give last year for your business?
In one sentence, or word, what theme would you give your business for last year? Was it growth? Transformation? Development?
10. What is your intention theme for the year ahead?
Now that you have reflected on your theme for last year, set an intentional theme for the year ahead. What would you like the defining frame to be?
We hope that these questions will help you review all that you have achieved last year and help get you ready for a successful year ahead.