It’s rare in business that we take time out to think about the bigger picture. We’re often so busy just keeping the business going (delivering for our clients, managing employees, keeping on top of suppliers, maintaining relationships with key partners etc) that the idea of taking time out for anything other than these core business activities can seem like a total luxury.
But review is a vital component for any business that wants to continue to progress, prevent stagnation and even better, kick on and take it to the next Level.
Below we highlight why, and what sort of questions you need to be asking yourself.
There’s no question that running your own business can get tiring, and it’s so easy to go from one thing to the next and not realise how far you’ve come. Often, because business can be so challenging, it can seem like 2 steps forward and 1 or even 2 steps back. It can feel like little progress has been made which can be de-motivating.
Looking back on what you’ve achieved in the last year and where you’ve come from can have a really motivating and emboldening impact. Because you’re right in the middle of it, you often don’t notice the progress that’s being made. It can feel like all the effort you’re putting in is having little or no impact, but looking back over a period of 12 months helps give a much clearer picture of just how far you’ve come, which gives a boost to go for it again in the next year.
Getting clear on what’s working
When you’ve got your head down and are running with the business, you don’t necessarily notice what’s working well.
What products are selling? Which are the most profitable?
What marketing is generating the most leads? What’s enabling you to convert?
Who within the organisation is being the most productive?
Where is your offering and a market opportunity really converging to help deliver more rapid success and thus where should you focus more of your efforts for further quick wins?
By getting clear on what’s working, you can identify where to focus your efforts and what to do more of to really help you kick on in the year to come.
Getting clear on what’s not working
Similarly when you’re busy with the day to day you don’t necessarily notice what’s not working. What products or services aren’t selling? Are there any products/services that you’re losing money on and are they loss leaders that provide you with other opportunities or actually could they be cut out?
Who within the organisation is not delivering for you? Are you focusing the majority buggy of your management time on keeping poor performers in line rather than rewarding, training and further enabling high performers?
What marketing is not bringing you leads? What types of leads are not converting and where are they coming from? Is it the sales process or the lead type that is leading to the poor conversions?
By looking in detail at what’s not working, you can identify areas where you may be wasting time and resources, that could be improved by just cutting them out of the business.
Working out what can be improved
Finally it helps to identify those areas that are working for you, but not working as well as they could. What products or services are leading to the most complaints and thus taking up a lot of your time? What improvements need to be made to eliminate these complaints?
Where has the market changed that you’ve not noticed and you’re gradually losing market share? What do you need to change in either your product offering or your marketing and sales approach in order to move with that change and ensure you remain relevant?
Where is your profitability being eroded? Where could you be more efficient, reduce cost and therefore increase profits?
Who in your team is causing you problems and is it down to them or is it actually down to one or a number of a lack of training, lack of a clear job description,lack of a clear personal development plan, lack of a structured appraisal process, a lack of motivation or a lack of clarity of the opportunities for them within the business?
Or maybe it’s simply about identifying where you can leverage on your current performance to go from good to great!
By identifying the areas that require explorer improvement, you can get clear on what you need to be working on in the year ahead in order to make your business so much more effective and ultimately deliver you the business and the life you want.
So there’s a lot to be gained from review. And the end of the calendar year can be a good time to draw a line in the sand and look back to gain lessons from the last 12 months.
If you’d like some help with doing this in a structured and effective manner, and some guidance on specifically where and what to look at, why not download our free Business Review Guide and start putting this important practice into action!
If you’d like to take this a step further and start planning to translate this learning into an effective strategy and action plan, then why not sign up to attend one of our “How To Drive Your Business To The Next Level” masterclasses in the new year?