Whether you opened a new business in 2015 or have continued running yours, it’s always a good idea to take stock of your accomplishments (as well as setbacks) at the end of the year. Doing so can help you strategize for the future, as well as set goals for 2016.
First, Look at Your Highlight Reel
Take a moment to make a list of all the wins your business had this year. Did you turn a profit for the first time? Hire your first employee? Get a great, long-term client? These are all achievements you need to recognize!
Sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees, so I find it helpful to write a narrative describing my company and its accomplishments as if I were someone else writing an article or biography for it. Something like:
X Company successfully boosted revenues by 20% in 2015, and looks to increase them by 30% in 2016. The business signed on a high profile client, securing its place in the Y industry. Additionally, X Company hired three sales people, which will help it expand in the Z region next year.
Having evidence of all your hard work in print can bolster your confidence and help you move in new strategic directions in 2016.
Be Open to Acknowledging Your Mistakes
Hey, we all make them. Burying your head in the sand won’t help you grow as a business owner. Instead, list the errors you made in your business. You’re not being critical here; instead, you are staring your mistakes in the face so that you can learn from them.
For each setback, assess what caused it. What could have prevented it? Keep this information in mind moving forward so you never make the same mistake twice.
Set Goals for 2016
Now that you have a report card for 2015, use that information to strategically plan where you want to go and what you want to accomplish in the new year. The more detailed your goals (meaning: use numbers rather than vague ideas), the easier it’ll be to achieve them.
Having a snapshot of your highs and lows keeps you honest about your business. If your list of low points is longer than your highlights, consider the underlying issue. You’ve got to constantly tweak what you do, learn, and grow to evolve as a business owner.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.