Looking Back and Looking Ahead

As the year winds down, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your business accomplishments and look toward the future.

It’s also a good time to review your goals, see what worked, what didn’t, and what you want to achieve in the coming year.

It’s often hard for small business owners to set aside the time for this process. But it’s worth the investment as it gives you a chance to really scrutinize your business and assess your strengths and where you could improve.

How Did We Do?
As you start your review process, you might want to compose a short questionnaire that helps you examine your business’ performance.

You can prepare questions such as:
What were our biggest accomplishments?
What were our biggest disappointments?
Where is there room for improvement?
Are there new roles I can take on? What are they?

As you review, point out your top three accomplishment of the year. Then focus on what didn’t go so well. Remember, it’s important to start with what went right and then look at where you can improve. If you only look at the negative, you might not be motivated to pursue additional goals.

Sales and Marketing
You want to give special attention to your sales and marketing efforts. Again, ask yourself questions. What channels worked best for your business? Can you continue that success into the next year? Look specifically at social media, which has become an essential marketing tool. It’s important to use it effectively.

You also want to look at what didn’t work. Is there a specific marketing method that proved unsuccessful? Have you looked at alternative marketing methods (like contests, loyalty programs, rewards for customer referrals)? Consider swapping out one low-performing method for something new you haven’t tried yet.

Goals
Look at the goals you set for the previous year and how well you did in meeting them.
Are there some goals that no longer work? Don’t be afraid to let go of stale goals. Ask yourself, “Is this goal worth having anymore?” If the answer is “no,” feel free to release it and focus on goals that better serve your bottom line.

You can also look ahead to next year and establish new goals — both short- and long-term. Do you want to hit a specific sales goal? Hire more employees? Explore a new promotional channel? Make your list both realistic and manageable and something you can easily track.

Obstacles
While you’re setting goals for 2019, also look at what might prevent you from achieving your objectives and what you can do to overcome those challenges.

Follow Up
Mark your calendar to follow up on your progress in three months and then six months. Keeping track of your goals is the best way to achieve them and can help your business thrive.

And finally, remember to relax and enjoy the holidays with friends, family, and co-workers. ’Tis the season to be jolly, after all!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Farmhouse Creative!

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