If you run your own business, nobody else is going to initiate a business review except you. Regardless of your business particulars, here’s how to do your own business review.
Get out a pad and pen, or crack open a new document. Yes, I’m talking to you. Just like those children’s television presenters who’d cajole the kids to getting off the couch and joining their antics, I mean it. Let’s do this.
Get your books up straight
No, you can’t avoid this. Yes, it’s not fun. Yes, it must be done. Otherwise you’re just playing a guessing game. Mugs guess. CEOs act on real information.
Schedule a chunk of time in the upcoming week to get your books up to date so that you can –
See what’s working
Questions to ask yourself:
- Which offering made the most profit?
- Which offering lead to further, future sales?
- Which offering is a joy to give, and you want to give more of it?
- Which of your marketing efforts yielded the best response? (Be specific.)
… And what’s not
Questions to ask:
- What offering made the least amount of profit?
- What offerings should have lead to further purchases, but didn’t? Why?
- What offerings should be retired because they’re too complex, too difficult to sell, with too little profit margin and joy?
- What marketing efforts aren’t paying off? (Be specific.)
When are you busy and when are you quiet?
Look at your month-to-months sales and compare this with the previous year’s.
What months are busy? What months are quiet? How can you start your busy periods earlier and extend them later? Your quiet periods are when you’ll be taking holidays and doing all those jobs you put off in business because you’re “too busy.”
Don’t try to swim against the rip in you business tides. Enjoy your quiet periods to studiously prepare for your busy periods.
What housekeeping needs doing?
Is your house as gorgeous as it could be? Does your website need a spruce-up or a total overhaul? Is your brand look and feel consistent? If you’ve got a physical premises, could it be due a renovation, re-fit or just a fresh lick of paint perhaps?
Does your marketing work as seamlessly as possible? Are you working from templates of what worked well in the past, while being open to constant edits and improvements? Can you creative be improved? Is there consistency in style between all your marketing materials? Do you have a proper process, or check-list, of what needs to happen, when, with all pertinent detail?
What parties are you hosting?
The point of having a sparkling, attractive house is to host parties. Are you inviting people over? And I’m not only talking about your clients, I’m talking about potential clients (of course), as well as your colleagues, professionals in complementary industries, local business owners and entrepreneur friends and allies.
You have to invite people into your business – which means getting off the couch and pitching yourself – inviting others to collaborate, share, innovate together and create something larger than the sum of its parts.
Write your invite list
- List five colleagues who you admire. These may well be your competitors. Go beyond making endless overtures – pick up the phone and make a date.
- What other industries compliment yours? What professionals do you like to refer your clients onto? Make a list of five possible professionals to have a coffee date or cocktail with. Start a conversation with five acquaintances or strangers.
- What local business owners do you want to get to know? List five of them and then go get friendly.
- Do you have any allies or entrepreneur friends? List five possibilities and then go have fun. Invite them over. Talk business. Invite feedback. Entertain possibilities.
What templates do you need?
Templates get a bad rap because they suffer under the misconception that they’re cheap and nasty. Nothing could be further than the truth.
All smart businesses use templates – not only do they save time, but they give you a model to be consistently excellent, as well as to continually refine and improve. Templates give you time, consistency, and freedom.
- What processes you need ‘how to’ templates for (to use yourself and to pass onto others to do things for you)?
- What mini marketing plans do you need templates for?
- For all offerings, write out the ideal client interaction – what info do they need beforehand and afterwards? What offering could you suggest to compliment that particular offering? Is feedback being captured?
What do you need help with?
Have a look over what you’ve written. What’s missing? What do you need help with? What skills do you need to develop? What could you outsource? How could you better manage your skills, passion and perspective and put these to good use?
What things are you stuck on? Where would a different perspective be useful?
Where do you commonly come unstuck, make mistakes or slow down? How can this be minimised or avoided?
The nature of “to do”
At the end of this article, you’ve likely got a long list.
Please don’t go Googling “how to be more productive” – I’ve got the answer already – prioritise properly and regulate yourself.
Time management is a misnomer. You can’t manage time. You manage yourself by prioritising according to your values (like feeding your family) and acting accordingly.
Remember, action is everything. Otherwise, your business is just an expensive hobby, and reading these blogs are just entertainment. I’m sure there’s something more entertaining on TV than this.
Celebrating yourself and your business
Take yourself out, please. Your health and wellbeing is a top priority if you’re to thrive in business.
When you work for yourself, you miss out on almost all the perks of employment. So treat yourself like an employee and take yourself out for a long lunch to celebrate the start of another fruitful, abundant year in business working for yourself. And don’t forget to make a speech thanking yourself for doing such a stellar job.