It’s that time of year, as we wrap up 2020 and prepare to move forward into 2021. That “time of year” in the world of management means time for a year-end business review.
What a year it’s been for the entire world and your business is surely no different. While every firm’s annual review is unique to their specific space in the market, there are 4 common elements to any good self-examination.
Look at the big picture
We’re not simply talking about all 12 months of the roller-coaster that has been 2020. If you’re a business that has been around for 5 years, look at 2020 in the context of everything that’s been accomplished up to that point.
This is also a year where most businesses took a hit because of COVID-19. If you have any way of accessing information regarding your entire industry’s performance, make sure to integrate that into your review. Perhaps your numbers are down—but if they outperformed industry averages in 2020, you’re well-positioned for a rebound.
The good, the bad & the ugly
It’s more than just the title of an old Clint Eastwood movie. The good, the bad & the ugly provides a template for understanding your successes and failures. The first 2 are self-explanatory: you had goals coming into 2020 that were either hit or missed.
The ugly is the unique one. This is the challenge that you weren’t expecting. It’s different than simply a missed goal. A missed goal or failed strategy is simply something that was tried, didn’t work and you were able to move on. But no one likes to get hit with the unexpected.
Suffice it to say, there was a lot of ugly to go around in 2020. Review how you responded to the many surprises and if they made you stronger for the long run.
Let go of old goals
Maybe there’s some aspect of your business that you’ve always wanted to improve, but perhaps certain circumstances aren’t working for you. When you review your metrics, take a hard look and ask why. It could be that the goal just requires more commitment or it could be that the commitment required is something that it’s not practical to make. Maybe the goal is simply unachievable.
If you realize that the goal has to go, but you have a hard time doing so, ask yourself why. You might be letting your emotions get in the way of good business.
Establish key takeaways
Don’t just finish the review and then set it aside. Sit down with your team and identify a handful of clear takeaways that you want action taken on. If you’re looking for a number, aim for at least 3 (so your actions have a noticeable impact), but no more than 5 (so you don’t stretch too thin).
The end of the year is a time for reflection and renewal for everyone and, if handled correctly, it can position your business for success in 2021.