It’s hard to believe that 2013 is in its final weeks, but as we approach the end of the year, it’s always a great opportunity to take a step back and look at your business achievements and lessons learnt over the past 12 months. It’s also a good chance to congratulate those who contributed to the successes as well as redefine next year’s strategy.
What were this year’s success factors for your organisation?
Whilst profits are of course high on the priority list, other factors will also play a key role in your overall business success and growth. So, can you identify any other areas that propelled your business forward this year? For example:
- Did you open new premises or expand existing locations?
- How much did you invest in new technology?
- Did you hire some new, creative talent?
- Did your social media strategy take shape?
- Were there any surprise successes that you had not planned for?
- Did your sales team become completely mobile using their on-the-move CRM tools?
How do you know where your organisation was successful? Is it a gut instinct or have you been benefitting from high level, accurate reporting throughout the year so you know every month, every week, where success has been achieved?
Did you learn any lessons over the past 12 months that changed the way you did business?
Even the most successful businesses need to constantly evolve to survive in the economical climate and to address market needs. However large or insignificant they might seem, look back over the lows of the past year and identify the lessons you can take from them. This should not be a finger pointing exercise, but a learning process.
- Did you lose a long-standing customer? What were the failure points leading to the loss? How have you changed your processes to avoid further loss?
- Did you take too much or too little risk and lose out? How did you reach this ill-informed decision? What’s your approach to risk now?
- Did you fail to see a change in the market demand and react too late, or not at all? How did you prevent this from happening again?
- Were you unable to retain one or more employees? What did their exit interviews reveal about their reasons for leaving? Have you empowered HR with the tools they need to retain key talent?
What’s the one thing you would change about the past 12 months in your business if you had the chance?
This may seem futile to try and change the past, and it is, but thinking about why you would change something might help you pinpoint where you can still make changes for next year. Dig deep, and think about all your business areas:
- Did you invest too heavily in an area without researching it properly and lose money?
- Did you hold back from expanding into a new market or business area?
- Did you invest in new technology?
- Were you innovative enough?
- Did you make poor judgement on something without looking at the facts?
Gather your executive team together and ask them the same questions, or do an anonymous survey if you think that could work better for you all. The end result is not to lay blame at all, but to work together to avoid making the same mistakes again and to unite in the planning for the future success of the business.
From this conversation, there will no doubt be suggestions for improvement and in next week’s post, we will be looking at how your business sets goals and tracks them.