With 2018 drawing to an close, you’ve likely been thinking ahead to next year. But before you begin developing your marketing plan for 2019, let’s pause to review and celebrate the last 12 months! You’ve probably accomplished a lot, even if some days it doesn’t feel like it.
Your Year-End Review
If you have a formal business plan, hopefully you’ve been following it throughout the year, but if it’s just been sitting in a file or on a shelf somewhere, take it out and dust it off. Even if you started the year with just a few goals or ideas scribbled on a piece of paper, dig them out, or at least try to remember what they were.
Because each business and each individual is unique, there is no single standard of measurement of success, and the only way to assess your accomplishments during the year is to look at where you are now in comparison with where you had aspired to be at this time.
Even if you didn’t make any specific goals for the year, you can list all the ways you’ve grown and improved since the beginning of the year.
As you make your list, think about the following areas of your personal and professional life, as well as any others you consider important:
- Family and Relationships
- Audience Reach
- Charity and Volunteer Work
- Business Vision
I’ve created a form you may find useful as you’re completing the exercise. You can access it here.
Consider your answers to the following questions:
1. What have I achieved this year?
Did you reach or surpass your goals? Did you accomplish something you didn’t expect?
2. What worked well?
Who were your most profitable clients? How did they find you – or how did you find them? This information will help you determine where to focus your marketing efforts.
3. What didn’t work? What can be improved?
If you fell short of your goals in certain areas, see if you can determine why. Was the goal unrealistic? Were there unforeseen circumstances? What would have had to be different for things to have gone the way you planned?
4. What do I want to achieve by the end of next year?
What’s important to you? More clients? More speaking opportunities? More income? More free time?
If you’re a long range thinker, this exercise may be easy, but even if you’re not, I strongly encourage you to take a pen and paper and write down your thoughts. According to the Law of Attraction, the simple act of writing down your goals actually sets things in motion. I’ve actually experienced this myself!
One time when I was doing this exercise, I discovered that many of the things I’d been looking forward to at the beginning of the year had come about, even though I didn’t consciously try to make them happen. How much more could you accomplish if you really set your mind to it?
5. What do I need to help me reach my goals for next year?
Do you have the skills and resources you need? Should you take any courses or read particular books? Would it help you to work with a business coach?
It’s important that you set aside time in your schedule for activities that will bring you closer to reaching your goals. Would outsourcing website maintenance or other tasks free up time for you to do so?
By taking time to do this review before the end of the year, you’ll arm yourself with a plan, the motivation to carry it through, and increased potential for success in the new year.
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