Your Business Year-End Review
With the end of the year in sight, you’re probably starting to think about your goals for 2022. Me too! But first, we need to see how we made out this year. In this post, I walk through the process of conducting a year-end review in your business.
1 – Review your goals and outcomes
I begin my year-end review by looking at the goals I set and assessing the outcomes.
Some goals are just general ideas about improvements I can make.
For example, one of my goals for 2021 was to learn to use OneNote more efficiently. I’m now using it as a central spot for storing notes about my routines, client websites, and much more. This is saving me a lot of time, which is great, but because my goal was neither specific nor measurable, it’s hard to say whether I fully achieved it.
That’s why all the experts recommend SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
One of my other goals was to sign up ten new Website Care Plans over the course of the year. Because this one is a SMART goal, it’s easy to determine whether I succeeded. I’m not quite there, but the year’s not over yet either!
2 – Review where your business came from
Before you begin planning for next year, it’s helpful to understand how new clients heard about you.
Collecting this information can be as simple as adding the question to the contact form on your website or remembering to ask every time you receive an inquiry, but to get a good overall picture, you need a system for tracking this information.
This will help you discover which of your marketing and/or advertising methods are most effective. You can then improve those that are less effective or even scrap them, freeing up time, money and resources for others that will be more useful.
Since 2008 I’ve consistently found that the majority of my sales come from repeat business and referrals from other clients. Over the years, the second most important source of leads has evolved from local networking groups to social media and other online networks.
To keep track of my leads and referral sources, I’ve been using Streak, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) app that works with Gmail, for the last couple of years. It includes time-saving features like mail merge and follow-up tasks, but if you won’t use those, a simple spreadsheet will do just fine.
3 – Review your analytics
As you study your business results for the year, you may review data about your website traffic, social media followers, email subscribers, and other forms of marketing you’ve used.
Increases in any of these areas might make you feel good, but the numbers themselves aren’t particularly meaningful. For that reason, they’re often referred to as “vanity” metrics.
Understanding where the increase came from is much more useful. For example, instead of pageviews, look at where the traffic came from. This will help you decide what to focus on next year. These are “actionable” metrics, and they go hand-in-hand with your SMART goals.
It’s even more important to find out if the increase in traffic helped you achieve your business goals.
While reviewing my Google Analytics, I was pleased to see that organic search traffic to my website almost quadrupled this year. I worked hard to achieve that, by blogging about topics that are directly related to my service offerings.
However, as noted above, this did not lead to any new business. This tells me that now I need to improve my website so new visitors are more likely to contact me, or at least join my mailing list so they don’t forget about me.
How did you make out this year?
Position yourself for success in 2022 by scheduling a personalized year-end review of your website!