Top Year End Review Tips to Boost Your Business for the Coming Years
Dec 14, 2016
Setting and Evaluating Business and Marketing Goals for Next Year
Austin, Texas: As this year winds to an end, I try to take a few days away from the office to review our company’s performance — as well as to finalize marketing plans for the following year.
This time of reflection allows me to really dive into how our company performed – and I encourage everyone else to go through the same deep thought process alone –then with your marketing team– but away from the distractions of phone calls, text messages, tweets, snaps, etc.
Some of the ideas I try to ponder include:
- What was our biggest accomplishment this year? Can we replicate it? Was it a one-off project or happenstance? Was it one of our priorities from last year’s end of year review?
- What was our biggest failure or short-coming? How could we have avoided it? Was it an external or internal issue? Do we need to address this issue for the coming year or has it been fully taken care of?
- What are our top 3 objectives for the coming year? How will they be implemented? By whom? What budget is needed? What time frame? What are the first 5 steps to achieving this goal? What is the first and most critical step? Who will oversee each project or goal? Who do they report to?
- What is the one Big Hairy Audacious Goal we’d like to shoot for? This is the one thing that we cannot count on – but if we accomplished it, would take us to new and greater heights. Who will head this up? How many resources will be devoted to this project? What are the first 5 steps to masking this goal a reality? What will be the trigger to tell us to either turn back or keep going?
- What social media app will we double down and dominate next year? Will it be Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook Live – or something else? How much time and money will be devoted to this resource so that you don’t just dip your toes into it–but go into it 100% and establish a market leader position? Who will head this project up and why did you choose that person? What metrics will you assign to this social media marketing project – and how will you avoid hindering it when sales goals are not too immediate or even measurable?
- What social media app will you scale back from? Are you still tweeting away without any followers or retweets? Are you blogging like crazy but only your spouse, mom and direct reports read it? Choose one social media app to back away from – and use those resources to double down on the one mentioned above that you will crush.
- What were your most effective and least effective trade shows this past year? What made them so? Were there extenuating circumstances that either made it great or a bust– such as weather, the venue or city itself, your staff, your product or service offering itself, your marketing message, timing, new competitor, booth position, traffic flow, etc.? Consider all these circumstances and then pull out of your least profitable show and devote those resources either to a different trade show that you had been meaning to exhibit at, a larger booth at your best trade show– or toward other marketing and branding opportunities. Just because you’ve exhibited at a trade show for 25 consecutive years does not mean year 26 should be in your cards. Ask yourself why are you even still at that show? Evaluate and run your numbers and be willing to cut the cord on the least profitable shows.
- Take time to evaluate your staff and team to see who was most productive, who had the most impact in considering and suggesting alternative marketing ideas, who was most creative – and then reward them and encourage others to follow suit. Are you implementing an idea box where most creative ideas and suggestions are rewarded? How quickly do you implement or test new suggestions? How open are you to out-of-the-box thinking?
- Then, be introspective and evaluate yourself. This is often the hardest, yet most beneficial part of the analysis. Be honest with yourself. What was your personal biggest accomplishment of the year? Your biggest failure? What new ideas did you bring to the table this year? What social media app did you learn to use this year that you never or barely had used the previous year? Where do you see the company in the next 1 year? 3 years 5 years? 10 years?– and what do you envision your role in the company will be at that time? How will you be prepared to help its growth? What new blogs, podcasts, classes, meetups or online courses have you been immersed in this past year to expand your thoughts? Are you a sponge for new ideas or are you too quick to say “no” as a reflex? Do you stick to “tried and true” ideas without noticing that your competitors are encroaching on your turf with newer and better ways and ideas? Are you constantly trying to put your company out of business with something better? Most industries are changing very rapidly and it seems to be the upstarts that are (or will be) encroaching on your old business model. Instead of defending the old ways, isn’t it better that your own company replaces your existing one–rather than a competitor?
I have used this list extensively and watched our company, Geek Tech Branding, grow every quarter since 2007… and I don’t intend for that growth to end. Being pro-active helps our company to pivot and anticipate new threats and new opportunities as well…as long as we keep our eyes and ears open.
I hope this list serves as a starting point for you – and would love to hear what questions you ask yourself and your team as the year winds down.
Here’s to a successful new year!