Can you believe the holiday season is nearly upon us and the year is winding down already? Since it’s almost time to wrap it all up, it’s also time to evaluate and rev up for the upcoming year!
Important items to consider:
- Did your business grow?
- Where did your business come from?
- How much did you spend to make that happen?
- Did you spend your marketing budget wisely?
Here are some specific ways to evaluate your year:
1) Did you set measurable goals for your business?
- Net revenue goals
- Gross revenue goals
- Your salary goals
Any of these ways of measurement works so if you are new to being an entrepreneur pick the one that is most important for you. Keep in mind, though, that most successful people track all three.
Remember, you can only improve goals if you can measure them.
2) Where did your business come from?
Just as important as setting measurable goals, you need to keep track of where your business came from. That can be as simple as asking your prospects and clients how they found you and writing it down.
I recommend that you put together a simple spreadsheet or table in a Word document and list all your prospects. Include columns for the prospect’s name, phone number, business name (if applicable) and where they came from/how they found you and whether they changed from a prospect to a client.
- Did they find you through your boosted post on Facebook?
- Did they come to one of your online webinars?
- Did someone refer them to you?
This is incredibly valuable information to review at the end of the year so you can make informed decisions as to your smartest game plan for next year.
Here are some ways to review your collected information:
How many transactions came from (these are your income streams)…
- Client referrals
- Networking connections (and, specifically, which ones)
- Marketing (break down each marketing type separately)
- Social media marketing (you can even break this down further into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
- Email marketing
- Direct mail
- Monthly newsletter
- Co-marketing – Did you partner with another business? Remember, your marketing costs can be reduced if you work together with someone else. Plus, you can each reach more prospects if you are both working your lists.
With regards to tracking, hopefully, you are taking advantage of more than one type of marketing for business. In which case, you may have different sources that are bringing in business.
If you aren’t tracking where your business is coming from then, it becomes just a guessing game as to which ones are the best use of your time and money. Conversely, if you know exactly where your business is coming from year after year, you’ll know where to spend your time, money and effort to get the best rate of return.
Take the time to look at how much you spent on each marketing type and how much money it brought in to your business. Like the old adage says, sometimes you need to spend $1 to make $5. Next year may be the time to start spending some money on Facebook advertising.
Also, be sure to translate this information into percentages. What % of your budget did you spend on each income stream and what % of income did this bring you? This will also help you set your goals for next year.
Did you fall short?
Best laid plans, right? If your income didn’t grow or didn’t reach your goal, you need to evaluate why.
Now, some years there may be solid reasons why your income didn’t grow. Did you have a death in the family which took time away during your busiest season? Was there a hurricane that changed the landscape of the industry? These aren’t excuses but situations that should be taken into consideration when asking what you should do better or differently next year.
3) Time to plan for next year
After reviewing how much money you spent in different areas and how successful you were in each area, it’s time to plan for next year.
What is your goal?
Do you want to grow your business by 5%, 20%, 50%?
What will you have do to make that happen?
Let’s say you decide to increase your business by 20% next year.
Here are some goals you might set to make that happen:
- Improve my system & process for tracking my business
- Build stronger referral partner relationships
- Do a better job of asking for client referrals
- Invest more money in online advertising that are working
- Offset some of my marketing costs and increase my reach by co-marketing
- Dialing for dollars (ie: make more phone calls)
Then set aside some time (even just an hour or two) every month, to evaluate how well you’re doing towards your annual goal. Do you need to adjust your efforts?
So, after evaluating your year, did you have an A-Ha moment? Feel free to share with us below.
What will you do differently next year to ensure you set yourself up for a great year? The success of your business is up to you. Set those goals and set yourself up to achieve them!