How to review an unpredictable year - 7 questions to ask yourself

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2016 has proven to be a very strange and unpredictable year.  With the unexpected results of Brexit, and Donald Trump about to take office as President of the USA, along with deaths of key figures, this year has taken a lot out of many people. 

What has it been like for you and your business?  Let’s be honest.  Sometimes business can be a real struggle.  It’s not all moonlight and roses.  It takes hard work.  This can often be missed in the overnight successes we read about without noticing the years of hard work that makes that overnight success.

So how has 2016 been for you?  In this post I want to highlight 7 questions I ask myself each year to help review the past year and look positively to the future.

Annual Review & Future Goals

1. What would you like to do more of in 2017?

This is not just about what you personally like doing–though that’s important too.  It’s thinking about what would help you grow your business further.

We definitely want to help even more small businesses have clarity and direction in their online presence.  Running more clarity workshops and putting on webinars – and fulfilling the rest of our marketing plan will significantly help with this.

2. What would you like to do less of in 2017?

Sometimes you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing as it’s all too easy to get focused working IN your business and not ON it. There can be tasks you are doing or even services you’re providing which are not the best use of your time.  It’s not that you need to stop doing those particular things but you need to do them less or even look to outsource.

A key area for us in the last two years had been that of web development.  Techniques and practices continue to move ahead at breakneck pace and our time was better spent elsewhere which is why we outsourced our main core of development to a wonderful team in the Ukraine. They are always on top of the latest developments –  in a way we could never be -  and it allows us to focus on working more directly with our clients and helping to guide their digital marketing strategies.

This has worked out very well for us and we will continue to look to do less development directly in 2017.

3. What projects would I like to start in 2017?

You may be providing a service for a client that you didn’t expect to, but it’s working out well and making you money.  In that case, perhaps it’s time to think about how you can package this and sell it to other clients.  You never know, it may be just what they’ve been waiting for. 

This is what happened with our Clarity Programme which we developed for one set of clients and then reworked it for others as we saw how it could help them too.  We have now run it with over 40 people and look to continue to increase this in 2017.

4. What would I like to STOP doing altogether?

If there are aspects to your business that just simply aren’t profitable, maybe you’re spending far more time in a particular area than you can afford to.  Perhaps it’s time to cut your losses and remove that area from your business. 

For us, one area we noticed has been causing a lot of headaches is managing clients email accounts.  It costs us a lot in time and is not profitable.  We have already reduced this area and have made plans to reduce it even further in 2017 whilst making sure our clients are confident in their move to alternatives. 

5. What help will I need to achieve everything I want to and have listed above?

It can often be difficult for the self-reliant business owner to admit they need help.  It took me three years before I realised I needed administrative assistance and four years to recognise I needed a business coach to help grow my business in the way I wanted.

There can often be a gaping hole in the area of digital marketing which many businesses can go a long while before realising they need to fill it.  That’s why we now offer digital marketing coaching to help you in this area.  If this is the help you need to drive your business growth in 2017 get in touch. Book a free 30 minute session now.

6. What are my current revenue streams and how can I look to expand in 2017?

Are you clear about whats driving your sales?  Like the ‘what would you like to do less of’ question, this can be another one where you get stuck working IN your business and not taking a step back to get that helicopter view to know how successful or unsuccessful different aspects of your business has been.

This is a huge area with the aforementioned uncertainty in the economic climate. Now is a good time to think about whether you are relying too much on one revenue stream and what you would do – how your business would cope - if that stream dries up.

Make sure you know where your income is coming from and what areas you need to look to expand in 2017. 

7. Imagine looking back on 2017 from January 2018. How would you like to describe the year?

There’s a verse in the Bible that says ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’.  There’s a reason why it says that.  It’s good to have a vision of success.  What that looks like will differ from business to business, from person to person.  Know what yours is and describe in as much detail as you can what you would love to say about your business in 12 months time.

But make sure you have a vision.  If you don’t know what yours is or how to discover one, check out our posts on vision or book yourself in for a Clarity Assessment

Those are some of the questions we use to help us review the past year and focus on what’s coming in the new one.  You may have other questions and I’d love to know these along with your responses to the questions below.  Just post them in the comments.

1. What would you like to do more of in 2017?
2. What would you like to do less of in 2017?
3. What projects would i like to start in 2017?
4. What would i like to stop doing altogether?
5. What help will i need to achieve everything i want to and have listed above?
6. What are my current revenue streams and how can i look to expand in 2017?
7. Imagine looking back on 2017 from January 2018. How would you like to describe the year?

But for now, all that’s left to say – on behalf of all of us involved at RMLalchan CSA – we hope you have a peaceful Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Please note we are closed for Christmas from Friday 23rd December and are back at work on Tuesday 3rd January. For support issues please email help@rmlalchan.co.uk or leave a message on 07974 575 422.