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Craft Your Best Year Yet: Day 1 - Year in Review for Business Owners

I'm super passionate about goal setting (in case you didn't notice) and make it a habit to have mini CEO dates weekly, a more extensive CEO date monthly, and, of course, a thorough year-end review. Not because I'm a control freak, no, but because I've witnessed firsthand the positive impact it has on my business.


Given the challenging economic landscape for small business owners, I'm keen on seeing my fellow business friends and clients achieve significant success. Hence, I'm sharing my year-end review and goal-setting plan with you. There's immense power in doing this together.


This challenge is tailored for business owners aspiring for substantial growth in the coming year. Take just five days to sit down and create a strategic action plan for the year ahead. Your business is worth it.


Sometimes we really do need to pause on the going going going and doing doing doing and really sit with where our business is.


So why emphasize planning and goal setting? Well ... In my 12+ years of working with small business owners as an accountant and business growth strategist, my clients who consistently hit their goals and achieved profitability are the ones who planned and stuck to their plans.


On the contrary, those who struggle often lack focus, chasing shiny object after shiny object.


Here's how the challenge is going to go - Over the next 5 days, I'll guide you through the framework I use for my private clients and personally follow for HM Accounting to ensure your plan is in 100% alignment with your business and life.


Let's kick off with a review of the past year. Why?

2023 holds valuable lessons about what worked and what didn't work in your business. It can also help you determine the best course of action as you shift your focus in the coming days to the year ahead.

Professional athletes know the value of their tapes. Many professional athletes are recording themselves constantly during practice, during games and competitions and then they’ll spend just as much time in the viewing room watching their reels to pinpoint where they do really well, looking for the techniques they need to improve on, mistakes their making or a bad habit they need to stop.

Similarly, we want to review your business tapes from 2023.


I've prepared a free workbook to accompany today's challenge, which you can download here - Year in Review Day 1 Workbook (FREE)


Feel free to use this exercise in your own way, perhaps by journaling your answers.


STEP 1 - The Year in Review:





To kick off this transformative process, we start by looking back at the past year, month by month. There's a reason we go month by month. Often we remember the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows but everything in between gets a little bit fuzzy. We often don’t remember things that happened at the very beginning of the year compared to things that most recently happened in the last few months.


You can extract this information from various sources:

  • Calendar/diary – to see how much time you spent doing what activity.

  • Bookkeeping/Invoicing software – to see what your total revenue per month is and what items/services drove that revenue.

  • Other software – where you do email marketing, content marketing and social media marketing for example. What were you actively promoting and what was your focus that month?

All of this information really helps us to connect the dots between what activities we were doing and what results we were able to generate.


This is why I created the CEO Strategy Hour. It simplifies my year-end review immensely. The CEO Strategy Hour is a monthly workbook in which I reflect on the month that has passed and use it to plan for the month ahead. - Click here to get it!

This tool consolidates your activities, allowing you to connect the dots between actions and results. It's an extremely powerful resource for both reflection and future planning.


Key Questions to Ask:

  • What was the total revenue each month?

  • What drove the revenue (products/services/clients)?

  • What was your focus (what activities did you spend time on or promote)?


Understanding Sales Cycles:

The last question is quite important because sometimes the thing you were focused on, may have a lag in time before you see the result of it. So it's helpful to start to understand how long your sales cycles are.


STEP 2 - Identifying Patterns:





As you go through this process, you will begin to get a great snapshot of everything major that happened in your business over the last year and you will start to see patterns.


  • What offers were most profitable?

  • What marketing strategies yielded the best results?

  • What do you need to continue doing to amplify those results?


Notice what didn’t work:

  • Which products/services are not selling or slow sellers?

  • Which marketing campaign didn’t work and what plans didn’t happen?







You will also start to see if things got in your way – if anything held you back. Consider any time or energy sucks including any major changes to your life or business.







STEP 3: Double down on what works

Invest more in what works and eliminate what doesn't. If a particular marketing strategy or product isn't delivering results, reassess and refocus.





Let me know your insights and key takeaways in the comments below.Your experience might inspire and guide somebody else on their journey.


For Startups:

If you're just starting your business and don't have much to review, don't worry. Download this checklist - The Business Growth Guide and focus on the startup stage. Concentrate on what you've accomplished in the initial stages and use the checklist to guide your growth.


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