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2020 is around the corner, and while most entrepreneurs are eager to plan for the future, many miss an important opportunity: conducting an end of year review for their business. Admittedly, it’s less fun to review the past, but by putting your last year under the microscope, you can learn a great deal about your company.

An end of year review is a great way to take stock of how your company is really doing. It opens your eyes to past achievements, as well as some areas you can improve. All of which can inform your 2020 goal planning. So before jumping into a new decade, set aside an hour, grab a pen, and invite a friend or mentor to run through this exercise to reflect on the last 12 months.

Outline 3 Areas of Success in 2019

CEO outlining 2019 end of review for business
CEO outlining 2019 end of review for business

What are three of your most significant achievements of 2019? Hopefully, you can think of many wins throughout the year, but try to identify three that created the biggest impact in your business. Here, you’ll want to pull in the numbers and look at the data you’ve collected over the last year. How much revenue did you pull in each month? How many leads did you generate? How many clients did you win? Were there months that you did exceptionally well? Were you trying a new tactic? Or were there some outside factors that contributed to your success?Maybe you hired your first employee, opening up space to take on new clients. Whatever it is, write it down.

Don’t stop there. Once you have three, take a moment to reflect on those achievements. Think about how you got there and, more importantly, how you might be able to bring more of these moments into 2020.

Write Down 3 Areas That Can Be Improved

CEO writing down areas for business improvement in 2020
CEO writing down areas for business improvement in 2020

What are three areas of your business that didn’t go so well? Again, look at the data. How many clients did you lose? Did you have a low revenue month? What were the factors surrounding this failure? Were they environmental? Maybe you had a bad sales month, or you tried a new initiative that never took off. It happens. Identify those areas and drill down to the root issue. Once you do, recognize what you learned from it and how your business has evolved because of it.

Identify 3 Initiatives You Have For 2020

CEO writing 2020 goals on whiteboard
CEO writing 2020 goals on whiteboard

Flash forward one year: Where do you see yourself on December 31st, 2020?

What are three things you can do now to put yourself on the path to that ideal state in 1 year? Take a minute to analyze those highs and lows. How do you keep the momentum going? What needs to change? Remember, it’s essential to look at the data. If you only use your gut, you’ll make emotional decisions and focus on the wrong things. Reviewing the data first and using that to identify the wins and losses will keep you focused holistically versus acting on how you feel in the moment. 

The purpose of writing down your answers or sharing them with someone else is that it forces you to get your thoughts out clearly and intentionally recognize your current state of work. Better still is that once you complete this exercise, you’ll walk away with a baseline. Once you’ve completed your review, open your calendar and schedule a monthly or quarterly meeting to do a few small reviews throughout the year. This will allow you to celebrate those wins and pivot when needed.

Want to learn more about conducting an end of year review? Visit Cultivate Advisors or leave Casey Clark a comment down below!

This article originally published on GREY Journal.