As 2023 draws to a close and we flip open a new calendar, we naturally spend time reflecting on how things could be different – how we could be different in this new year full of promise. Yes, you’ll start working out again, yes, you’ll drink more water and get better sleep. And while you’re in the goal-setting zone for your own habits, consider turning your thoughts to your business. How could your organization be different in the new year? What do you need to improve? Here are a few questions to get your wheels turning on the reflection train.
1. Reflect on the year.
Start with a general evaluation of the year behind you. It might be helpful to do this as part of a group discussion with your key team members. Reflecting together provides an opportunity to discuss different viewpoints and solutions. Rather than dwelling on any failures of the past year, this is an opportunity to acknowledge them and create a path forward.
- What challenges did we face?
- What new skills did we learn?
- How can we avoid the mistakes we made for the upcoming year?
- How can we repeat our successes?
2. Revisit the fundamentals of your business.
Every business has their bread and butter; the thing you do best. Evaluate how those foundational products and services are doing! In your day-to-day, you’re probably already buzzing with to-dos relative to operations, projects, and client needs. Set aside time to specifically consider the core of what makes your business your business and consider areas of improvement.
Here are some things to reflect on:
- Hone your value proposition. What makes you unique? What makes your business the best choice for your customers?
- What are your best-selling products/services? Why? Can you apply those findings to your other services?
- Is there anything you can do to improve or streamline your offerings or how they’re accomplished?
3. Consider your marketing efforts.
Of course we’re going to tell you that marketing is important, but it is! Marketing is a key component of your business’ profitability engine. Look back on what sales strategies worked best for you over the last year and what didn’t. Also consider how the market might be different now. It’s important to evaluate your winning strategies and why they worked before jumping into the same tactics again.
Think back on:
- How do your marketing and sales strategies align with your long-term business goals?
- What changes have occurred in your competitive landscape, and how have they impacted your position in the market?
- Are there emerging trends or strategies among competitors that you should incorporate or respond to?
4. Update (or draft) your business plan.
A business plan outlines the goals, strategies, operations, and financial forecasts for your organization. If you don’t already have one, this comprehensive document puts pen to paper and provides a structured framework to guide your business growth. We know, finding the time to sit down and get this done can be difficult, but actually getting your ideas out of your head is extremely helpful in creating a shared vision with other stakeholders in your organization. Feel like you’re working towards something together, rather than drifting along.
- Evaluate your business operations and identify opportunities for efficiency improvements.
- If you have one, evaluate the effectiveness of your previous year’s business plan in achieving your objectives.
- Update your business plan to reflect any changes in your goals, strategies, or market conditions for the new year.
Without reflecting on where we’ve been, how can we create a vision for where we’re going? For your health and the health of your organization, it’s important to evaluate the year behind us. And then keep dreaming! For support in your organizational planning or help with its execution, Fuzzy Duck is here as your creative marketing partner. Here’s to a prosperous 2024!