As 2011 winds to a close, it is time to step back, take a deep breath (perhaps a very deep breath), and take a look at what did and did not happen this past year, along with what needs to happen next year.
Most people think they review the previous year but do you really do it? Do you set aside time to look at the successes (and not-quite successes) you and those around you have experienced? Is there something you could have done to get more tick marks on the success side of the tally sheet?
Sometimes it helps to break the year down into categories: by month, by customer, or by personal achievements. As you do this, take notes, either on paper or in a Word or Excel file. Next year at this time, you can look back and compare 2012 to 2011 and see where you made gains.
Look back at your calendar. What appointments did you have that led to more business or a better relationship? Why? What made those appointments different? What meetings or appointments did you have that didn’t go the way you wanted them to? Why? Was it lack of research or time set aside for planning? What could you have done differently?
How did your revenues and expenses compare from month to month? If you have spikes in either, is there anything you can do to even them out?
Review your list of customers. Who moved up and who moved down the list of most profitable customers? From what areas did the shift in business come?
How did your customers do this past year? Did you take advantage of opportunities to help them grow? If their success is your success, how can you help them succeed in 2012?
Did you take time to improve your knowledge base or share your knowledge with customers or co-workers? Remember, one’s imagination is limited by one’s knowledge so keeping people informed opens the door to new possibilities.
Do you see any trends? Were some months more successful for you than others? Success for you could be measured in terms of profits, new customers, low turnover, low rework numbers. What can you do to see better results in the months which were less successful? More marketing efforts? Better training of staff in order to fill in while you or others are on vacation?
What about you? Did you achieve your personal goals in 2011? Have you set goals for 2012? Have you set checkpoints in your calendar so that you can assess the status of your goals?
It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day stuff and forget to take stock of where you are. However, having reminders forces you to make sure you’re heading in the right direction and, if not, reassess and redirect your path.