What can we learn from past performance? Often when looking forward we forget to take the lessons from the past. Reviewing your people, processes and systems is a great way to understand what does and doesn’t work for you, and will put you in a strong position for growth in the year ahead.
Here’s are my eight simple steps to review your business.
1. SET YOUR INTENTIONS
To carry out an effective review of your business, it’s best to take a bird’s eye view. Approach the process with curiosity, rather than fear and criticism, and set an intention to celebrate wins and identify opportunities to pivot where necessary. By going into the review process with a positive mindset, you’ll look forward to the results and be comfortable in the knowledge that, no matter which way it goes, you’re making your business better.
2. MAKE A LIST OF QUESTIONS
Being purposeful about your review process sparks creativity and prevents you and your team overlooking important pieces of information, so start by asking three overarching questions. What should you keep doing? What should you start doing? And what should you stop doing? Remember, finding out what’s working well is just as important as discovering the things that need to change or be stopped completely.
To help answer these questions, you’ll need to drill down. What were your achievements and disappointments, and how did each impact business growth? Consider where there are pockets of inefficiency, and whether these happen every day or once a year. Can you improve your service to clients? If so, discuss how you can do this in a more time-efficient and cost-effective way. Does your technology support what you want to achieve? Ask what you learned in 2017 and how you can apply it going forward. Take a holistic approach and look at your team, your business processes and the technology you have in place.
3. CREATE A SCHEDULE
A good review isn’t over and done within one afternoon. It’s a deep dive into your business and your goals. Keeping pace is important, so schedule time in. Include your team in the review process and schedule their time accordingly. Don’t short-change yourself – you, your business, your team and your customers deserve the time and attention.
4. CELEBRATE THE WINS
Too many businesses focus on the disappointments and letdowns.
Make sure you don’t! It will only serve to hold you back from future success. When you focus on the negative, you’re subconsciously inviting more of it into your life. Review all your achievements and then list the top three. Make particular note of any people, processes and systems that contributed to achieving them.
5. IDENTIFY YOUR METRICS
What will you use to measure your agency’s performance? Sure, your financial statements will tell a story. But what else? By carefully reviewing your metrics and working out what contributed to your growth and success, you’ll be able to ascertain best practices for the future. Equally, knowing that you may have fallen short in some areas will help you make the relevant changes to turn things around.
6. REVIEW YOUR PAST GOALS
Identify which goals are worth keeping, which need to be eliminated and how you’ll redirect your energies to realise your desired outcomes. Don’t be hasty in ridding yourself and your team of worthwhile goals that didn’t pan out. Instead, look at other ways you might achieve them.
7. TAKE ACTION
Once you’ve completed your review, think back to the three questions you asked yourself at the start of the process. What should you keep doing? What should you start doing? And what should you stop doing?
You may decide to completely change a process, introduce a new piece of technology or restructure a team. But ‘out with the old, in with the new’ doesn’t always need to be the end result of a review. You may find that the processes and systems you have in place are doing an OK job and you only need to make a few tweaks here and there. Or you might find that they’re already working well and decide to do nothing. A decision not to make change is just as valid as a decision to make change and is a positive review outcome.
8. FOLLOW UP
Don’t forget to follow up. Once you’ve completed your review and planning process, schedule a regular time to perform mini reviews. It might be monthly or quarterly, whatever works best for you. A review is an ongoing process.
Make changes, note your wins and pivot as necessary.