Learning From Doing
For many, the Christmas season is a paradox. While it is a time filled with excitement, nostalgia, and giddy anticipation, it is also a time of inventories, financial statements, and year-end reviews. At home, it may be a magical season but at work, it’s a time for serious house cleaning. Successful organizations realize that year-end reviews are important endeavors, critical to both the company’s health and future development.
Here are 6 items to consider when looking back at the last year:
- Your Product/Service – To survive in today’s economic climate, a company must adapt. It must have the clarity to analyze the current state of the market, the agility to redirect its focus and offerings, and the courage to blaze an uncharted trail. Do your products and services elicit the same excitement they did last year? Do you coffers accurately reflect your projections? More importantly, how will your product or service fare in the coming year? If the old way isn’t working, cut your losses now and redirect for tomorrow. The only companies that can rest on their laurels are the ones that refuse to.
- Your Customer – Times change, and so does your target market. So much so, that last year’s customers may have little in common with next year’s. Have you noticed a shift in your customer base? Have their buying patterns changed? Remember that you are not in the business of selling your favorite product; you are in the business of giving customers what they need.
- Your Message– How are you reaching your target audience? What are you telling them? If your audience has developed since last year, so should your message. Are you fully utilizing your website, newsletter, and social marketing strategies? You say you don’t have a newsletter or social marketing strategy? Get one. The time to evaluate the benefits of social media has passed. Now you’re just watching the train leave with everybody else on it.
- Your People – Year-end is the perfect time to take a look at your personnel. Do you have the right people in the right positions? Are there places your team members can take on extra tasks and responsibilities, or is it time to look at hiring additional staff? Of the employees you currently have, do they have everything they need to excel? Are there opportunities for additional training or tools? Most importantly, do your team members know what they want for themselves? If not, help them build a career plan.
- Your Money – When most people think of year-end reviews, this is the part they think of: number crunching. This is a time not only to review your revenue for the year, but also your financial allocations. Did your marketing budget achieve the expected results? Where will you direct funds next year; Training, marketing, equipment?
- Your Future – Now that you have your comprehensive review completed, how will you move forward? Start with a general idea, maybe even reconsider your business plan, and then get specific. For every goal you set, attach a strategy, a leader, and success metrics.