The year is winding down. Although it’s a good time to look ahead, make resolutions and plot goals for the new year, we encourage you to take a moment to reflect on and celebrate the year you’re leaving behind.
WHAT WERE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS THIS YEAR?
Small business owners, what were your accomplishments, large and small? Did you set goals at the start of the year? Which ones did you meet? What accomplishments were off the list? What strengths or skills have you added to your toolbox?
Have you integrated a new habit that’s making your life and/or work better, or ditched one that wasn’t doing you any good?
Did you donate, volunteer, or do something nice for a friend or a stranger? Think about anything you did rooted in generosity and kindness.
Did you build, sustain or evolve any important relationships?
If you got out of your comfort zone, what did that look and feel like? What was the outcome? Even a ‘failure’ can be an accomplishment because it means you put yourself out there and tried.
Take few minutes and write down your answers to these questions. Read over it again. Can you expand on anything here? What can you learn from your experience?
For example, if you did some really great work for a client, ask them for referrals or a testimonial.
Is there anyone you should be thanking for their help or support?
EVALUATE YOUR CLIENTS AND YOUR PERFORMANCE
When you look back on your year in business, it’s important to evaluate what’s working and what needs to change. Here are a few ways to evaluate your clients and your own performance:
What clients were most profitable?
Determine the Gross Profit per client. Sales - Direct Costs = Gross Profit. It’s one of the most important metrics you need when you’re self-employed.
Who were your “A” clients?
"A Clients" are your best clients. Spend more time with them because they are profitable, and they get your culture. Your business plan should plan how you will find more of these clients, and limit the number of clients who are not "A". We all have clients that don't fit our culture, or drain our energy. Now is the time to decide if you are going to keep them, or break up with them. If you chose to keep them, at least make sure you are getting paid a premium.
What clients aren’t aligned with your values and core business?
Now is a great time to give your business plan a look over. Once your business plan is clear in your mind, go through your client list and pick the clients that don’t fit your culture or business plan. Look at the data and do an objective evaluation of which clients are detractors. Decide with intention which jobs you want to continue with this next year. You probably became self-employed in the first place because you wanted to choose who you worked with - now its up to you to follow through on that.
CELEBRATE YOUR YEAR
Sometimes we’re so busy looking ahead to the next goal that we forget to appreciate where we are and what’s in the rear-view mirror. Taking the leap and running your own small business is a huge accomplishment in and of itself.
Whatever you accomplished this year, we hope you give yourself some kudos and take some time to savour that good feeling!
All small business owners have something special to offer clients. Choose to focus on your special offering and these big picture questions. Choose to delegate the tasks that shouldn't be taking your attention - like bookkeeping and taxes. Here is how we can help make your life easier - give us a shout today.
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