Now that 2019 is coming to an end, take some time to reflect on how your business succeeded, and where you can improve in the coming year.
It’s hard to believe that four quarters have already come and gone. For some, these past 52 weeks have seen an incredible amount of growth. Others may not have been so lucky. Whatever this year brought your business, now is the ideal time to take stock of your business to determine what’s worked and what hasn’t over the past year.
As CEO of a growing company, it’s easy to get caught up in your busy schedule and put the bigger picture on the sideline. That’s why it’s important that you check in with yourself on a regular basis to make sure you have the best plan of action for the next four quarters.
Here are five questions to ask yourself to get those ideas flowing.
1. How would I summarize the year?
A great way to start reflecting on the past year is by challenging yourself to write out a brief summary of the highlights over the past 365 days. When you look at the big picture, what highs and lows stand out to you? This question will help you narrow in on where you succeeded and where you didn’t, so that you can appreciate your big accomplishments as well as reflect on where you fell short.
Even when things didn’t work out as planned, you can learn from these experiences to improve your business in the coming year, as well as take notice of the resilience you and your team showed in working through the unexpected challenges.
2. Where was the majority of my time and energy spent?
When you’re in charge of running the entire company, your time is extremely limited, so you have to be intentional about what you spend it on. Were there any areas that you ended up having to take the lead on when your time could have been dedicated to more important work?
When I first started as CEO of my company, I was surprised at the end of the year to find that some of the projects I thought we had been making headway on weren’t as far along as I had hoped. With that knowledge, I realized that I had been spreading myself and my team too thin.
Hiring more talent helped us reach our deadlines as well as gave my staff more time to focus on key projects.
3. What areas can I take a step back from?
While looking at where you spent your time, consider whether your presence was actually necessary. As the boss, it’s natural for you to want to make sure that your team is doing the best work possible, but you won’t have time for what really matters if most of your energy is spent micromanaging.
Identify what areas are functioning successfully and can continue to do so reliably without your direct management. Delegate this work to employees you can trust, and dedicate your limited time to the things that require your specific expertise.
4. Were those goals we set really that important?
When you were making your plans for 2019, you may have had a lot of lofty goals that you wanted to focus on. Unfortunately, business doesn’t run on a straight line. Curve balls, last-minute requests, and urgent issues popped up on a daily basis, sidetracking you from your to-do list.
Sometimes the goals we set don’t become as important or even as relevant as we thought they would be. If this is the case, then let go of those plans and use that insight to become more efficient. Don’t get too attached to an idea if it’s not going to provide any ROI.
5. What would a successful 2020 look like to me?
What success looks like varies greatly from person to person and company to company. As the leader, you know best what’s important for the future of your brand. Yes, we all want profits and strong revenue. This is the lifeline of any business. Yet it’s not the only thing you should be working toward come 2020. There are other values that are equally as important. Like the culture and morale of your business, your employee satisfaction and retention rate, and your personal health and wellness. Without these things in check, your business will only grow to a certain point before it starts to suffer. Whether you’ve had a hard year or your most successful to date, look at 2020 as an opportunity to start fresh, both personally and professionally.