How was your 2021? Was it a productive year for your business filled with rebounds and returns to normalcy? Was it a continuation of the mess that was 2020, filled with lots of unanswered questions?
How was 2021 for you personally? Did you meet your financial goals? Did you meet your mental or social goals? Are there resolutions left on your 2021 to do list that are about to carry over?
Whether your 2021 was the best year ever or the worst year on record, it is important to take the time to reflect on what went wrong as well as what went right. This post will walk you through the importance of reflecting and analyzing your year as well as providing questions you can ask yourself to help assess what really worked and what did not. The best way to start your 2022 off right is to make certain that you understand the how’s and why’s of 2021.
Assessing Your Business
Assessing your business can mean a lot of different things. There are entire industries made up of business assessment and for owners of small businesses or first-time entrepreneurs it can feel impossible to understand whether your business truly had a good year or truly had a bad year. However, this process doesn’t have to be extremely convoluted or complicated. In this article we’ll focus on two methods of evaluation: numerical and historical. In other words, what do your balance sheets say happened and what are the real-life events and hurdles that your business went through that may have affected those numbers.
The first method is pretty cut and dry. Do your profits outweigh your losses? Are you taking in more than you are putting out? These are traditionally what people think of when they want to assess the health of their business and they are very important. However, in the “change on a dime” pace of the pandemic and the challenges that come with it these numbers may not paint an accurate picture of the challenges and victories you faced. Sometimes victory can be found in loss, but it is also true that defeat can be found in wins.
What are your highs for this year? Did you exceed expectations during a certain month? A certain quarter? How well did you retain employees? Were you able to take time off? Did your employees do the same? Were new business relationships and partnerships formed? What victories did members of your team celebrate? Do you feel like a wiser and more accomplished person as well as business owner or manager?
These are all questions that you need to ask yourself in order to properly assess 2021. Numbers are an important part of this process, and the data should never be ignored, but you must also develop a keen eye for sensing the day-to-day health of your organization and the people within it. In a year like 2020 and even like 2021, projects are bound to be off. However, just because your business did not have the financial year, you’d hoped for doesn’t mean that it didn’t have a successful year. Happy employees with high retention rates will make or break 2022, the same goes for you as an individual. If either party is dissatisfied or in a personal slump, it can have a great impact on the highs and lows of years to come.
What are your lows for the year? Did you fall short of financial goals? Were sales down for certain months? Certain quarters? Did you struggle to retain employees amidst sick leave, wage issues, and unhappy environments? Were you unable to find time to unplug and recharge your own batteries? Were employees too busy struggling with debts and expenses to take time off? Did business partnerships and relationships deteriorate or even cease to exist? What setbacks and losses did you suffer personally? In what ways did your team struggle or even fail?
These questions can be harder to answer, especially if they lead to mistakes in your responsibility. However, these questions are the most important because they help you to understand not just your own flaws but the flaws within your system. Make sure that you and your team take the time to sit down and talk through what went wrong. The only way to correct your mistakes is to have a thorough understanding of them, only then can you make a concerted effort to do better in the future.
Whether your 2021 was good or bad, the best way to start 2022 on the right foot is to set your expectations. What do you want to see happen in the new year? You may want to see increased sales, or more stable Profit and loss or returns on investment. You may want to see increased employee retention and productivity. Or maybe you want to see a higher morale within the workplace. Whatever your goals are, it is important that you sit down and not only right them out but right out a plan of action that leads to their completion. You can’t double your sales on a wish, but you can think through and plan out steps that will make that wish a reality.
How will you do things differently in 2022? Whether your 2021 was good or bad, if your intention is to do the exact same thing in the New Year then you have set yourself up for failure or at best stagnation. Part of assessing your business’ year is taking the time to understand what you could be doing that’s new or what you could continue to do differently. Even if all you find are minor tweaks, make sure that you think through what might be next for your business. Think through your dream scenarios if all goes right and your nightmare scenarios if all goes wrong. When you plan for the unexpected as well as the expected you prepare yourself and your business for any kind of weather.