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Essential year end review questions

Fresh Squeezed 005: Essential Questions

How would you summarize the year?

Me? I’m tired of all the jokes, memes, and complaining about 2020. To be honest, 2020 was a good year for me in a lot of ways. Sure, COVID, lockdown, social distancing, volatile markets… but all of those things are beyond my control. The things that are in my control went quite well!  I suppose that as an introvert who has worked from home since mid-1993, I’ve been training for 2020 my entire life. 🤪

With only 16 days left in the year, many of us are closing our books, preparing for our accountants, and planning for the year ahead.

While you could simply dream up a wish list for next year and hope that it comes true, it’s way more fulfilling and effective to take charge.

Before you can plan effectively, you have to know where you are now. And in order to *really* know where you are now, you’ve got to look at some things — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s essential to reflect on the year that was in order not to repeat it and to derive the insights needed to plan to take 2021 by freaking storm.

These are the questions I am asking myself as I reflect on 2020. Next week, I’ll show you my answers if you’ll show me yours. 😉

  • What am I most proud of from this year? What memorable project, assignment, or goal did I complete?
  • What’s a goal I gave up on this year (or fell short on). Am I glad I did that because objectively it wasn’t my highest priority?
  • What did I try that didn’t work out, but the process of trying it moved my thinking forward in a helpful way?
  • Were the goals I set really that important?
  • What lessons did I learn?
  • What new habit or routine did I create this year that has had a positive impact?
  • What did I face head-on this year rather than avoiding?
  • How did the pace of work, and the pace of progress feel across the year?
  • Where was the majority of my time and energy spent? Am I happy with the way I spent my time overall during this past year?
  • What areas can I take a step back from?
  • If I could change, reschedule, or delete, one regular appointment or meeting from my calendar, I would change ________________________.
  • How did I use my spare or personal time? Am I happy about my decision?
  • Did I take my full vacation time or allotment? Am I happy about my decision?
  • Who’s help or support have I been most appreciative of? What relationship was the biggest positive surprise to me this year?
  • Did I give more of my time to others this year than to myself?
  • What am I tolerating?
  • When I consider this past year in full, how do I feel about the progress I personally made?
  • How would I summarize the year?
And last but not least, know your numbers.

It’s important to determine what KPIs (key performance indicators) you need to monitor to know if you are moving in the right direction or if there are problems looming. I can’t say that I enjoy this part of business, but I am disciplined about it. I keep it simple and only track things that matter to me:
  1. Projected revenue. This is not an end of year thing, but it is one of the greatest tools. I keep a spreadsheet to track projected income for the months ahead based on recurring revenue and projects I expect to close or have already scheduled.
  2. Profit and loss. I have multiple businesses and review these each month for each business. At mid-year and year-end I review these with my financial advisor (who acts as my CFO) and my CPA
  3. Marketing metrics. Back in June, I wrote a monster post about How to Perform a Marketing Check-up for your small business. End-of-year is a great time to do this. It will most certainly influence your planning for 2021.

 

“Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.”

~ David Ogilvy

 

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