Happily, summer has arrived. While many businesses tend to slow down in the warmer season, summer can be a boon to your business. How? Because the slower season is the perfect time to give your business a mid-year check-up.
You can wisely use this typically slow time to reflect on 2019 to see what is working, what is not, and then institute some changes to put you ahead when business picks back up.
Mid-year reviews help your business stay on track and keep your goals in sight. Whether it be a simple status update or an overhaul of some of your practices, this mid-year review can help you formulate a better plan.
There are three steps to the process, and it is deceptively simple. Essentially the mid-year process involves sitting with your team and answering three big questions about your small business:
- What has worked?
- What has not?
- Where can we do better?
Let’s drill down into each.
1. What have we done right and what successes can we acknowledge?
Begin with the positive. What were your best successes so far this year and how did you achieve them? Outlining practices that worked, goals that were met, customers satisfied, and money that was made and saved is critical to understanding next steps you might want to take for your business.
This part of the review is an opportunity to find the pattern in why things worked well. Which area of your business produced the most profit? What services have been popular? What performed well on social media?
In this regard, you might want to employ the 80-20 rule. Which 20 percent of your efforts created 80 percent of your successes? You might want to emphasize those going forward.
2. Which failures are obvious and why didn’t you reach some of your goals?
This part of the review can be the most painful but is also the mostnecessary. Looking at failures gives you an opportunity to get your business back on track. A mid-year review is an ideal time to take a look at mistakes made in the last six months. What didn’t work well - and why?
Dig in. Look at it all: products that fizzled, where your team may have dropped the ball, opportunities missed, dissatisfied customers, marketing mistakes, money lost and squandered.
Understanding the why is critical here. Again, we can look to the numbers to help see where our business didn’t excel. Where have you been losing money? What posts didn’t get good engagement? Is your marketing bringing in clients? Having these numbers provides crucial insight into what needs to be changed moving forward.
Suggested reading: Use a Small Business Dashboard to Understand your Data
List the mistakes, list the root causes, and begin to think about needed pivots to correct the situation.
3. What do you want the future to look like for your company? How can you implement some changes?
This is the payoff: A mid-year course correction.
Knowing the successes and failures of your business and the numbers that drive those ups and downs should lead you to some conclusions. This final step helps you consciously manifest the future of your company. This is where you outline your vision, and importantly, the steps it will take to get there.
Ask yourself: How can we not make the same mistakes again? And how can we double-down on our successes? What has stopped or hindered our progress? And given all of this, should you have some new, updated, concrete goals based on the above? You want to be both big picture and minutiae oriented here. What is the vision, and what are the exact steps needed to implement that vision?
Finally, write down and keep your new goals in view at all times - this way, they’ll always be in sight, even when the day to day gets in the way.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
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