The end of the year is upon us. T-minus two weeks until we turn the page to a whole new year ahead of us. Before we jump to creating our 2016 personal resolutions and business goals, we should really step back and look at how we did in 2016. What would your 2015 report card look like? Let's take a look.
Why Spend Time Grading Yourself?
We cannot make progress with our heads in the sand. While it's not be easy to self-evaluate, it is necessary to monitor our successes and failures so we can better understand where we won and where we lost.
Take a moment and determine how you performed against your 2015 goals. Identify the specific reasons you excelled and failed. The more detail you can assign, the better you will be able to understand the why and make corrections to leverage the proper actions.
What Areas Should Be Evaluated?
Evaluate areas that pertain to your goals. Where are your biggest challenges? Which of these challenges prevented you from reaching your 2015 goals? These areas are typically a composition of the following:
- Operations - Look for ways in which you can streamline processes and operate more efficiently. Are there methods or new equipment that may require an upfront investment that will save in the long run?
- Sales - This is the easiest number to measure. Did you sell more or less? Were your margins better this year? What sales efforts and processes contributed to your grade.
- Marketing - Look at how many leads were generated for sales, how much these leads cost to produce and how qualified they were when they were passed on to sales. What can be done to convert more quality leads at a lower cost?
- Finance and Accounting - Dig in to see where you can reduce expenses and leverage cash flow.
- Human Resources - Grade your staff composition. Do you have the proper people performing in the proper roles? Are they satisfied with their work and the company culture?
- Customer Service - How would your customers grade you? Look at review sites for legitimate reviews (discount the bogus reviews) highlighting both the good and bad. Conduct a survey across your entire customer base to get a feel for how they feel you perform.
What Should Be Done With Your Report Card?
We will either hang it on the fridge or hide it from Mom. Good or bad, provided you've been both detailed and honest, your report card should be used to learn from past wins and losses and apply this knowledge in the upcoming year. This vital information will serve to be important as you structure goals for 2016. Create new goals / KPIs that you did not measure in the past to help better understand your ongoing performance. Don't wait until mid-December of 2016 to look at your progress. Review often and adjust when necessary.