How to Make Next Year Better than the Last: Your Business in Review

I’ve mentioned before that I’m in a “mastermind group” with Nicole Giordano of StartUp FASHION and Lorraine Sanders of Spirit of 608.

We meet once a month via video conference to discuss our businesses, bounce ideas off of each other, ask questions and problem solve.

Most of the time it ends up being half business strategy and half mental cleansing – I always hang up the calls feeling reinspired and refreshed.

Yesterday we had our last meeting of 2017 and the focus was centered around a “yearly review” of our businesses.

This one hour together ended up being especially clarifying — I think sometimes you just need to hear yourself say your goals out loud — so I thought I would pass along our outline to you.

Even if you’re not in a formal mastermind group, you can grab a couple of other small business owners (they don’t have to be in your industry) or you can go through the questions on your own.

Here’s how you can follow what we did:

FIRST 25 MINUTES: HIGHLIGHTS OF 2017

We each spent several minutes processing through the last year, sharing what went well and what didn’t go so well. For example:

What went well for me:

  • I re-launched The Crowdfunding Factory in February and transitioned the course to rolling enrollment.
  • I spent the spring rebranding the Factory45 website with Emily Belyea Creative. I hired a graphic designer to create content for the 2017 launch, and I worked with Falcon Related to reshoot the on-camera videos for the Factory45 program.
  • I opened applications for the the Factory45 2017 program, exceeded the number of applications from the previous year and started working with a new group of awesome entrepreneurs.
  • I spent the summer building Factory45 Global and launched the program for international entrepreneurs in September.
  • I co-hosted two live events and spoke at another one.
  • Factory45 wrapped up on December 1st which brought me to the end of the year and a much needed break!

What didn’t go well for me:

  • I had plans to launch a “Factory45 Marketplace” last spring but it didn’t happen. I realized I was trying to do too much in too little time, so it got pushed off as a non-priority.
  • I tried to outsource my Instagram content strategy and it was a total bust. The agency I hired was a huge disappointment and we parted ways shortly after.

As each of us went through our highs and lows of the year, we also allotted time to interject and ask questions, but for the most part it was stream-of-consciousness talking with little interruption.

LAST 25 MINUTES: GOALS OF 2018

We spent the second half of the call focused on goals and plans for 2018 — the big picture items, if you will.

One thing I find really helpful in this part of the call is to make affirmative statements about your plans. So, instead of staying “I want to…” or “I’m going to…” say “I will… “ For example:

  • I will open applications for both Factory45 and Factory45 Global in May and they’ll run together as one six month program in 2018.
  • I will spend the summer working with my designer to build the online store for the Factory45 marketplace, launching holiday season 2018.
  • I will spend the fall creating Factory45 2.0 (actual name TBD), which will be a new online program for product-based startups that are past the “launch phase.”

During this part of the call, we spent a lot more time asking each other questions, offering suggestions and giving constructive feedback. I highly recommend finding people to do this with who will be honest and upfront with their thoughts.


So, here are some prompts to ask yourself (and your peers) in your own yearly review:

  • What went well this year?
  • What didn’t go as planned?
  • What do you want to accomplish next year?
  • What steps do you need to take to make those accomplishments happen?
  • Which goals take priority?
  • What are your deadlines / launch dates?

Again, honesty (and realistic goals) is the best policy.

Happy year-end planning… no spreadsheets, budgets or accountants required!

 

factory45 owner shannon

 


Market45