Every year we encourage company leadership to conduct a business evaluation or retrospective that digs into the successes and failures of the year – and provides a means for moving forward. While this is a common quarterly and yearly task in most businesses, last year made a standard apples-to-apples comparison of work well done very difficult.
For example, usually, when your leadership teams look at your business, they consider what worked well in comparison to past circumstances. But, how do you account for a complete switch from in-person to remote work – or required closures of brick-and-mortar business? How do you consider a complete change in customer behavior?
The changes brought about by 2020 make it difficult to learn from mistakes and carry successes into 2021. However, you can effectively look back at the year and discover what you should continue – and what didn’t work at all.
Ask These Five Questions
2020 was a year filled with changes – and there is a lot we can learn from the changes the occurred. Your yearly retrospective or evaluation should look at several factors:
1. What changes did you make and when?
2. What metrics do you use to measure business success?
3. Did your business grow or shrink based on these metrics?
4. When did the business changes happen as compared to the metrics?
5. When did you put other strategies in place, as compared to the metrics?
In asking these questions, you are looking to:
a. Understand the overall growth or market share loss over the year.
b. Understand how specific management-initiated actions affected loss or growth.
c. Discover actionable items that you can take this year that will benefit your company’s growth.
Viewing the particulars of 2020 will help your team create actionable items for 2021. There was a lot of “pivoting” in 2020. Companies had to close their doors or provide no contact options. Some businesses had to increase costs to ensure employee and customer safety – while others saved money by making all work remote.
Understanding which pivots and which changes created growth, and which caused shrinkages will give you and your team a focus for this year’s growth.
Vision for the Future
Goal setting begins a new year for individuals and businesses. As you start this new year, we encourage you to think about your vision for the future. Here are some additional questions to ask yourself and your team:
1. What would your company look like in an ideal world? This is a broad question that can be broken down in terms of growth, company culture, employee and customer satisfaction, product quality, product delivery method, and more. The sky is the limit when it comes to creating an overarching vision of the future.
The idea in asking this question is to cut through the “doomed” attitude many felt during 2020 and blossom into farseeing, energized leaders. Dreaming of a brighter future will help you to see the possibilities for your company. Doing this as a team provides more opportunities to think big.
As Norman Vincent Peale said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
2. What is the purpose of your business? Why do you want to achieve the ideals you have laid out? We ask this to help you and your team reinforce the reasons behind the changes you are making. Most business owners have purposes beyond making money. They want to create a new opportunity for customers, provide the best service in the business, or connect with people. Adding these purposes to the mix as you look ahead gives a focus to your strategies going forward.
3. Are there concrete steps to take this year to get closer to the ideal company? This is where you lay down the goals for this year and strategize how to get there.
4. How will you begin to implement these strategies? Creating the goals and strategies is one thing; the final step is implementing these plans.
Are you ready to bring your business goals into reality this year? Contact Business Success Consulting Group! We are here to work with your team on strategy implementation and execution.