How to Do an Easy, Fast and Effective Year End Business Evaluation

by Jim Kaspari

You’ve worked hard and have been busy all year.  You’ve done your best.  Did you get the results you wanted?  Did you work as SMART as possible?  Did you get there as fast and as easily as you wanted to?  Most entrepreneurs don’t do a summative year end business evaluation.  They work hard all year, take a rest for the holidays and then set new goals and make a plan for the next year and drive on …

Unfortunately, when we don’t take the time to stop and evaluate what we did and how we did it, we stay on a very similar linear track as our past.  We do make progress, but it’s not the exciting quantum leap, breakthrough results that light up our life.  Doing a year end business evaluation is like sharpening a saw, doing maintenance on a car, or resting for a big race.  I highly encourage you to read this article and then set aside some time to “Go slow to go fast!”

One of my favorite business and life coaches in the world is Marie Forleo.  Simply put, good-humored, genuine, generous and genius.  She created a video that summarizes her approach  and recommends asking three questions:

  1. What did I do, create or experience this year that I’m really proud of?

  2. What’s one mistake I made and the lesson I learned?

  3. What’s one story I’m willing to let go of before the new year?

The reason her 3 questions are so powerful is that you can use them for any area of your life, not just your business.  Set a high priority appointment with yourself and review your relationships, health, fitness, happiness, environment or any other area important to you.

PEAK Business Coaching Year End Business Evaluation Model:

Step 1.

Take an accounting of your accomplishments for the last year.  Use your calendar, planner, appointment book, Google calendar, journal and to-do lists to remember it all.  It’s amazing how much you did this year when you really look at it!  Most of us check off completed items on our action list and then rush to the next thing … take time to celebrate!  Really, set up a date with yourself or a loved one or co-workers and have some fun.  You deserve it.

Step 2.

Capture in writing the information you need to make next year a major breakthrough year.  Don’t worry about being eloquent, what you write can be edited later if you want.  The main idea here is to take the time to evaluate, think and write down significant thoughts about last year that will help you work smarter, get more support and reach your goals easier and faster.  Answer the following questions:

  • What were your goals?

  • What are you committed to?

  • What worked well?

  • What didn’t work well?

  • What would breakthrough results look like next year?

  • What were my lessons learned?

  • What am I going to stop doing?

  • What am I going to do more of?

  • What am I going to start doing?

Step 3.

Determine the areas of business that you want to improve most and how you can measure your success.

Of course profit and loss comes to mind, but think in more detail than that.  Cash flow is queen in business.  I have many of my clients have their bookkeeper set up a custom report that tracks monthly gross income, fixed costs, variable costs and profit.  This is an elegant yet simple way to visualize what is going on financially with your business (note – this doesn’t include accounts payable and receivable).  If you see spikes and valleys, you can check out the detailed P&L to see what’s going on and make improvements or do more of what’s working.

Also consider key business segments like marketing return on investment, product or service pricing, sales, team performance, customer service, inventory, etc.

Measurements are simply how you know if you’re above or below your goals.  Examples include:  sales conversion [%], product profit margin [%], monthly profit [$], customer service rankings [1-10], etc.

Step 4.

Set your exciting breakthrough goals for next year.  Create an action plan for accomplishing those goals.  Come back soon to read our article on How to Create Breakthrough Business Goals and Action Plans.

If you want a handy year-end business evaluation form to use, simply visit our Business Tools page: