Where did the year go?!
As things wind down, have you considered these 10 essential questions to ask of your business so that you can build upon a strong foundation in the new year?
It’s worth taking a few minutes to consider how you would answer.
It’s December, and we’re all scrambling around trying to get the final tasks on our to-do list done before we head off onto a well-deserved break over Christmas.
However, before you throw paper in the air and run out the door, now’s the perfect time to reflect on everything that has happened over the last 12 months and consider how you can have a better year next year.
Here are the 10 questions to ask your business now.
1. Where are we now?
Look around you. Your product, your team, your office… what do you see? What about online, on your social media, and your customers? How is your content marketing tracking? Your financial figures? Where is the business right now and how did you get there?
As cliché is, whip out that SWOT Analysis, and think about the current situation.
2. Is this where you aimed to be?
Now that you have considered where your business is, how far off are you from where you planned to be?
Did things go off course slowly without realising it? Or was there an opportunity that you adapted to? Did things end up better than you planned, or were your goals not achieved?
Were you using content to communicate clearly at all stages?
3. Is this a better final outcome than we originally planned for?
Today’s world changes so rapidly! Which is why businesses need to be very flexible as events happen constantly throughout the months. The objectives you set at the start of the year may be very different from the ones you end up addressing.
So, are you pleased with how agile your business was, and that you ended in a better position, or do you have a lot of adjustments to make in the next 12 months?
4. What went wrong, and what did we learn?
Yep, things will ALWAYS go wrong. It’s normal, despite how minor or catastrophic they ended up being. You don’t have to be thrilled with these unfortunate events, however now is the time to consider what, why and how that happened, as well as what you can do better next time.
As cliché as it is, mistakes are learning opportunities- so, how many times did you learn this year about what to avoid in the next one?
Perhaps better content topics or media to engage your audience better? Greater frequency, higher quality and more relevant content all makes a big difference.
5. What went right, and what did we also learn?
Just as troubled times and challenges teach us, what about the good times? They’re great opportunities to take on board too. How did we take advantage of these good times, and how can we recreate them again?
6. What will work better next year?
After thinking about the highs and lows of the last 12 months, what can we do that will be more effective in the next 12?
It may be that you need to restructure some departments, purchase new software, adopt content marketing, change to The Cloud, upgrade security, expand your team or enter a new market. This all starts with considering the current year and what you determine will have more of an impact in the future.
7. Where do you want to be in 365 days?
It’s goal-setting time! What are our Financial, Marketing and Societal objectives that we are aiming our collective efforts towards achieving this coming year?
Do you want to communicate with customers better and offer them more value? Or perhaps you may want to position your brand to be a respected key opinion leader in your industry by addressing relevant topics and providing people with answers.
8. How are we pushing innovation?
This is a fantastic question to give your business a ‘jolt’. Innovation is the lifeblood of business profitability and endurance, but it gets overlooked all too often because we get set in our ways.
Ask yourself – how are you encouraging your teams to think differently? How are you fostering a culture of change? People need to be allowed to express creativity so that your organisation is not doing the same thing over and over, or worse - being put out of business by a new competitor!
Is it time for a marketing consultant to come in and offer a fresh perspective?
9. How are we growing internally?
People-power is the greatest asset in a business, which is why it’s worth taking the time to think how you are empowering employee satisfaction within a positive culture.
Sadly, work-life balance seems to really be struggling and poor mental health is becoming more prominent today.
How will you be taking better care of your staff next year, so they take care of your business better?
10. How will we be making a difference?
Whether it’s charity, customer service, environmental protection, offering more content resources or furthering society, the best and most successful businesses are always thinking about the bigger picture.
What reputation do you want to foster for your business? This comes from thinking about how you will make your mark - not from being the same-same every year.
BONUS: Did we take the time to celebrate?
It’s common to let the year roll over and we all get back to do it all again the following year. However, did we take the time to pat ourselves on the back and say, “good job!”? Did you say thank you to your team?
Don’t take each year for granted. Be appreciative of your progress and take the time to acknowledge everyone else who had an impact on the business’ success.
What about your content marketing?