5 tips to propel your business forward through 2023
As we reach December, it’s time to conduct a mid-year business review to check your business performance thus far.
In the fast pace of entrepreneurship, we often forget to take a step back to review what has been working, and what hasn’t.
This is why business reviews are crucial to your business’s success.
These mid-year business reviews will help you to assess:
Have you been meeting your objectives?
Which changes have proven successful so far and which ones need improvement?
These are just some of the burning questions business owners should be asking themselves when assessing performance.
The mid-year business review not only helps you look back at what was but also encourages you to look forward – to determine your course of action for the next six months.
This may sound daunting, but really it’s not. We’ll take you through the frameworks and some tips that will help propel your business through the next half of 2023 and beyond!
- Why are mid-year business reviews important?
- Business review Tip #1: Evaluate your performance to date
- Business Review Tip #2: Set quarterly goals
- Business Review Tip #3: Develop an action plan for the next quarter
- Business review Tip #4: Prepare contingency plans
- Business Review Tip #5: Celebrating your successes
Why are mid-year business reviews important?
Mid-year business reviews offer the perfect opportunity for business owners to do a pulse check on:
- How the business has been performing,
- Whether any changes have been effective, and
- Business goals or objectives and if they need to be adjusted accordingly.
An honest and objective assessment helps to measure if your business has veered away from its intended goals.
Don’t lose heart with poor performances. Poor performance doesn’t necessarily indicate bad strategic planning or that some of your made choices were poorly thought out.
Instead, it’s important to note that every business strategy will require adjustments throughout a founder’s journey. What matters more is the ability to be proactive in recognising it.
To keep you on track here’s a little inspiration from Richard Branson –
“Business opportunities are like buses: there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson
With that, here are 5 mid-year business review tips that could help your business thrive in the second half of the year.
Business review Tip #1: Evaluate your performance to date
Before you jump into your mid-year review to evaluate your performance, ensure the proper groundwork is set – and here’s how.
First things first… ensure your accounts are up-to-date.
You simply can’t review your financial performance thus far if your accounts are outdated.
While this may seem logical to most, you’d be surprised at how tedious day-to-day account management can be. It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to place this low on their priority of (endless) tasks, only to realise that they’re months behind on their paperwork.
Thankfully, automated services are available to assist in making your business life easier, such as Sleek’s accounting solutions. With the right tools, you not only make your evaluation easier but also future-proof your business.
A more productive and organised company? Yes, please!
Secondly, take a look at your metrics.
What metrics are you using to measure your company’s performance and are they the right ones?
For instance, if your objective was to increase customer loyalty, perhaps looking at growth in sales revenue wouldn’t be the best way to do it.
Instead, measuring a metric such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) would be more appropriate.
Determining which metric you manage and track will correlate to how you measure financial success. This will undoubtedly help you in figuring out which systems and tools to implement, based on your goals.
Sleek scoop: there are plenty of free and paid tools available to help you automate and track your business for success. There’s Google Analytics for website tracking, Buffer for monitoring social media, sales and expenses trackers and HubSpot CRM to analyse sales activity in real-time.
Once you’ve laid the proper foundations for your review, you’ll now be able to get an accurate assessment of your performance to date.
Which metrics have you excelled in and what changes were made to do so?
Identify the sweet spots in your analysis that stick out to you. These are the crucial insights that will help to indicate where your business should be heading.
Business Review Tip #2: Set quarterly goals
Think of the last time you made a New Year’s resolution (yes, it’s that time of the year too!).
Did you follow through, or did the goals fall through? Chances are, like many others, you most likely ended up in the latter.
For many businesses, the story is no different.
Research has shown that yearly goal setting simply doesn’t work, with only 5% of small businesses reaching their targets.
This isn’t because they aren’t working hard enough – but simply because annual targets are just much harder to sustain.
Instead, consider breaking down your goals into quarterly targets with Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
What are OKRs?
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) can be seen as similar to Key Performance Index (KPIs) with one exception: OKRs provide a more strategic framework for setting and achieving goals.
For example, this is what the difference between KPIs and OKRs looks like –
- Setting a goal with KPIs:
- Hit sales revenue of 3 million by year-end.
- Setting a goal with OKRs:
- Objective: Increase sales revenue by 20%
- Key result #1: Acquire 50 new clients.
- Key result #2: Increase Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) by 15%.
- Key result #3: Improve customer retention by 80%.
From this, we can clearly see how breaking your business goals into
(1) quarters with objectives and
(2) a series of actionable results
can be a more effective way of meeting your business goals.
Utilising OKRs in your mid-year business review can also boast several benefits including boosting team focus, productivity, and success rates.
Sleek scoop: when planning goals, remember to be SMART i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In other words, is this a beneficial and realistic goal to set?
Business Review Tip #3: Develop an action plan for the next quarter
Now that you’ve got your goals in place, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal, but not before you know where you’re headed.
As with any other strategic decision, it’s important to have an action plan in place.
With your OKRs, you now have a clearer set of short, actionable goals in mind.
Here’s a great template of how you can develop your action plan and follow through with them.
Use this template to clearly set out your OKRs noting the key results to achieving them and the person responsible for each result. You can quickly visualise the achievements by quarter!
As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Business review Tip #4: Prepare contingency plans
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that circumstances can change on a whim.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of uncontrollable factors that can disrupt even the best of plans. This is why contingency plans should form a key part of your business strategy and review.
Contingency planning is a proactive strategy to future-proof your business against unforeseeable events that could disrupt daily operations.
Ideally, your contingency plan should include a well-defined course of action for management to take in the event of an unforeseeable event.
The purpose of a contingency plan is to allow normal operations to resume as quickly as possible in the event of a disruption. It protects your resources, minimises customer inconvenience and identifies those responsible as well as the necessary actions to take for recovery.
In the age of cyberattacks, supply chain disruptions, and potential economic uncertainty, contingency plans cannot be overlooked if you want your business to grow.
Sleek scoop: list down the key risks to your business, followed by their likelihood (high vs low probability), then impact (high vs. low impact) when developing your contingency plan.
Business Review Tip #5: Celebrating your successes
From idea to IPO, there are plenty of milestones along the way to publicly celebrate your success. However, it’s often easy to overlook these achievements amidst the daily hustle and bustle.
It’s important to remember that these milestones represent a perfect opportunity to leverage your wins for greater success.
Celebrating milestones helps to foster a culture of appreciation and recognition while getting the word out about your company’s accomplishments and plans. As such, there is great business value to attain from publicly celebrating your achievements.
Use your wins to convey appreciation to those involved from customers, stakeholders, and staff.
For instance, Zendesk celebrated its 10th anniversary through an art contest that showcased the best of its employee’s work and company values.
Don’t forget to celebrate the little wins on your road to success.
If you’re unsure of which milestones to celebrate, here are some ideas of what you can consider:
- Major anniversaries from 1, 5, 10, and 15 years of company formation
- Funding announcements
- Initial Public Offering (IPO)
- Business acquisition
- Conquering new markets
- Hitting a goal e.g. first 100 customers or making your first 100,000 in profit
As you complete your mid-year business review, remind yourself of what inspired you to run a business in the first place. Take a look at your progress so far and see what improvements can be made to better tie them in with your end goals.
Remember, it’s a long and winding journey to success. But with the proper tools, resources, and help, the road ahead will certainly be an easier one.
At Sleek, we’re focused on helping your business grow. From registering a company, opening a business account, or bookkeeping and accounting services to help you manage your business, right through to CFO services for strategic guidance and full financial plans.
Take the guesswork out of uncertainty and leave your business operations in the hands of a trusted expert. Reach out to us today to get started.