5 tips to propel your business forward
7 minute read
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 mid-year reviews are crucial to your business’s success.
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 review also helps to determine your course of action for the next six months. Let’s look at some tips and frameworks that will help your business propel forward.
Why are mid-year reviews important?
Mid-year reviews offer the perfect opportunity for business owners to do a pulse check. You can gauge how the business has been performing, whether any changes have been effective, and if business goals or objectives need to be adjusted accordingly. An honest and objective assessment helps to measure if your business has veered away from intended goals.
Do keep in mind that poor performances doesn’’t necessarily indicate bad strategic planning or that choices you’ve made 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 recognizing it.
With that, here are 5 tips that could help your business thrive in the second half of the year.
Tip #1: Evaluate your performance to date
Before you can jump into evaluating your performance, you have to 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 You simply can’t review your financial performance thus far if your accounts are outdated.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 realize that they’re months behind on their paperwork.
Thankfully, automated services are available out there to assist in making your business life easier, such as Sleek’s accounting solutions, can assist in making your business life easier. With the right tools, you not only make your evaluation easier but also future-proof your business for the long run. A more productive and organized 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.
Protip: there are plenty of free tools available to help you automate and track your business for success. Read this article to learn more.
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.
Tip #2: Set quarterly goals
Think of the last time you made a New Year’s resolution. Did you follow through, or did the goals fall through? Chances are, 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.
- Setting a goal with KPIs:
- Hit sales revenue of 30 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 MQLs by 15%.
- Key result #3: Improve customer retention by 80%.
From this, we can 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. Utilizing OKRs can also boast several benefits from boosting team focus, productivity, and success rates.
Protip: 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?
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.
Download this free template.
As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
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, a contingency plan should entail 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, minimizes 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.
Protip: 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.
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.
Utilize 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’s a general list 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 review the first half of this year, 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.
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 to managing your bookkeeping and accounting. 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.