It’s that time of year again—the time where business owners do a year-end reflection and look back over the past 12 months to analyze what factors contributed to their successes and shortcomings. Evaluating successes and le
At Shift, we’re no different. We believe in practicing what we preach, so we thought it would be a great idea to give you a little insight into how we conduct our year-end reflection.
Invite everyone to the meeting
Here at Shift, we involved everyone in the year-end reflection. We find it so successful that we recommend you invite your whole team, if possible. Most successful small businesses are run collectively by all employees, not just by the owner. To remain cohesive, it’s important that your team is all on the same page, and involving everyone in the planning and reflecting process can really help with that.
With that in mind, when it comes to strategic planning for the coming year we also recommend having a collaborative effort. Listening to your employees to learn what worked and what didn’t will help you replicate actions in your business that supported your growth, and exclude activities that didn’t.
As an added bonus, by sharing your practice’s goals and targets with the team you open the door for your employees to provide recommendations for operational improvements.
Plan your meeting like a pro
Meetings can either be very productive or not at all. If you’re hopping on holding one of the former, we highly recommend that you prepare the agenda ahead of time and send it out to the team.
If everyone knows the topics of discussion for your year-end reflection beforehand and what level of involvement they’re expected to have, then the whole thing will go along much smoother. Your meeting session will be much more engaging and you have a better chance of covering everything you want to.
Not sure what you should be talking about? Some of the things on our agenda include the past year’s financials and coming year’s targets, company culture, staff onboarding and client onboarding. We even revisit our mission statement!
Make sure to celebrate your wins
When it comes to your year-end reflection, it can be really tempting to zero-in on the misses and ignore the hits. But that’s a really demotivating way to reflect.
So while we definitely believe in acknowledging misses and planning for future success, we also think you should make sure to celebrate your wins—no matter how small you think they may be. You want everyone to leave the meeting fired up for the next 12 months.
What to consider in your year-end reflection
Planning a year-end reflection can be intimidating if it’s your first time. There are so many things you can talk about and the past years seems like a massive chunk of time, but you’ll want to zero-in on the most important things so you get the most out of your meeting. Here are our two top picks for reflection areas:
Gah, budgets gross! We get it. But let’s talk about why they’re really important…
A few years back we reviewed all of our client files and it turned up something interesting—those clients that took budgeting seriously and actually did their best to follow their budgets reaped the full benefit of them. And their year numbers really reflected that.
Budgeting is one of those things that is well known but rarely ever taken seriously. However, it’s crucial because it forces you to take a hard look at your operations. If done properly, budgeting gives you a realistic idea of what constraints your business faces—cash flow, patient retention, collections, etc.—along with important things like how much you need to earn in revenue just to cover your expenses and how hard you need to work to reach your profitability targets.
Benchmarking is also one of those financial tools that everyone ignores, even though the value it adds can mean the difference between simply meeting your goals and surpassing them.
Benchmarking is simply the act of comparing your monthly and yearly results to your budget, prior months and years, and overall industry standards to see where you’re doing great and where you could use a little improvement.
It’s not rocket science, but you do have to be consistent with it. And it’s that consistency that really gets people—we might be gung-ho at the beginning, but month after month? We sometimes forget. Plus you need access to the right data to do an effective job benchmarking.
So, if benchmarking is so much work, why would you bother with it? Because it has a ton of benefits, it:
- Gives you more clarity on what areas of your business need improvement
- Provides data to support the need for change
- A true understanding of where you stand compared to your goals
Start 2020 off on the right foot. Take some time this year to complete a year-end reflection. That way when it comes time to planing your next year (which you should be starting to think about right away) it will be way easier.
Looking to have a great year? Let us help build a robust budget and help you make sure you’re hitting your goals month-to-month so you reach your goals next year. Interested in what we can do? Contact us today!