The end of the year naturally makes us look back at the yearâs events. Too often, however, we look back at our businessâs ups and downs, with a focus on the âdowns.â We beat ourselves up over what we didnât achieve and the plans that failed to materialize. If this was the year you hoped to start a business, but didnât, you might be even more down on yourself.
Well, snap out of it! This year, as you look back, choose to focus on the positive. Here are five questions to consider, and five action steps to take to put your business (or your business plans) on the path to success in 2012:
1. What goals did you achieve this year?
Think back over your business plans for 2011 (hopefully, youâve got a business plan to refer to, even if itâs just written on note paper). Give yourself credit for what you achievedâeven for taking partial steps toward your goals.
Determine whatâs needed to follow through and either reach your goals or take them to the next level.
2. What goals did you fail to achieve this year?
Donât beat yourself up about thisâbut learn from it. Was there a good reason you didnât reach these goals? Maybe you decided they didnât make sense to pursue, or you went in another (better) direction. But if there are goals you wish you had achieved, assess the reasons for the failure.
Figure out what you can do differently this year to achieve those goals.
3. What did you learn this year?
Did you gain new skills (learn social media, understanding your financial statements, pursuing government contracts)? Give yourself credit and assess how much of what you learned helped your business grow.
Choose three new skills to learn this year that will move your business forward.
4. What relationships did you start this year?
Did you join new organizations or meet new people (either online or off) that could lead to bigger, better things? Maybe you met a potential investor, partner or major customer.
Make a plan for following up with those new people and getting more involved with those organizations in 2012. But donât rest on those laurels, map out a plan to make more contacts next year.
5. What did you love and hate this year?
Weâve all got aspects of our business that we love working on and others that we dread. Think about what you felt passionate about this year, and what you hated doing.
Whether by delegating, outsourcing or shifting your focus, think about how you could do more of what you love and less of what you hate in 2012.
Need more help figuring out how to reach your business goals? SCORE mentors can help. Visit SCOREâs
website to get matched with a mentor and get free business advice 24/7.