Year-end reviews are an important part of running a business. It’s wise to go over basic things, like finances and employee performance. But there are many other areas of business activity that go unaddressed. Here are a few easy-to-overlook areas worth evaluating at the end of the year.
1. Review how you’re collecting your data
Everyone is careful to do their best to analyze the data they have, but their focus is usually on the data that comes in, not on how they are collecting the data. Often companies put a lot of time and energy into collecting a menagerie of cluttered, irrelevant, and sometimes repetitive data. This can make it difficult to make informed decisions.
The classic example of a poor data collection technique is focusing exclusively on the number of website unique visitors. Businesses get an uptick in unique visitors as the result of a new marketing campaign and call it good. The better response, of course, is to simultaneously assess the bounce rate and level of engagement for those visitors. If a new campaign ends with people clicking over to your site and immediately bouncing, you haven’t really gained any traction.
Analyzing where your data is coming from can affirm that you are receiving applicable data that offers actionable insight into various areas of your business, or not.
As you wrap up your fiscal year, consider turning an existing data swamp into a more organized and productive set of information. Data observability tools help manage existing data flow and organization and can save your business money going into the new year.
2. Consider How to Build on Success
When reviewing your past accomplishments and future goals, it’s tempting to look for weak spots. Where did your company struggle over the last year? What areas are desperately in need of attention?
These are important places to address as you prepare for the next year. But they should only be starting points. Don’t come up with a potential solution for a glaring weak spot and call it a day.
Steer into that improvement mentality and look for other ways that you can massage existing success toward even greater heights. Create a list of your past achievements over the last year. Then brainstorm how you can build on that success in the upcoming months.
3. Evaluate Your Existing Metrics
One common end-of-year activity is assessing achievements and goals. These are helpful with high-level business management. However, if you really want to set yourself on the path to success, you should also evaluate your specific metrics that are already in existence.
By analyzing your current KPIs (key performance indicators) you can do more than assess if you reached a particular goal. You can also decide if each KPI itself is still a worthy metric going forward or if you should tweak it or even replace it.
Look for a good KPI evaluation tool that can help. It can equip you with applicable questions, like each KPI’s strategic value or understandability. This can help you hone your metrics going forward.
4. Think About Professional Development Opportunities
Finally, think bigger than performance reviews. That is a great way to see what you have gotten from your employees, but what about the other way around? How are you positioning your business to benefit your staff this upcoming year?
Look for professional development opportunities. Continual learning and fostering a growth-oriented culture are critical aspects of running a successful business at this point.
Make sure that these stay front and center. That way you can develop your existing staff, keep up with the trends, and retain talent going forward.
The end of the year is a busy time for any business. Don’t let the bustle distract you from the nitty-gritty details, though.
Evaluating elements like personal development and data collection can help you put your best foot forward going into the next year. This, in turn, can lead to happy employees, a cutting-edge over the competition, and ultimately a better bottom line a short 12 months from now.
Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.