How to Conduct an End-of-Year Review for Small Businesses

by Robert Best on January 6, 2021
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How to Conduct an End-of-Year Review for Small Businesses

Thankfully 2020 is over. Although it was a tough year for most businesses it's still worth reviewing your performance in 2020. At least the first half of 2021 looks like it will follow a similar path to 2020 so it's good to understand how your business performed last year.

The start of a year is a good time to take stock of how well your business is performing. A New Year is always considered a time of change for those striving for improvement.

An end-of-year review acts as a summary of the important moments and changes that may have taken place within your business. You may also want to note general updates and other important information as part of your check-up.

Doing an end-of-year review is important for small businesses to understand the impact of the pandemic on your company. The review will help you understand what's happening, and this can give you a clearer picture of the challenges you have to deal with and the opportunities you have in the future.

What are the different things you need to review? Here's a breakdown of important areas to conduct an end-of-year review.

What to include in your yearly review

Here are some suggestions for the kind of information to gather and review to help you understand how well your business performed last year and what direction you are headed.

List your accomplishments

A great place to start is by looking at what achievements your business managed last year. This isn't just awards or outside recognition. Include everything that went well for your business last year.

Include the following details when creating a list of achievements:

  • Any increase in the number of customers
  • Did you increase sales?
  • Updates to or new products
  • Awards or prizes
  • New employees
  • The number of positive reviews you received
  • New followers on social media

These are just a few suggestions of what you can include when listing your business achievements. This list will give you an idea of the kind of thing to look for your company. It's important to do this because it gives a clear picture of how your business has grown and what to expect in the future.

List things that went wrong

Every business has its own challenges, especially in 2020. These can often be chances to grow your business going forward. Make a list of the setbacks or negative changes in your business.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Lost customers
  • Negative reviews or responses
  • Negative feedback about products
  • Employees that left
  • New prospects lost

Creating a list of these negative events will help better prepare for the next year. It will help you spot some negative trends that you can work on this year.

Review your company's work in the local area

One of the important works you should include in your end-of-year business review is the state of your charity activity or work to do with corporate social responsibility.

If you have been doing specific work in your community list them here and consider the impact the works has had on your business.

If you haven't been active in this area, a review can give the wake-up call. Working within your local community can have many positive effects on your business.

Record anniversaries and milestones

Include anniversaries and significant milestones related to your business in your review. This review can include the following:

  • Employee anniversaries
  • Customer anniversaries (celebrate your customer anniversaries)
  • Hitting a major sales number or target
  • Fun events or activities within your business

Noting milestones and events like these add a much-needed positive note to your business activities. It reminds everyone that you celebrate your customers and your employees.

Review your technology

2020 lead to a unique working environment than none of us could have envisioned. Suddenly your business will have had to completely change the way it and your staff work.

The strain it would have put on your technology infrastructure was immense. Suddenly the infrastructure you had in place needed adjusting. Some businesses would have used a "plaster" approach and put in temporary fixes. It's now been 9 months and a lot of us still have to work from home.

In 2021 you will need to make sure your business technology is correctly set up for remote working.

Year-end financial review

Last but by no means least create your financial review for the year.

Even if you follow the financial year (starting in April) doing a financial end-of-year review is still a good idea. This will give you a clear idea of your financial health as you start quarter one 2021.

Use reports including your balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. These statements will contain all the information you need to do a basic review. You'll find areas that need improvement, expenses that need to be trimmed. This information is vital for you to make the right decisions for your business.

To help with this we offer a free IT audit that will evaluate and assess your current technology setup.

What to do with an end-of-year review

Now you've completed your end-of-year review what do you do with it? You should have more clarity around the state of your business as well as information you can use to grow your business this year.

Inform your employees

It's also important to hold an end-of-year review with your employees. In this instance, you can afford to discuss the challenges your business has faced in greater depth. Your employees are your boots on the ground and might be able to offer new insights to some of your challenges.

The end-of-year review can help you connect with your team better after a year of remote working. Your team will feel more confident about the business and will know how to perform better in the years to come.

Summary

2020 was full of challenges both personal and professional. As we start 2021 its vital that you consider your business performance last year and how you can look to grow your business in 2021.

Infotech Solutions can help you with a review of your technology. We offer a free IT audit that will assess your current IT infrastructure and help you make the adjust your business needs to perform in 2021.

For more information on the IT audit contact us here, email hello@infotech.co.uk or call us on 01634 52 52 52.

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