Episode 75: 5 Reasons to Do a Year End Business Review

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It’s December, and that means it’s Goal-Setting Month! This episode is the first in a trio of episodes related to planning, setting, and achieving business goals. This is all about looking back at last year, goal setting for next year, achievement, and business planning

Minette and Brad both agree that the first step in this process … especially in December … is to look back on the last year and review how we did.

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. – Andrew Carnegie

We dive into 5 questions everyone needs to ask themselves to frame the past year:

  • what do you want to celebrate?
  • what do you wish had gone better?
  • did you reach your financial goals?
  • what do you want to do more of in the next year?
  • what do you want to do less of in the next year?

We can’t learn from our mistakes (or even our successes) if we don’t take the time to look back, so the end of the year is a great time to do that.

Minette and Brad go over 5 Key Areas that you need to review: Finances, Marketing, Business Systems, People, and Mindset.

Minette created a great explainer PDF: download here or view it inline

Your browser does not seem to support iframes. <a href="http://flowpaper.com/flipbook/?pdf=http://pathtoprofitacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/5-Reasons-to-do-a-Year-End-Review.pdf?wp-hosted=1" target="_blank">Click here to read this PDF</a>.

Transcript

Brad Dobson: Welcome to the Path to Profit Podcast, with your hosts Dr. Minette Riordan and Brad Dobson.

Minette Riordan: Hey, everybody and welcome back the Path to Profit Podcast. This is episode number 75: Five Reasons Why You Should Do an End-of-Year Review. It’s just Brad and I today. It’s my awesome husband, Brad Dobson.

Brad Dobson: Oh, I’m your awesome husband.

Minette Riordan: Awesome. You’re always awesome. Mostly awesome.

Brad Dobson: Do you have a different husband? Do you have a non-awesome husband?

Minette Riordan: No. You’re him, too.

Brad Dobson: Beautiful. Love it.

Minette Riordan: It’s just the two of us today, and we’re going to be doing some things differently going forward into 2018.

Brad Dobson: Yeah, definitely.

Minette Riordan: Given our own end-of-year review. For the next few episodes in December of 2017, we’re going to be talking about different aspects of goal-setting, because we think that-

Brad Dobson: It’s goal-setting month!

Minette Riordan: It’s goal! I love goal-setting, and yet goal-setting for the sake of goal-setting isn’t really very helpful. It can be really fun, and as a creative, I love planning, but having plans we can actually take action on and implement is really important. Before we can do any of that, we have to review what’s come before.

Brad Dobson: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. If we’re not looking where we came from, it’s the old adage about … What is it? Reliving the, or making the same failures?

Minette Riordan: The definition of insanity, right?

Brad Dobson: No, no, no. It’s, “Those that don’t study the past are destined to repeat it.”

Minette Riordan: Oh, yeah. Was that Churchill? Winston Churchill?

Brad Dobson: Oh, probably. I don’t know.

Minette Riordan: The war thing? I can’t remember. Or what’s the Asian guy, the War of Art? The Art of War? The Art of War?

Brad Dobson: Sun Tzu?

Minette Riordan: Sun Tzu, The Art of War?
Speaking of quotes, we have a quote for today.

Brad Dobson: Ah.

Minette Riordan: Right, because we always love to start our shows with a quote. This one is from Andrew Carnegie, and Andrew Carnegie said, “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” What our intention for today’s episode is, is that you walk away inspired to do a year-end review before committing time to actually setting goals. In episode 76, we’re going to come back and specifically look at how to make 2018 your most spectacular year ever, with some specific reflections on goal-setting that maybe you haven’t heard before, like, “What’s your goal-setting persona?” It’s a little bit about where we’re going over the next couple of weeks.

Brad Dobson: Those are our goals. [crosstalk 00:02:44].

Minette Riordan: Those are our goals. Those are our intentions.

Brad Dobson: That’s right.

Minette Riordan: Now we’re going to talk about short-term goals, long-term goals, but before we get to any of that, let’s talk about why we think it’s so important to take a moment here, at the end of the year, to pause and review where you’ve been.

Brad Dobson: Yeah. I know for me personally, and we haven’t done this yet for 2017, and so part of-

Minette Riordan: Kinda sorta, but not formally.

Brad Dobson: Part of this is some of our own therapy, and some of our own work towards getting that year-end review done. I’ll get fist-deep in whatever I’m working on, and peddling, or I’m the duck, you know? Paddling really fast underwater. I don’t know where I’m going with the analogy. I don’t come up for air very often.

Minette Riordan: So you’re a diver, not a dabbler?

Brad Dobson: Yeah. That’s right.

Minette Riordan: Speaking of ducks.

Brad Dobson: It’s important to take that time to step away, step back, and actually look at what happened. In fact, we should be doing this quarterly. I think maybe that will be a goal as well, is to have those quarterly wrap-ups to do a similar type of thing, so it’s not this big year-end thing. Be that as it may, for 2017, we owe ourselves, and you, you owe yourself, we think, time to step away and see what you did, celebrate successes, just be real frank with yourself about failures and successes, but also look at why you did a lot of things. I think sometimes we can do things that are outside of our core values. Sometimes we can do things that are completely disconnected from our big why, because we were chasing money or chasing a bright, shiny object. This is a good time to identify those, why we did things and whether they actually had meaning towards what our big thing is.

Minette Riordan: Yeah. I think that big thing is the big why, and we’re going to talk about that a little more in the next session on goal-setting as well, because from our perspective, when you’re very clear about the impact that you want to have, and the change that you want to see in your own life and in the world at large, it makes goal-setting easier, but it also gives you a moment of opportunity for reflection on, “How close did you come?” Right? The five reasons that you should absolutely do an end-of-year review are, one, so you can see your progress. What we find with so many entrepreneurs is that they don’t take a moment to pause and really see how far they’ve come. One of my friends drew this great graphic one time where she shows that as we make progress, it’s never a straight line. That there’s peaks and valleys in our progress, but every time you hit a peak and come back down into a valley, the next valley is never as low as the first valley. There’s consistent progress being made, but you need to really focus in on that progress.
As Brad said, you need to celebrate every time you hit those peaks. Sometimes those wins are tiny. Like, “Yay. We sold one of something.” Right?

Brad Dobson: Yeah, and they may not be financial wins. There are so many other types of wins.

Minette Riordan: Yeah. Absolutely. We’re going to talk about that in a minute, about really looking at all the different … The specific aspects of your business that you should be reviewing. But celebrating even the tiniest steps in forward progress is so important, because every time you celebrate your success, it boosts your confidence. It gives you that ability to say, “Okay. I am moving forward, and the more that I continue to move forward, the more success I’ll have.” And then make an honest assessment. It can be pretty scary sometimes to look at your numbers, and that could be the financial numbers, or we had a huge, bold, audacious goal to really increase dramatically the size of our email list, and we got about halfway there, right? We’re a little less than halfway there. By the end of the year, we probably will be halfway there, but we didn’t get all the way there, but we’re very clear about how much progress we did make, and we could look at that path and say, “Well, crap. We didn’t make it happen.” Or we can say, “Woo hoo! We got 50% of the way there. We know what worked, and we know what didn’t work.”
When you do this kind of an honest assessment, it’s about learning, as our friend Landon Ray, who’s the founder of Ontraport says, it’s about learning to fail fast. We saw him give a great presentation at Ontrapalooza a couple of months ago, and I loved this idea of failing fast, that the faster we try something and see whether it works or not, the faster we can let go of it and continue to move on.
Then I would say the most important thing about doing an end-of-year review is, and these are numbers four and five in our list of five things, is one, you can see exactly what you want to be doing more of in the new year, and what you either want to be doing less of, or not doing at all. I don’t know about you, but there’s a lot of things we tried this year that didn’t work. Things that we really, really wanted to work, but they didn’t work. We have to let them go. Even though they’re things we love, and things we really want to pay attention to, we have to let them go.

Brad Dobson: Yeah, and we’ll dig deeper into that. I think the thing that comes to mind when you say that is that letting them go doesn’t mean you’re letting … You’re ignoring the lessons you learned from them, or the teachings that they gave you. Certainly things that we had that were financial failures moved the needle a ton in terms of our business intelligence, and our business knowledge. That’s more of a long-term view of things, and it doesn’t help you if you’re dying for cash, but-

Minette Riordan: Well, it does help you if you’re dying for cash, right? Because if you’re dying for cash, you haven’t done the right things to grow your business, so you can’t keep doing the same marketing activities or the same networking, or the same pitch, or the same offer, the same program.

Brad Dobson: Right.

Minette Riordan: We’ve let go of so many programs for 2018 that we love, because we couldn’t make a mark, right? For a variety of reasons. It was just not where our time and attention is best being spent.

Brad Dobson: Right.

Minette Riordan: I hate to say, that word “failure” has so many negative connotations for people.

Brad Dobson: Oh, yeah.

Minette Riordan: And it’s really, they’re learning opportunities, and there are times, one specific time where we hosted a live event this year, and a three-day live event, and we only had three people present, and we delivered a kick-ass, awesome, three-day event. But if we look at it from a growing our business perspective, we fell flat on our faces, right? It was not what we had planned. It was a huge impact on our revenue goals that we set for ourselves. We had to get really honest about, “What do we want to do differently next year?” Because clearly that particular revenue stream isn’t working for us right now in our business.

Brad Dobson: Right. Right, right, right, right.

Minette Riordan: What are some of the things to consider when it comes to doing a year-end-of review? We have five key areas that we want to be really … We have five key areas that we want to make sure that you consider when you do your year-end-of review.

Brad Dobson: Yeah, definitely. I mean, clearly you’re going to look at your books. I’m hoping that you’ve been working with a bookkeeper, and your books are pretty much up-to-date at this point. If you’re looking at your year-end review saying, “Oh, it’s time to start working on the …”

Minette Riordan: The shoebox?

Brad Dobson: On the shoebox.

Minette Riordan: Or the garbage bag.

Brad Dobson: As an accountant friend of Minette’s said once, “It’s time to put on your big girl pants and step it up a notch in terms of finances.” Certainly, we’ll be opening up and looking at quarterly and yearly profit and loss. We’ll be looking at our spending, and looking at credit card statements, and looking at sales income, and identifying the things that we’re wasting, the things where, “Hey, we have new income that we didn’t have last year.” A breakdown of where we’re spending, a breakdown of where we’re getting income.

Minette Riordan: We’ve been clearing a lot of money clutter already by letting go of some of the online software systems that we’ve been holding onto, thinking we might use them, or we had content stored in places we thought we might use that we’re just eating money every month, and it wasn’t like it was thousands of dollars, but those $10, $20, $30, $50, $70 a month adds up a lot when it comes to your profits. Looking at, “Where do you have money clutter because you just haven’t spent the time to review what are the tools and resources you’re using effectively?”

Brad Dobson: Yeah, and it’s also a great time to look in your file folder where you kept your 2017 goals statement for financial income and things like that, and compare, and see how you did. Maybe you had a kick-ass 2017. Maybe you had a crappy 2017 from a financial perspective. It’s all numbers. You need to look at the numbers and see them, and be honest with yourself, and see where you can make some changes. Hey, maybe 2017, you were dealing with a sick parent. Well, you get a pass. Don’t beat yourself up.

Minette Riordan: Or like us, sending a kid off to college, right?

Brad Dobson: Yeah. Life happens. You can’t use it as a total excuse for your business not working, or for wasting money, but at the same time there’s always things that are going to impact your bottom line.

Minette Riordan: Absolutely. Financial review is one thing that you want to make sure that you’re looking at in your end-of-year review. The next thing is a marketing review, and I could talk about this one for hours.

Brad Dobson: Really?

Minette Riordan: But I’ll be super brief. I love to geek out on marketing. You know that.

Brad Dobson: You don’t have to be super brief.

Minette Riordan: Marketing, this one could go really deep and get really geeky, but from a marketing review perspective, it’s so important to go back through your calendar, one, and look at, where did you spend your time when it came to marketing this year? Were you out speaking and networking? Were you meeting new people? Were you having enough sales conversations, and juicy dates with people? Were you doing Facebook Live? How were you connecting with people? That’s one thing to review.
The second thing to review is, how well did your marketing tactics online work for you? If you were doing Facebook ads, blogging, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, if you were consistently sharing content out into the world, did you get a return on that? Looking at your email list, did it grow this year? I think ours grew a lot. Maybe by three times over, right, from where we were at the beginning of the year.

Brad Dobson: Something like that. Yeah.

Minette Riordan: It was one of our thematic goals for this year, was to increase that. We put a lot of intention and focus on growing our email list, because it’s gold for us as an online business, right? All the different things that you’ve done for marketing, look at what worked and what didn’t work. We told you one of the things we tried was hosting a live event. That didn’t fill, and didn’t work, but webinars did work for us really well this year.

Brad Dobson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And an online quiz worked.

Minette Riordan: And an online quiz worked really well for us this year, so we will be putting more of our time, our personal effort and money towards the tactics that actually worked.

Brad Dobson: Yeah, and along those lines, I think it’s really important, and maybe a friend can help you with this, or maybe you’re able to do it yourself, and I’m bringing this up-

Minette Riordan: Brad can help you with it.

Brad Dobson: Right. I’m bringing this up because we’re going to be rolling out a content audit system that we can provide to people.

Minette Riordan: We are?

Brad Dobson: Not content audit. I’m sorry. What was it? Brand marketing audit. Something. Anyways, but it’s also something that we need to work on ourselves at the Path to Profit Academy. Look at the consistency of what you’re producing, whether that’s your talks that you gave live, whether it’s networking events, whether it’s your online presence. Look at your logos, your email headers, your website, your Instagram posts, your blog posts, your Facebook posts. All of your communication. LinkedIn. Anything real world or online. Look how consistent it is. Do you have consistent keywords? Do you have consistent branding in terms of look and feel? Are the fonts all the same, or was today a Arial font day in purple, and yesterday was a Helvetica in black? Those things matter, because your consistency in terms of the actual themes in the content, the look and feel, both once again, online and in the real world, this is a great time to review that at the end of the year, and see whether you’re really reaching people in a consistent fashion, or whether it’s hit and miss, whether it’s really variable, and see whether you can tighten that up. It’s certainly something we need to work on.

Minette Riordan: Yeah, and it is something we work on. In fact, we just got our style guide from our graphic designer, so super excited about where we’re going with our own branding, and tightening everything up. One of the things I think that we’ve really seen for ourselves in 2018 is, we have all of our foundations in place, and now it’s about fine-tuning. It’s this really fun place to be, but I want to go back to what you said about the content audit, because that’s definitely something you should review as well. I am the queen of creating content. I can create courses, and workshops, and worksheets, and-

Brad Dobson: And it’s everywhere.

Minette Riordan: Yes, and it’s scattered, right? Between computers, and websites, and online cloud storage, and Dropbox, and so there’s so much content everywhere, so we actually are in the process of doing a content audit. What do we have that’s of value that we can continue to repurpose and reuse, and what can we just let go of, and put in the trash, and have it stop taking up mental, physical, and disk space on our computers? A content review would be another really great thing, to look at, “What have you already created this year that was amazing, that you can just keep making better?” Stop trying to always invent something new. It actually doesn’t serve you in your business, and I’m speaking to myself, because this was such a hard lesson to learn. I wanted to just keep creating new, and my path right now is of mastery.
In order to get to profit, it’s finding those few things that we do really, really well, and really differently from everybody else, and once you’ve nailed that, it will also help make your brand a lot more … A lot simpler, clearer, and make it easier for you to find the keywords and the marketing tactics that will work, as well. We’re talking about these things like they’re separate little containers, but the truth is, it’s all intimately connected. It’s why our business plan looks like a mandala, and everything’s on one page, because everything has to be flowing together. It might start with your financial goal review, but then how are all of your different activities, your branding, your content, everything related?

Brad Dobson: Yeah.

Minette Riordan: Yeah.

Brad Dobson: And back to that content audit, I was kind of proud of myself, because I put in a bunch of work, too.

Minette Riordan: I was proud of him too.

Brad Dobson: To sort of do some automatic stuff, to pull in blog posts from two different sites, all of our email communication content, landing pages.

Minette Riordan: Now he’s getting really geeky.

Brad Dobson: Files on three different computers.

Minette Riordan: Only three? Actually, it was from four.

Brad Dobson: Something like that. Yeah, so that Minette could go through these things and see what we already had, and what we could repurpose, and those types of things. The same would be true if you have talks that you give, one or two talks, handouts, any type of resources that you’ve created, just to try and pull those all together. It helps if you do it digitally, and see what you have. See what needs to be rebranded. See what needs to be tossed. See what blog posts need better SEO and titles. All of those things. It’s worth doing. Well worth the effort, if you’re producing a lot of content.

Minette Riordan: And then the last two categories to consider when you’re doing a year-end review aren’t as strategic and tactical. They’re a little bit more personal. The first one is to do a mindset review. What do I mean by a mindset review? I mean by looking and reflecting back across the year, how did you feel about how the year went? Where were your moments of greatest joy, and greatest pleasure, and greatest sense of competence and success? This is tied deeply to, “What are you willing to celebrate?” And, “What are you willing to let go of?” And, “What do you want more of?” How do you want to feel about your business? Because Brad and I have said this probably many, many times on the podcast so far, but I think part of our greatest learning as entrepreneurs has been the realization that this is such a path of personal development, that it is not just business growth, but as home-based entrepreneurs, and parents, and spouses, that this is such a journey of personal growth, so a mindset review would be really helpful, and then you want to share the final one there?

Brad Dobson: I’m just trying to think more about the mindset review. There’s just so much.

Minette Riordan: Yeah.

Brad Dobson: I mean, really, what are you doing to change? To embrace your entrepreneurial journey? Especially for those of us that don’t come to the entrepreneurship naturally, there are a lot of head things to get out of the way, and to continue to work on. I certainly have many-

Minette Riordan: Like your level of comfort with risk.

Brad Dobson: Yeah. Level of comfort with risk was a huge one. Distractions.

Minette Riordan: Managing distractions, not being distracted.

Brad Dobson: Time management. Where your motivation comes from. What it is that’s driving you towards your business goals.

Minette Riordan: I would say visibility, like your willingness, your, my willingness to be visible, because so much of entrepreneurial success is connected to your willingness to be visible, to be vulnerable, to share who you are, to step out into the public, whether that’s stepping out on a stage and speaking live, or whether it’s doing video, or just even posting on Facebook, right? It takes a lot of courage.

Brad Dobson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think that the last thing that we were listing as one of the top things to consider when you’re doing your end-of-year review is who you surrounded yourself with. I bring this up because I’m a firm believer in the statement about you’re basically going to be some sort of amalgamation of the five people that are closest to you. Where your head is, where your business is, where your life is, is really going to be guided by the people you’ve surrounded yourself with.
Now is a great time to look back on 2017 and see who you did surround yourself with. What people are in your life that are helping you move toward your goal, whether that’s in a group that you’re in, a support group for business, a mastermind? I can remember the word for mastermind. Networking groups that you’re in. Groups that you’re leading, or groups that you’re volunteering in. Your family. That can be a tough one, because you’re stuck with them.

Minette Riordan: Yeah, and I can never remember who said the quote, but basically you are the sum of the five people that you spend the most time with.

Brad Dobson: Yeah. That’s what-

Minette Riordan: Did you say that already, and I totally blanked out for the moment?

Brad Dobson: Yeah. I did. That’s okay.

Minette Riordan: Squirrel! But that sense of, “Are the people that you’re spending time with the ones who are your best cheerleaders and fans?” Because building business is hard, and you need support. You need cheerleaders. You need fans. You need people that believe in what you’re doing no matter what. Even if they don’t get what it is that you’re doing, they’re still offering unconditional support. Often that’s not our family, sadly. Sometimes it may not be your spouse. We’ve seen that with a lot of our clients. It’s looking for, “Where have you spent, or who were the people you spent time with this year that really helped boost you and lift you to the next level?” And as you think forward to 2018, what do you want to do differently in terms of where you’re spending your time? What kind of support do you need?
One of the things when we look at people that we spent time with, it was not only courses, and coaching, and friends, and relationships that we built, but we also hired support, right?

Brad Dobson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Minette Riordan: We have an amazing VA, and we just keep giving her more and more to do. We love her. We hired an amazing personal assistant as well, so we’re surrounding ourselves with this amazing sense of support that we’ve never had before, right? That’s made a huge difference as well.

Brad Dobson: Yeah, and I think the one for me that I would say is, when I go to conferences, whether it’s something like Digital Marketers Traffic and Conversion, or Ontraport’s Ontrapalooza, there are many social media conferences, coaching conferences. You know, big ones. Thousands of people with multiple learning tracks, that that’s where I see a lot of inspiration come into my head. Seeing other business owners, seeing inspirational talks, seeing techy talks, seeing anything where I’m seeing other people be intentional about their business and succeed in their business. I realize those aren’t the people that I spent the most time with, but they certainly had a lot of impact. I would say count those as ones as well.

Minette Riordan: That’s all about stepping out to create more connections. You can not build a business hiding at home behind your computer.

Brad Dobson: Nope.

Minette Riordan: It’s been harder for you than me to do that, right? As an introvert.

Brad Dobson: Oh, absolutely.

Minette Riordan: Going to conferences, it’s so important, and it’s so challenging all at the same time.

Brad Dobson: Yeah, and I just launched a new … We’re calling it a vertical.

Minette Riordan: Yes, you did.

Brad Dobson: A new online presence, LowCarbEndurance.com. It’s something I’m passionate about. It’s the intersection of healthy low-carbohydrate eating, as well as endurance athletics. I see in my vision for this, “Oh, yeah. LowCarbEndurance.com could be a race sponsor. We could have a booth at races, or at conferences.” And then the Brad part of me says, “Wow, Brad. How are you going to make that work? It’s not really in your wheelhouse.”

Minette Riordan: I get to be the booth bunny.

Brad Dobson: That’s right, so there’s some challenges there, but yeah, definitely. Getting out.

Minette Riordan: We might have rambled there a little bit. What we’re going to do is we actually have a worksheet for you on how to do an end-of-year review. There will be a link to it in our show notes so that you can download a step-by-step process of everything we shared about why to do the end-of-year review, and what are the specific areas of your business and your life you should be contemplating as you do that. It’s so essential to do this step before you start to do your business planning and goal-setting for 2018, and remember, you can find all of our show notes at PathtoProfitAcademy.com/Podcasts, with an S on the end.

Brad Dobson: Is it?

Minette Riordan: It is. It totally is plural. PathtoProfitAcademy.com/Podcasts.

Brad Dobson: It’s right at the top of the website. Big button.

Minette Riordan: It is. If you just go to PathtoProfitAcademy.com you will find it, but we want to be able to support you in creating that year-end review. No login required. This is just our gift to you today, because we can not say enough about how important this review process is, and how important planning and goal-setting are, so we’ll see you-

Brad Dobson: Oh, wait. Wait. We need to review these. We’re going to review them in our review.

Minette Riordan: We’re going to review them in our review. We’ve already been talking forever. We’ve probably lost them all by now anyway.

Brad Dobson: Oh, no, no, no. Let’s go through this one more time. Just to sum up, see your progress. Celebrate your wins. Give yourself an honest assessment. Look at more of what’s needed, and what’s not needed, and less of what-

Minette Riordan: Do less of what didn’t work.

Brad Dobson: Do less of what didn’t work. That’s pretty effective.

Minette Riordan: That’s right. Those are all the reasons why.

Brad Dobson: Get that done, quick. Do that review, quick.

Minette Riordan: Yeah. Tomorrow. Now.

Brad Dobson: And next episode, we’ll be talking about-

Minette Riordan: Goal-setting.

Brad Dobson: How to make 2018-

Minette Riordan: Your most spectacular year ever.

Brad Dobson: That’s right, by finishing your spouse’s sentences, and using goal-setting in that context.

Minette Riordan: Yeah, so we’re going to take a completely different perspective. We can guarantee you haven’t heard some of these tips around goal-setting, so be sure and tune in for episode 76, and until then, make it a great day. I’m Minette. This is Brad. We’re the Path to Profit Academy, where we create programs that help creatives fall in love with systems.

Brad Dobson: Bye, guys. Thanks for listening.

You can also view this call’s video recording on our Youtube channel.

The post Episode 75: 5 Reasons to Do a Year End Business Review appeared first on Path to Profit Academy.

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