23 December 2019 News

Time for a business review?

Have you thought of doing a business review? 2019 is rapidly coming to an end. Before you’re entering into 2020 it’s not only good, but crucial, to take some time to reflect back upon this year.

Not sure where to start? Below we’ve collected our suggestions on useful topics you may like to include in your review.

Financials
You may not be in it for the money, but even if you “just” want to work with your passion, cash is still king. (Yes, creativity costs as well).

How was your cashflow throughout the year? Did you make a revenue 2019? And what about your costs? Are you charging enough or do you perhaps need to make any changes here? Has your business model worked out as planned?

Remember, it’s easy to get caught up in our starry eyed visions of who we are and how things ought to be… Few things gives us such a reality check as checking in with our accounts. Are you happy with what you see? Congratulations! Then move on with your business review.

Something quite not right here? Invest some more time in this important area. Perhaps there are matters here that you need external help to sort out?

Values and wellbeing at work
Perhaps not the most common topic in a traditional business review, however, times are changing (thankfully). Have you been able to work in accordance with your values this year? This could of course include a broad spectrum of things; from your beliefs on how and where you like to work to deeper life and business goals that are of importance to you. Also: burnout rates keep on increasing. Although a burnout is rarely due to work matters only, how you feel at work certainly impacts your wellbeing.

If you’re not used to introspection and listening to yourself, this point may be a bit tricky at first, perhaps even uncomfortable to sit with. However, that’s exactly why we encourage you to “sit with it” for a while and try to catch any feelings of yours that you may have stuffed down during the year. Take a solid look at them and think carefully through if you need and want to make any changes for next year.

Harsh truth to be reminded of: the person you’re looking at in the mirror is indeed responsible for your happiness.

Customers and quality of your customer service
Thank your customers for the Christmas gifts you just bought. It was your customers who paid for it, as your customers are always the reason you get your salary. Don’t become a fat cat. And by that we mean: don’t take your customers for granted. Always presume that your customers will be out looking for other options as well.

As 2020 is approaching, now is also the time to think through your customer service efforts. Think this is not applicable on freelancers? You’re wrong. Obviously you don’t have a whole contact center taking care of things for you, but you still need to handle the expectations from your customers. Everything will not always be bright and sunny between you and your customers. Remember to have a functioning strategy for how you will handle the bumps in the roads as well.

Development areas
Did you start 2019 with a highly ambitious business plan? 40 page of fancy graphs in Powerpoint? Only to find out that 12 months later, well, you didn’t exactly look twice on it?

Now is also the time to look sharply at your development areas and get to know yourself. Don’t try to force yourself into models for everyone else. You’re not everyone else and what’s working for your colleague may not be a fit for you. That’s of course the tricky part then. You can’t skip the actual work. You need to get to know yourself. And you will need to make mistakes to find out what works for you.

Achievements and unique selling points
Ok. So if you’ve followed our advice above you’re probably a bit mentally exhausted right now from all the introspection and well needed critical questions. Thus, we’re moving on! This is a more cheerful, yet often hard, task that we’re going to do: looking at your achievements and unique selling points.

What have you done this year? What did you and your customers come up with? Which projects did you finalize and how did the outcome look?

Now would also be a great idea to list every “hidden” task that you probably did in your company. Running a business can sometimes be frustrating, a lot of us thrive when driving things forward, yet, a lot of times things still need to take their time. You can’t always force processes at an unnatural pace. Does it feel like you did a lot of work but none if it shows off yet? You probably did! Please do yourself a favour and put it down in writing so you can get some proper perspective on it.

Next step: look back on your projects. What was it that you did or contributed with that made these projects so successful? What is it that you bring to the table that no one else does? Try to identify 1-2 personal traits here. These are your unique selling points and whether you’ve already realised it or not, these traits are the reasons your customers love you.

We hope these tips will help you get started! And by the way, don’t forget to prepare for your review with lots of patience and a good cup of coffee or tea. We wish you good luck with your 2019 reflection & introspection!

PS. Feel free to drop us a comment on how things went for you.

All the best

/The team at Brainville


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