Each new year presents an opportunity for business progress, growth and improvement. As we move further into 2016, it’s the perfect time to examine the previous year and determine what went right and what could use some improvement. Looking at your business in an objective light can provide some key insights and help you take action to accelerate growth moving forward.
The Importance of New Year Reflections
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” — Steve Jobs
A big part of paving the way for future success is reflecting on the past. This allows you to see where mistakes were made, spot inefficiencies and identify any weaknesses in your overall business infrastructure. At the same time, you can figure out where you’ve been most effective and pinpoint past choices that contributed to your current success.
Without adequate reflection and evaluation, it’s hard to gain any real perspective on your business. In turn, you may end up floundering in circles in the new year.
Where to Make Changes/Improvements
To gain momentum, identify the specific areas that need your attention and where adjustments must be made. This can be done by examining some key areas and comparing performance against your expectations. Look at:
- Sales numbers
- Employee retention/turnover
Furthermore, utilize a variety of metrics to determine precisely what needs to be changed. For production, you may want to look at how often quotas were met, manufacturing capacity, number of product defects, workforce skill set, etc.
For marketing, you could examine ROI, sales growth, customer retention, and so on. Regardless of the areas you’re evaluating, use concrete metrics to eliminate any guesswork and ensure that you know exactly which issues need to be addressed this year.
Making This Year Better Than Last
Although the specific areas in which businesses are looking to improve can vary significantly, here are some of the most common to work on:
- Upgrading Talent – Your employees are the foundation of your company — and shaking things up by replacing mediocre talent with A+ talent can be a real game changer. Experts suggest that searching for someone who can do it all is often unrealistic. You’re better off deciding which skills are most integral and finding employees who excel in these areas.
- Updating Policies – We live in a dynamic world with constant change, which means that policies set a few years ago can be impractical today. It can be worth your time to examine existing policies to see what’s no longer relevant/effective and make the necessary changes.
- Increasing Customer Retention – According to research from a study conducted by Bain & Company found on the Harvard Business Review website, “Increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.” This shows the importance of providing the best possible customer experience and focusing on customer service.
The new business year is the ideal time to reboot your company and come up with solutions for any problem areas. Looking to the past and identifying flaws, enables you to fix them and put your business in a better position to succeed moving forward.