“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all”
~ Peter Drucker
Last week saw the end of the first half of 2019. This week we began the second half of the year and what better time to do a 6-month review of your business. This is where you’ll assess how things are going against the plans and goals you (hopefully) set at the start of the year.
Now if you didn’t create any plans or set any goals for this year don’t despair, it’s never too late to get intentional about what you are trying to achieve in your business and besides, the questions I ask in this post work, regardless of whether or not you have a plan. If on the other hand you are ahead of the game and have your plans and goals at the ready, then I applaud you. You are in the minority, believe me.
In this post I’m going to walk you through some of the essential questions you’ll want to consider as you set about preparing for your next 6 months in business.
1. How much money have you made?
It’s a simple question to ask but can be a tortuous one to answer. If you’re feeling depressed about how little you’ve made this year, don’t let that stop you from doing the work to get your figures down on paper.
You’ll want to know how much you made total and how much you brought in each month. Maybe you feel some resistance about doing this work not because of low sales but because you’ve made a lot of sales and the thought of having to go over every transaction and record it to get to your totals feels overwhelming. I get it, ideally you would work on your finances every month, but even I got to the end of June and realised I hadn’t done my monthly finances since March so this week I spent a couple of hours doing the last 3 months. Once you find your rhythm, you’ll find you can get the work done in half a day or less.
You’ll also want to look at these figures against what you spent in your business over the same time frame. If you brought in 20K for example but spent 22K then your business is in deficit. Conversely if you only spent 6K then you’re in profit. It’s all too easy to bury our heads in the sand when we know that we’re not making a profit but knowing the actual numbers and tracking them over time, really allows you to see whether or not your business is growing. It’s pretty common to be in deficit in the early days of building your business (which is why so many people seek investors), but knowing whether or not your deficit is increasing or decreasing over time is crucial.
2. What’s working?
If the numbers are good, in that they represent an increase on the same timeframe as last year, then you’ll what to examine why you think that is, looking at what you might have done differently this year that has contributed to the increase? It’s so useful to be able to pinpoint what it is that’s working.
To give you an example from my business. Having, this week completed my finances for the last 6 months, I see that I’ve made a 38% increase in revenue compared to the first 6 months of 2018. (If you want to work out your own percentage increase, or decrease, head here.)
As I considered why my numbers have increased, several changes that I’ve made in my business come to mind:
- I stopped working so hard and started to take more breaks. In doing this I found that I was more focused and productive when I was working. Yes it’s really true that you can work less and achieve more, who knew!?
- I got a LOT clearer on my message and my unique point of view. I’m in no doubt there there is a strong correlation between my delving deeper into “conscious” business and my message around that and an increase in revenue.
- I worked with several business mentors. In 2015 I spent over $20,000 on business coaching and training and since then, I’ve held back from spending more money in this area. However, during the latter part of 2018 and the first half of 2019, I found some wonderful business mentors and felt inspired to invest in this area once again. As a result, I’ve done a ton of coaching, courses and collaborating, all of which have strengthened my skills as a business owner and coach and contributed in even greater business success.
- In 2018, I made consistent content creation a top priority. I know that consistent content creation increases my reach and cultivates greater trust with my audience. Both of which are sure to have had an impact on sales.
3. What’s not working?
If you’re noticing a decline in your numbers, then it’s vital that you understand what’s going wrong. It can feel overwhelming to consider what’s not working because a part of our brains tells us that if we knew that we wouldn’t be in this predicament, but that’s not necessarily true.
Most business owners I work with, when asked to dig deep on what they think isn’t working / what they could be doing better, have an answer at the ready. To help you out, I’ve listed some common issues I see:
- Inconsistency. You aren’t putting effort in consistently so that despite working hard sometimes, your efforts are in vain because you drop the ball and have to start again from scratch. Consistency leads to momentum. We need momentum to reach the tipping point where our business begins generating regular income and can thus achieve a level of sustainability.
- Strategy switching. I see this one all the time. You’ve been seduced by a shiny new strategy online and decided to give it a go. People are raving about how it’s transformed their business from struggling to 6-figures so you jump on it with enthusiasm. After a few weeks or even a few months you don’t see the kind of results you were hoping for so you give up and go in search of the next strategy that will magically propel you to riches.
- Hiding. You’re working on your business, you really are yet nobody knows you’re there because the thought of bothering people or putting yourself in the limelight is nothing short of mortifying for you. It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect website, a beautiful opt-in and life-changing offerings if nobody knows you exist. You need to be out there sharing your content and connecting with people to really see results.
- Poor foundations. There are certain foundations every successful business needs to have in order to achieve true success. A clear understanding of the problem you solve for people, a clear and unique message, a solid and impactful offering (or set of), a unique methodology and real clarity on how exactly you help people, to name a few. If any of these are missing or lacking, you will struggle to truly connect to your audience in a way that translates into sales.
Do any of these sound familiar or is there something else at play? If you get really honest with yourself, I’m willing to bet that you know in your heart what needs to change.
What will you do over the next 6 months?
So now that you’ve completed your review and you have clarity on the financial situation of your business, what is working and what isn’t working, it’s now time to consider what you want to achieve over the next 6 months. This is a good time to get out your business plan and goals if you have them. Were there goals you set that you’ve haven’t achieved and maybe even forgotten about? Do they still feel relevant given what you’ve learned about your business from this review or is it time to create some new goals.
My suggestion is to get really clear on what your strategic priorities are for the remainder of this year and then set goals underneath them. You’ll want to set no more than 3 priorities and make sure that these are strategic business priorities rather than goals. For example, mine for this year are Content Creation, Outreach and Audience Growth. What are yours? Even is serious planning is not your thing, taking some time to think about what you want to do in your business given what you’ve learned in the review, is really worth your time.
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