2022 is right around the corner so this is an excellent time to look back at what you accomplished over the past year, what worked, and what didn’t work so that you can make a plan next year based on DATA! Today I’m sharing my list of all of the things I review in my business so I’m never starting my new year plan from scratch.
Links + Resources
Join Dare to Grow ➜ daretogrow.co
Episode 88: How to prep to take time off
2022 is right around the corner and so this is an excellent time to look back at what you accomplished over the past year. What worked and what didn’t work so that you can make a plan for 2022 based on actual data. Today I’m going to give you a list of all of the things I like to check over in my business so I’m never starting my new year plan from scratch.
A little nerdy hint before we dive in – turn this into a template! Write down all the questions and all the things you need to check on, create a document, and set it up so next year you can copy and paste all of those questions and fill it in again. This will give you year after year information on your business that will help you predict trends, and sales, and create faster growth because you’ll be focused more on the stuff that works and quickly ditch the stuff that doesn’t.
If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve got something to write with or bookmark this so that you remember to come back to it.
Survey your audience, clients, and customers
Be sure to check out the episode on surveying your audience (linked above).
When I say audience I mean people who are following you but haven’t purchased or hired you. This might include people following you on Instagram or Facebook, YouTube subscribers, podcast listeners, email subscribers. Essentially, you want to take the temperature of your audience and figure out what their goal is, what their biggest challenge is right now, and what is keeping them from moving forward and taking action on that thing that they wanna do.
You also want to send out surveys to anyone who purchased a program or bought a product from you and if you have multiple offers you’ll be sending multiple surveys.
I generally send a survey to all of the people I worked with one-on-one for private coaching, and then I also send a survey to people who are or have been in the membership whether they’re still inside the membership or not.
For those people I’m asking things like:
- Where were you at before you purchased or hired me?
- Where are things at now?
- What was the main thing you learned or your biggest take away or accomplishment?
- I ask if they have any stats or if they checked off any goals.
- I asked what they would say to someone who is thinking about joining the membership.
- Then I ask about specific parts of the program individually. I’ll include questions about the live coaching calls asking what they liked best and what they would change about the coaching calls to make them better. This tends to make the feedback on my end feel a little bit softer because I’m not asking them the worst part or what’s wrong with something. That change in phrasing also tends to get me better responses because people are not worried about offending me or sharing something negative.
You can use a Google form or Typeform to create your survey, or my go-to is now Airtable.
Assess what projects or promotions worked or didn’t
(This is why we do a CEO check in every month in d2g so students have a record for every single month and they can spend more time looking into the patterns and details instead of trying to remember what happened 9 months ago.)
Things you want to take stock of…
- What did you enjoy / not enjoy spending time on? – your job is going to get easier the more time you spend on stuff you enjoy or is in your zone of genius
- What tasks slowed you down, what deadlines did you push back on repeat? – paying attention to this helps me avoid taking on projects that I’ll never finish
- Where can you hire more help? – what tasks or projects never happened, what things would you benefit from taking off your plate? I hired an assistant mainly to get out of my inbox, but also to take on all of those little tasks that I wanted to check off but never had the time.
Run the numbers
Now, this is something you should be doing every single month and if you are not I highly recommend joining Dare to Grow because we have both the CEO check-in worksheet and the growth tracker spreadsheet.
It is the exact spreadsheet I use and have been using for years to track my sales, my affiliate income, expenses, ad spend, and general stats for things like blog traffic, email subscribers, podcast listens, and Instagram followers all in one spot. Which means at the end of the year I can scan through and see which of my courses sold the best, which platform brought in the most new members.
Right now I just have the membership but in past years I had 5 to 10 offers available and I could see very obviously that certain courses like my Instagram course or productivity course sold much better than my email course. Knowing which courses or which offers sell better means that next year you can put more time into promoting those and growing your revenue.
Which social platforms worked best – if you’re posting to Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest and you’re noticing that you’re not really getting a lot of traffic from Facebook or not really getting a lot of new customers or clients from Pinterest then maybe you just focus on those platforms that worked. This is why I don’t spend time on Twitter anymore, because it wasn’t really bringing in new customers or clients and it was definitely not bringing enough traffic to my website. When I made that decision it was because I wanted to take those hours that I was spending on Twitter and put them into Instagram instead. Don’t be afraid to ditch platforms even if you’ve been spending a lot of time trying to make it work. If a different platform converts better then you want to be putting more time into that instead.
Which freebies, events, webinars, interviews, or other promotions helped most – you should be tracking data on any events or promotions that you did. (I track everything in Aritable now so I don’t have to go find all the data at the end of the year)
Examples of events + promotions data to track – This past year I was on a handful of podcast episodes, I participated in two online summits, and I hosted a whole bunch of webinars. Part of your end-of-year review should be looking at the data from each of those promotions. Did you get new clients or customers from that? Did you see email list growth or follower growth on social media? Did you earn affiliate revenue?
If something didn’t work you definitely don’t wanna be putting your time into that again and you don’t want to be promoting something to your audience if they didn’t respond the first time around. This will help you determine the best projects and promotions to put your time, energy, and money into going forward.
What investments did you make / do you need to make
What training, events, courses did you spend money on this year and what did you get out of each? Having notes from things you invested in will help you more easily make decisions on future investments.
Now is a great time to note what you need to learn, get better at, or invest in. Maybe you need to hire someone to help you with financial stuff, maybe you need to take a course on creating content for TikTok, maybe you need to boost your design or video editing skills. You don’t have to know exactly what program or who is creating that program but having an idea of the skills that would be beneficial to improve. Going over this info will be helpful in setting a budget for education and investments when you plan for next year.
Track your time
This is something that I do a couple of times a year and one of those times is at the end of the year so that I can adjust my schedule and what I am personally focused on so that I am hitting my goals more easily. The first part is to track everything you’re doing during business hours whether that’s a personal task or a business task. Writing emails and running errands, creating Instagram posts, and taking the dog to the park.
After that 10 to 14 days look at every task and determine whether you should keep spending time on that or spend more time on it (most of this stuff should be in your zone of genius) whether it’s valuable for your business, whether you should hire someone to do that task, whether you should just completely delete it off of your schedule.
This can also help you see where you’re procrastinating and where you’re focused. I know doing creative stuff after 3pm stresses me out and that I don’t like a full workday on Fridays because I’m usually more interested in running errands so I don’t have to do that on the weekend. With that info, I can adjust my schedule accordingly.
Check in on past clients + customers
Often when a client contract is done we move on to the next person, and even feel like we’re being annoying sending them extra emails or checking in. Past clients can be your biggest asset because not only might they want to work with you again, but they might have a referral. Which means it’s a good time to send out a business update, a thank you, and a reminder that you have space open if they’re looking for someone to work with next year.
Take time off and celebrate your accomplishments
We talked about this on the podcast a couple of weeks ago so there is a full episode on prepping to take time off. I definitely recommend taking at least a week, maybe a couple of weeks off at the end of the year so that you are recharged and ready to dive back in in January.
During that time you need to do something to celebrate. Even if it wasn’t a record-breaking year or you didn’t check off anything big and exciting, you still get to celebrate because you made it through the year, you’re still going, and I bet you’ve got some happy clients and customers. Schedule a time to sit back, survey your empire, and feel proud of yourself. My celebration usually includes a big piece of cake and a new pair of shoes. Although I spent 99% of this year in flip-flops because there wasn’t really anywhere to go so I might go for a different prize this year.
Make sure to pick a date in the next month or so to go through every inch of your business. If you’ve never done this before, definitely take the time this year so that you can start tracking data every month and have a system in place to make your end-of-year check-in much faster.