As we rocket into November it’s fair to say that most business people recognise that 2016 will be upon us before we’ve even had a chance to draw breath. So we thought it might be worth setting some time aside to celebrate the successes of 2015; ponder the opportunities missed; and plan the next steps. Here’s our run-down on how to take stock and appreciate both your performance and your perseverance in order to set you up for the future.

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Goals kicked

What a great way to end 2015 – by celebrating some successes. Just because you’ve ticked off an item on your to-do list doesn’t mean that you should forget about it. A key part of the motivation for both yourself and for others involved in your business will be taking the time to celebrate the successes of 2015 and the positive impact they’ve had on your business.

Review both the big wins and the small ones, and take time to remember what made them possible and the impact they’ve had. There’s every chance you will have forgotten about them in six months time so now is the time to record lessons learned and recognise the perseverance that made them happen. It’s also worth reviewing to see if there are any common themes emerging about your business successes – in particular key team members or skills that you should recognise and reward.

Goals missed

As inevitable as sunshine after rain is the fact that you will have planned to achieve some things in 2015 that now look like they will not happen. Whether they were goals missed earlier in the year or opportunities that just can’t be realised between now and Christmas: now’s the time to take stock.

The most important starting point when you miss a goal is understanding why it’s failed to happen. There can be a range of factors that could have contributed to it not coming off: financial issues; market health; people not being available; competitor challenges; processes not working as you wanted them to; or even just the inability to drive the goal through to delivery. Identify any development needs that may have been highlighted by a failure to perform or a challenge that was not overcome. Take some time to record the goals that you missed and what contributed to their failure.

Now take the opportunity to learn from your position. Try and review how important these goals are to your business performance now and in the near and far future. Include your immediate or wider team as much as you can in the process to ensure their buy in. What actions do you need to plan for now in order to rectify the situation and turn a failed effort into a win for your business? Note down the opportunities now and you’re already setting yourself up for success in 2016.

Where to next?

With a thorough review of your successes and failures in place, you should just have enough time to review your plans for 2016 and take stock of how your performance over the last year might impact your future. Take a holistic look at your successes and failures and identify what you need to do more of; what you should do less of; what you should do differently. Again, it’s incredibly important that you don’t review your business in isolation as you will need to bring your team on the journey with you. Why not turn it into a group exercise and challenge them review their performance in 2015? You can use the process to identify and share opportunities to drive the business forward in the next year.

Some fundamentals

The ideal outcome of a review of your year would be a scorecard where you were able to rate your performance clearly and use it as a reference point for your year ahead.

What enabled success this year?

Ask yourself what made things happen in your business. Was it as simple as an attitude or as complex as a new IT system you introduced? Look across your business and identify what success looked like for your business and your team and you will find the foundations that you can build your future growth on in 2016 – the building blocks for success in your business.

What distracted from success this year?

As you move into 2016 you can challenge yourself to avoid the issues that stopped you achieving goals over the last 12 months. There will be some issues which were just a distraction – perhaps a non-performing staff member or an external market condition – that you can develop strategies to get past as you move your business forward. Other issues you may be able to turn into opportunities – such as a new competitor who grows the market or a staff member leaving whose role can be filled with an enthusiastic replacement. Use them to set new goals to achieve even more in 2016.

Rate yourself

Use the scorecard opportunity to assess your overall performance and your business’s ability to achieve the tasks you have set out for the year ahead. If your review of 2015 highlights areas where you’re going to be challenged to deliver, then now is the time to take action and set yourself up for success.

2016 will be here before we know it, and too soon we will be swept up in resolutions of how we can do things better, without a thought for all the things we have already achieved. Use the end of 2015 to celebrate the great performance of your business with everyone involved in it. Then you can plan for achieving even more in 2016 when you return, refreshed, after the Christmas break.

About Fifo Capital

logoFifo Capital provides smart alternative finance solutions for small to medium sized businesses. Whether you’re looking for a quick turnaround or excellent service, you can rely on Fifo Capital to ensure your cash flow doesn’t get in the way of building a great business. To find out how we can help your business, contact us here.