EOY Business Review
As the end of the year rolls around and business starts to slow in preparations for the holidays, I like to use the downtime to take a look at how my business did over the past year and plan for the year ahead.
Knowing where you are in your business is so important because it allows you to see what worked and what didn’t. No matter how well I think I know my business, I learn something new every time I do this.
Do A SWOT Analysis
Doing a SWOT analysis allows you to get a good read of where you are and where you have room to grow. A SWOT analysis looks at 4 different metrics to measure the current state of your business, they are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Write down all the ways you succeeded this year. What areas of your business are your strongest and how can you lean into them to bring you more success in the year ahead?
In what areas did your business miss the mark last year? How can you either improve those areas or get rid of them altogether?
What opportunities do you see on the horizon? Maybe you have a new partnership you’re excited about or a speaking engagement that you can leverage to promote a new offer.
What areas of business are the most at risk? Do you have more competition in your area or is there a part of your life that looks problematic?
Do A Competitor Analysis
Doing a competitor analysis can be a tricky exercise if you’re not prepared because it’s all too easy to get lost in comparison overwhelm and lose your confidence. I recommend going into this with the understanding that you will come across photographers in your area that are doing things the way you wish you were, but there will also be photographers who have years to go before they are anywhere close to where you are. Perspective is everything.
Pull up an incognito window in your browser and do a search using the keywords your clients use when searching for your business. Analyze the top 3-5 businesses that pop up for those keywords with an eye for who they are targeting and how they are talking about what they do.
Think about how these businesses are presenting their services and how you can use that information to your advantage in the following year.
Don’t get caught up in all the things you aren’t doing that you wish you were, you have no idea what kind of resources or obstacles they have that dictate why they run their business the way they do. Instead, take a look at your strengths and see how you can use them to differentiate yourself in this market.
Do Your Profit & Loss Statement
Your p&l will be one of the most important financial documents in your business and for good reason. It describes how and where your business profited and in what ways it lost money. Your end-of-year review gives you all the information you need to run a more successful business next year.
What products are services did really well? Do you know why?
Where did your business suffer significant losses? Did you spend a lot of money to launch something that didn’t give you a return on the investment? How can you make sure not to make the same mistakes twice?
Use your p&l to guide your marketing efforts, your campaigns, and your investments next year, making sure not to repeat mistakes.
Look At The Year Ahead
Before finalizing my review I look at the upcoming year and plan out any major dates. I pay attention to busy seasons, life events, and launch dates.
If you’ve been in business for a while you know when your busy seasons are, which major holidays work best for your marketing efforts and whether or not you have to work around school closures.
Putting that all on the calendar now might seem like overkill, but the whole point of this exercise is to get a big-picture view of your business. When you know those important dates you can work around them, or work backward from those dates to plan projects and marketing efforts.