For most entrepreneurs, the term “annual review” will immediately bring to mind employee annual reviews – which are undoubtedly an essential aspect of your overall business strategy. However, for a business to thrive, it is beneficial to place the entire company under the microscope on a yearly basis.
Why is this necessary?
Any good business is future-focused. As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to scan the horizon, create new strategies, and think about where you want your business to be in one, five, or even ten years’ time. A lack of focus on the future can be detrimental to the overall health of the business, resulting in lost opportunities and stagnation, so it makes sense that entrepreneurs place so much emphasis on thinking about the years to come.
However, the issue with a focus on the future is that it can eclipse the history of your business and its current state, which can be problematic.
Why is it harmful to overlook the past and present of your business?
Overlooking the past means that there is no opportunity to learn from your mistakes, which can lead to a repetitive cycle of experiencing the same issues time and time again – which is far from healthy for your business.
Arguably even more concerningly, overlooking how your business is operating in the present day can also be disastrous. The current operations of your company are the foundation for your future; if you are distracted from the day-to-day, then you may strategise for a future that your business is not yet equipped to achieve.
How can annual reviews help to overcome this issue?
An annual review of various aspects of your business gives you the opportunity to press pause. You’ll have the opportunity to assess your progress thus far, make course corrections if necessary, and strengthen your business’ overall position as you contemplate future developments.
What areas of business should be part of your annual review?
An annual review can be as expansive or as limited as you want it to be, but there are a few areas that every business should seek to evaluate every year.
The most important areas to review are those related to online activities, as the online world tends to move incredibly quickly; companies such as www.seoexpert.co.uk can perform a wide-ranging SEO audit, while there are numerous social media gurus who can cast an eye over your business’ posting habits and make suggestions for improvements.
From there, it’s usually best to progress to financial matters, especially if you have relatively little to do with the day-to-day of your business’ finances; www.fsb.org.uk have an excellent guide to conducting a full financial health check on your business.
Finally, it’s worth taking time to examine issues related to compliance; health and safety standards, for example, need to be continuously reviewed, particularly if your business sells products to the general public.
However, the above should very much be considered the bare minimum; wherever possible, extend the remit of the review further, to the point where you are analysing every operation, every decision, and every department at least once every 12 months.
By annually reviewing your entire business, you can be sure that your company is ready and able to embrace all the possibilities the future may hold.