Kendra Gill sitting at a table with coffee and performing a year-end review

Year-End Review: How to Reflect on the Past to Plan for the Future

As the saying goes:

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Lewis Carroll

By that logic, if you don’t know where you are now and why – your future will be just like your past. As we move into a new year, it is important that we reflect on the past to better strategize for our future.

5 reasons you should have a year-end review

Why should you even do a business review? Why is a year-end review one of the first steps to planning?

  1. You’ll be able to see what worked, what didn’t, and what just fell flat.
  2. It’s a great time to audit your business: what types of things need to go, what needs to stay, what goals were achieved, what was missed, what are you spending money or time on that no longer works for you, etc.
  3. Shifts your efforts from being stuck in the daily grind to being focused, productive and strategic – which leads to growth.
  4. You can reflect on lessons learned.
  5. Prepares you to create a plan for the next year that is based on strategy rather than on uncertainty or just because you have always done things that way.
Business team sitting around table discussing year-end review.

What should you review?

Once it’s clear why we need to review, the question then becomes – what do we need to review?

Evaluate your time and effort

Start with 2 questions:

  1. What went well? (Celebrate your successes!)
  2. What could have gone better?

Honestly, I use these questions in my weekly planning as well. This makes it easier to track your progress and effort throughout the year. A couple of ways to dig deeper into these questions is to review your project management tool, daily planners, google calendar (or whatever calendar system you use), etc. 

If you don’t have any of these systems put in place, then you can answer the what could have gone better question with: I need a better way to track my wins and struggles throughout the year so I can better manage my time and effort.

2 Bonus Questions:

  1. What skills did I use this year?
  2. What skills do I need/want to develop?

These questions help focus your actions. Building a business you love means you may need to pivot out of services that are no longer serving you. It doesn’t mean burning your business to the ground and starting over; instead, it means honing in on the skills that make you happy.

Review your boundaries

First things first: do you have boundaries already put in place? If not, this is a great place to start and is essential to growth.

If you already have your boundaries in place…how well did you follow them? How often are you compromising them? 

By evaluating your boundaries, you are ensuring that you are building a business that you love. You will be running the business, not having the business run you.

Review your goals

Starting over with new goals without regard to your previous goals can help perpetuate Shiny-Object Syndrome (when you’re jumping from thing to thing without actually getting anything accomplished).

Questions to help you review:

  • What goals did you set for 2022?
  • Which goals did you reach?
  • Which ones did you make progress on?
  • How do you need to adjust your goals for 2023 based on the progress you made in 2022?
  • If you didn’t make progress on these goals, what are some things that contributed to inaction or missed goals?

Review your KPIs

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators and are the metrics on which to measure your success. First, you have to know your objectives, and then KPIs determine the effectiveness of your effort. Reviewing your KPIs helps you see the concrete results of your efforts and where you may need to focus your time in the upcoming year. They might include revenue, number of email subscribers, downloads, website traffic etc. It also includes deciding if the ones you have set are the same ones you need to carry into the future. KPIs can and will change at different stages of your business, so remember to evaluate if you have the right ones in place.

Year-End Review Workbook

You can find all of these review items in the Year-End Review Workbook!

Front cover of the year-end review workbook.

Grab the workbook here!

How to use this information?

Data for data’s sake isn’t helpful…It’s what we do with that data that matters!

After you have reviewed 2022, you can use this information to begin to plan for 2023. Here are a few ways to use this information:

  1. Make a list of the strategies that are working
  2. Make a list of the strategies you want to revise
  3. Go back to your vision – are your activities, goals, and daily actions aligning with your vision?
  4. Where do you want to spend more time?
  5. What skills do you want/need to develop?

Year-End Review Tips

  1. Set aside time to review (when you won’t be interrupted or distracted) – and schedule it on your calendar.
  2. Evaluate your business by yourself first: get your thoughts in order and be prepared to guide a conversation with your team.
  3. Then involve your team: they will have insight, suggestions, and thoughts that you might not have considered
  4. Celebrate your wins, accomplishments, and all of the positives that happened in your business this year.

Bonus Tip: 

Also, review your Mission, Vision, and Values. The end of the year is the perfect time to reevaluate and see if your business still aligns with your business foundations. I recommend reviewing these at least once a year. Typically, I read over my statements quarterly to ensure the projects I implement align with my foundations. Then, the end of the year is for tweaking and refining each statement.

Take Action:

Don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, or next year to take action. Start today!

  • Set aside some time to review your business
  • Grab the Year-End Review Workbook here and fill it out as the first step to planning for 2023
  • Let me know! Have you tried doing a year-end review before? If so, what worked and what did not?
  • Join me on Instagram to connect and see more content geared toward building a business you love!

Related Content:

8 Ways to Finish the Year Strong

If you’re ready to have a strategic and aligned plan for 2023 but are not sure where to start, we would love to work with you! Our Strategic Planning VIP Day will help you plan where you want your business to go, build a roadmap to get there, and help develop success metrics so you know where your business is seeing success. The best part is, we will help you walk through your year-end review so you can use this information to build a stronger business moving forward.