Mid-year reviews help businesses see how they are doing, and make adjustments to achieve their business goals. An objective assessment makes for a vigorous reality check – and can help you improve the performance of your freelance business over the second half of the year.
In this post, you’ll find the key points to include in your mid-year check-up, and tips to make the business review process easier and (almost) stress-free.
When thinking of mid-year reviews, many solopreneurs and small business owners get the shivers. At times, they believe their business is just too unpredictable. In other cases, they think such practices are only valuable for bigger companies and organisations.
If you’re along the same lines, think again. A business check-up is a great way to:
- Acknowledge (and celebrate!) your achievements;
- Keep an eye on your financial goals and balance;
- Adjust your business goals, and the relevant strategies.
… but how does it work? Here’s a quick overview to get you started.
Let's be realistic: if you want to conduct a valuable assessment, you'll need time.
So, schedule your review just like you’d schedule a meeting with a customer.
To me, the best time to conduct my check-up right after my summer break. In fact, creating some "distance" between daily business chores and the review itself helps me looking at facts and figures more objectively.
Also, remember to have all relevant documents/data at hand. These could be your editorial calendar, your sales summary, your marketing plan etcetera. Oh, and the business plan you created for the current year.
If you didn’t, don’t panic. Think about what goals you envisioned for your business (customer acquisition, target income, product launches, …), your “new year’s resolutions”, the business-related promises you made to yourself.
Jot them down: these will be the starting point for your assessment.
Business goals are more than elements of a bulleted list. They also reflect the life stage your business was in when you set them, and might need adjustments from time to time.
It happens, you know? Your business changes, for tons of reasons. Could well be a great collaboration contract for a new customer. Or that one-of-a-lifetime opportunity you just couldn't miss. Or the end of a chapter, which opens to the beginning of new ones.
So, make sure to take that into account. Ask yourself:
- Are my goals still relevant to my business?
- What goals have been accomplished so far?
- How are my long-term goals progressing?
- What would be my new goals, according to my present situation?
#2 Strategies and methods
Once you reviewed your goals, focus on the strategies and methods in place.
What is working well, and what isn't?
There are many things that can hold you back in your business. Maybe you focused too much on a marketing channel that isn't converting. Or you invested in a productivity software, but haven't been using it to its full potential. Or started a collaboration that is draining lots of energy, but delivering little value.
One of the main perks of mid-year reviews?
If something is working against you, you still have time to change it.
#3 Money matters
How's the year shaping up in your bank account? If you don't do this more often, now it's time to double-check your books.
- Do you need to follow-up on any overdue invoices?
- Are there any business expenses you could cut or reduce?
- Are the financial goals you envisioned being met?
- How do your expenses compare to the original budget?
- Are you on track with your taxes and bookkeeping?
- What about your savings plan?
I know, looking at hard figures can be scary. Still, if you develop a habit for this it becomes less frightening, and really helps with keeping your business on track.
The bottom line
Conducting a mid-year review for your small business can help you achieve great things over the second half of the year. The steps and questions above are a good checklist to start with your assessment.
Depending on your needs and situation, you might also want to look at other aspects of your business. These could be e.g. your client list (to gauge for any hidden opportunities, or improvements to make), your long-term projects (such as writing a book, or your professional development plans), or else.
Preparing for the mid-year check-up, and approaching the task as a natural part of your business chores will help you keep your focus during the assessment. Also, the process will be less stressful, and more productive.