Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda…Your Year-End Review:  What You’ve Done, and Wished You’d Done

As the year comes to an end, it is important to review what you have accomplished and what is in the category of woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Busy coaches, solopreneurs, independent professionals, and consultants with small offices may conduct yearly reviews for their staffs, but neglect reviewing their own performance

Who’s Minding the Business of Your Business?

The solo professionals must wear many hats, but many do not have interest or skill in one or more critical business areas.

Examples abound:

  • There is the sales consultant whose passion and expertise may be based on natural talent, gregariousness, or charm, but he or she may detest and have little patience for the nuts and bolts business responsibilities.
  • There are speakers who lament about the tasks they hate the most. Commonly, the tasks include the time-consuming marketing or record keeping responsibilities.
  • There are coaches or psychologists who ignore product development. They think about the benefits of passive income such as books or training materials, but never get around to it.
  • And then there are attorneys who may not take the time or energy to move from paper to digital office processes or neglect creating processes for timely collections.

Service Providers Are Business Owners and Must Think Like a Business Person

Good businesses run well when the foundations are strong (i.e., insurances, taxes, accounting and bookkeeping, record keeping and more).  Yes, many service providers neglect these kinds of tasks as “boring,” “tedious” and out of their skill set.

In a broader perspective, rather than view themselves as business owners, many independent professionals focus primarily on their roles as coaches, consultants, or speakers.  They deem many basic business habits as less important than the services they provide. Consequently, their strengths and interests drive their time management and they spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks they like and are good at – their service.

How can you generate realistic and relevant goals for the New Year if you haven’t had the benefit of reviewing the past year? Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Start with the positives. List your accomplishments in terms of productivity and profitability. Ask,
  • “What factors contributed to success?”
  • “What percent of my time was spent on these activities?”
  • “How profitable were these accomplishments”
  1. Next, list neglected aspects, especially those that contributed to under achievement, lack of profitability, or dissatisfaction. Ask,
  • “What factors were neglected and why?”
  • “How costly was the neglect?”
  • To what degree do these areas reflect by interest or skill?”
  1. Assess what you’ve done versus what you wished you’d done. Ask,
  • “What metrics do you use and what story do they tell about your productivity and profitability?”
  • “How satisfied are you with your level of accomplishment?”
  • “Should new metrics or monitoring methods be developed?
  • “What skill sets or tasks relevant to your business success are you ignoring?”
  • “How much time is frittered away doing tasks that could be delegated or bought?”
  • “What are the industry trends you should consider?”

A short, simple year-end review triggers a greater sense of awareness about the big picture of your business, and will help with your strategic planning for the following year.

You’re the boss and model for those with whom you work and interact. Better business habits yield benefits such as saving time, money and energy.  This is especially true if you beg, barter or hire help for those necessary, but neglected tasks that boost your business’s productivity and profitability—and yield more satisfaction with your performance.


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