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Time for your small business annual year in review

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 30, 2012 11:24PM



Just as movie to food critics engage in reviews, so should you as a small business owner, sales professional or even if you are retired and no longer actively working. And no time is a better time than the end of the year.

By reviewing what we have done; what we have left undone; what was done and did not work; what was done and worked; and what was done and worked very well, all are essential in today’s small business marketplace battlefield. The ongoing changes in technology and the global economy continue to change the small business battlefield especially for those forward thinking leaders engaged in those daily battles.

One of the tools I use with my clients is called “Annual Goals Review.” This workbook, published by Resource Associates Corp., is designed for small businesses or departments in larger organizations that need to invest the time to reflect and start to look to the next year or even 3 to 5 years down the road.

The reason I favor this tool is that it unites organizational planning process with personal behaviors. Part of the reason so many organizations consistently fail to achieve sustainable execution is this disconnect within goal setting.

If you and your employees cannot achieve personal goals, how can they or you be expected to achieve organizational ones?

When opening up the organizational side of this workbook, the first page is a schematic showing the organizational planning process. This simple flow chart diagrams the steps within a very simple strategic review and planning process. The reason it is strategic is this assessment tool demands some thought.

Before even beginning to evaluate the organization’s overall performance, the tool asks to list the business goals achieved through the “Business Goals Scorecard.” When facilitating this discussion with my clients, those present begin to realize another one of the reasons for failed execution –- poor to no communication. Teams or individuals begin to recognize they are operating in silos without understanding what the other teams or individuals are doing.

The real gem in this “Business Goals Scorecard” is the annualization of the dollar impact. When goals are accomplished or not accomplished and then assigning them dollars provides additional insight to opportunities both won and lost.

This workbook is divided into three key performance areas:

1. Operations

2. People Management

3. Time Management

Each of those key performance areas is also subdivided. For example, in Operations there are 68 questions divided among 10 key areas including:

• Quality

• Cost Effectiveness

• Waste and Scrap – Sustainability

• New Product Development

• Sales and Marketing

People management and time management are far less intense with a combined total of 47 questions that provide additional insight as to some of the gaps within the organization’s overall performance.

Regardless of the key performance area, each question is answered with one of these five statements:

1. Yes

2. No

3. Related

4. Not Related

5. Should Be Related

The end of the year is one of the best times to reflect and conduct an annual review for your small business whether your business is only yourself, 5, 20 or 100-plus employees.

Evaluation or assessment is part of the planning process.

Maybe the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower will make more sense: “In preparing for battle I have always found the plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

P.S. Shout Out: To all small business owners, to those who are engaged in business from the frontline workers to C Suite executives and to those who are retired, thank you for all your efforts in 2012. May 2013 bring incredible peace and abundance to you and yours.



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