The start of a new year typically brings with it ambitious goals for your small business. But before you know it, half the year has flown by, and it’s time to take a closer look at whether or not the methods and tactics you’ve utilized in order to get there have been effective. And if they haven’t? It might be time to come up with a new strategy.
To help guide your efforts and ensure that the second half of the year is as fruitful for your business as possible, we asked a few experts for their take on how to determine whether or not you need to re-evaluate your original plan, and the best practices for doing so. Read on what they had to say about how to make your mid-year goal check in as effective as possible.
Evaluate Finances First
Your year-long goals likely involve a few different facets — but Sacha Ferrandi, founder of Source Capital Funding, Inc. says that a strategic way to start your mid year review is to look at finances first. “Although there are many aspects of a business that should be evaluated, your number one priority should always be your finances,” he says. “Your finances should be deeply audited biannually, if not more. By reviewing your finances regularly, you give yourself a chance to get in front of possible issues that may occur down the road. Ask yourself questions like, what kind of financial trends am I seeing? Is revenue starting to slip down or spike up? Are we hitting the profit margins we projected at the beginning of the year?” Ferrandi says that your answers to these questions will help identify issues that may be problematic for your current plan. “If you are hitting the mark, it will allow you to determine that your team should continue to do more of what it has been doing,” he says. “If you are missing the mark, after analyzing your financial data, you will be able to adjust your strategy and help boost your company back to where you want it to be.”
Measure Results Using Real Data
When evaluating what worked and what went wrong, Evan Harris, co-founder and CEO of SD Equity Partners says it’s important to approach both the evaluation and solution using data. “It is essential that you review your progress and reassess your plan of action to achieve those goals,” he says. “The best way to do this is by gathering data and determining what action to take based on that data. If you are reviewing your progress just based on how you feel things are going, you may miss some key insights on what you could be doing better. Facts and figures are essential and need to be looked at throughout the duration of a project, not just at the end.”
If you are reviewing your progress just based on how you feel things are going, you may miss some key insights on what you could be doing better.
Determine Where You Can Cut Back On Spending
“If your mid-year financial review indicates that you are falling short of your financial goals, before panicking and making any drastic changes, the first thing you should do is layout where all the money is being spent and cut out anything that is no longer necessary,” says Ferrandi. “Companies will often find that they are paying for old memberships or software subscriptions that are no long being used or needed. Canceling these old subscriptions can help you save hundreds of dollars a month alone. Furthermore, by laying out where the money is being spent, you can begin to formulate a plan to reduce spending in areas that allow, such as your utility bill and paper waste. By cutting out the low hanging fruit, it allows you to start saving money immediately without disrupting the flow of the company.”
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Figure Out What Isn’t Working
Even if you are on track to reach your yearly goals, business marketing strategist Gillian Perkins says using your mid year review to identify areas of improvement will put you ahead even further. “Ask yourself: What worked that we could have done more of? What was one of the driving factors of your success that you should focus even more attention on next time? By being mindful about what worked this time, you’ll be able to create even greater results when working on future goals,” she says.
Explore New Strategies And Tactics
Once you’ve identified areas of your business that need improvement, Perkins says to leverage your learnings from the past six months to make improvements. “As you were working towards your goals, you had some type of strategy and used certain processes to try to achieve success,” says Perkins. “However, along the way you may have learned new strategies or tactics, or have realized that some parts of your process weren’t as efficient as they needed to be to achieve the results that you were after. When you’re about to start fresh with new goals is a great time to plan how you’ll put these new strategies into action.”
Don’t Be Afraid To Change Your Goals
“The goals you set at the beginning of the year may not be relevant by mid-year due to any number of circumstances,” says Harris. “If this is the case, you can and should adjust your goals.” But make sure you’re being strategic in doing so. “Don’t make changes just because you’re not on track to hit a goal,” Harris says, “only make changes if there is something that it out of your control that is making the goal irrelevant or unimportant. At the point that you realize a goal needs to be changed, make that change. Replace it with something that is worth striving for.”