- Taking inventory of the past year can help you start the new year off strong as a business owner.
- Entrepreneur Jen Glantz says to audit both your personal and business finances.
- Reevaluate your goals to make sure you’re happy with the direction your business is going in.
All year long, I wait for the month of December.
When I used to work for other people’s companies, December was the month I’d get an annual review and potentially a raise. Now that I’m my own boss, I give myself a similar kind of review (without the raise) and spend time taking inventory on what I did right and what I need to change when the new year starts.
As a solopreneur, I like to use the final month of the year to break down my moments of success as well as my most memorable failures.
Here are the five end-of-year inventories I do that I recommend to all entrepreneurs.
1. Audit your time
I use the first week of December accounting for how I spent my time this year.
First, I take note of how many hours I spent on phone calls, how much time I spent traveling for work events, and how many weekends were used to catch up on projects and emails.
Then, I use Toggl, a time-tracking app, to track how I spend my time during that one week in December. It allows me to see how many hours I spent answering emails, browsing social media, or even researching different content ideas or projects.
After I have an understanding of how I spend my time and where I waste it, I set goals and limits for the new year.
2. Analyze strengths and weaknesses
When I worked full time, my boss would often ask me to assess my strengths and wins for the year, followed by my weaknesses and mistakes.
I take a similar approach now as a solopreneur. I sit down and look at every single week of the year and write down something that went well that week or something that I’m proud of, like signing a new client or a project getting renewed. Then, I write down something that didn’t go well or that I didn’t do right, like handling a client problem or entertaining too many distractions.
These insights allow me to think about what I can continue doing next year and brainstorm ways to improve.
3. Determine future opportunities and threats
To start off the new year strong, I like to think about five to 10 new projects, products, or major goals I want to start working on in January. I do this by brainstorming trends in my industry and needs from my audience and studying my brand’s analytics.
I also spend time looking at competitors to see what they’ve launched lately to make sure I’m not doing anything too similar and keep an eye on the direction they’re taking.
4. Break down your finances
It’s essential to close out the year with an understanding of the state of your finances, both within your business and personally. I audit all of my bank accounts, credit-card statements, monthly income, and any losses the business had.
This allows me to enter a new year with a firm understanding of my financial health and the stability of my business.
5. Question your passion and purpose
The end of the year is a great time to question both your passion and your purpose. Perhaps after a long year of running your business, you might feel like it’s time for a change.
I spend time in December doing a gut check to make sure I’m still enjoying what I’m doing and to reframe my purpose based on what matters to me now and in the year ahead.
Taking inventory on what’s working, what needs to be fixed, and what’s next for your business is a great thing to do in the month of December to allow you to approach January with a clear head and game plan.