Now we are halfway through 2022, it’s the ideal moment to take a step back and look at what’s been going on in your business to evaluate what’s working and what’s not. This has never been more important as CEOs face a tough trading environment.
Barclay’s latest SEM Barometer has revealed that three-quarters of small and medium-sized companies are worried about the long-term impact the cost-of-living crisis, soaring energy bills and rising inflation will have on their business.
Many fear having to increase their own prices in response will make them less competitive, with a tight labour market adding further pressure as many struggle to recruit staff. Conducting a mid-year review and making any necessary adjustments could help you deal with these challenges.
All businesses evolve and improve from learning, so looking back can be one of the keys to success. By taking stock, you can focus on what’s right for your business and what may have changed since the beginning of the year.
There are some common questions to ask yourself while looking back at the plans set at the start of the year, to conduct a meaningful review:
1. What great things have you accomplished?
As the CEO, it can be tempting to focus on what went wrong and miss what went right. Taking an objective look at what went well and why is a great way to capture what works for your business and highlight the learning within each success. This can also build recognition and confidence in your own abilities as a leader, to support personal growth.
2. What hasn’t happened that you planned?
With this question, it’s essential to be honest and not to judge. Reflect with curiosity and kindness, rather than being critical or disappointed. Often there are good reasons why things didn’t happen. Understanding these reasons, can help you improve your plans, upgrade your skills or update resources to better prepare for the future.
3. What has worked best for the business this year?
Consider which marketing strategies, relationships, products, processes and clients have worked best for the business. Brainstorm everything that’s had a positive impact on the business and what this means for the second half of the year. Look at what can be improved, adjusted or stopped altogether to build on what works best.
4. What have you personally enjoyed the most?
Take time to think about what this is telling you about you, your values and your ambitions. Richard Branson once said, “if it’s no longer fun, stop doing it.”
Businesses and individuals are always evolving so writing down what you enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) over the last six months may give you a different perspective on where you are heading next.
5. How are your finances?
A key step at this point in the year is to ensure your finances are on track with expectations. Look at income and expenses, as well as any unexpected or outdated costs. Look back at income targets and make any adjustments needed to end the year as planned, or better.
Also plan ahead for any quieter periods too, such as July and August when business activities can slow down. Consider what needs to be done to maintain momentum and traction, so that you have a steady income throughout the year.
Map out your goals for the next six months
The final step is to set your goals for the next six months, taking into account what you’ve learnt during the review process. These need to be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. Once goals are set, break these down into clear plans and activities, then schedule and assign these so you know what actions need to be taken, when and by whom.
Following these steps will give your business the best chance of success for the rest of the year. It will enable you to capture personal as well as organisational learning points, make necessary changes to the current strategy, processes or resource allocation, and fill any gaps, so you can continue to build on your existing strengths and feel fully equipped for a successful future.
About the author: Melitta Campbell is an award-winning business coach who is passionate about helping business owners build and grow profitable, and meaningful businesses. Her expertise comes from 25+ years of experience in communication, marketing, and leadership, including more than a decade of running her own successful business.