As entrepreneurs, we usually don’t have that year-end review when our managers point out everything we did well (or not so well) over the course of the previous year. Though you may be relieved you no longer have to sit in a stuffy office and be told where you could improve, there’s no denying that year-end performance reviews can be helpful for keeping us on track. The good news? You don’t need to work for someone else to get those benefits. You can perform a year-end self-audit on yourself to help you learn, grow, and take stock of the previous twelve months.
Why an Audit is Important
It’s easy to get overwhelmed as an entrepreneur—especially with the year we’ve just had. When we get overwhelmed, many of us go into hibernate mode and just try to get through as best we can. We don’t look at the past and we try not to think about the future. Our sole focus is on getting through the day. When you go into this mode, you miss a lot of opportunity. Not only opportunities to grow, but also opportunities to learn from where you’ve been. 2020 has been rich with learning potential if you just have the right mindset. One of the best ways to invest in yourself is to take off the blinders, concentrate on what did (or did not) go right last year, and find ways to amplify those results in 2021.
To be able to perform a comprehensive audit on both your personal and professional life, you need to keep notes throughout the year. I jot down notes every day in my planner so I can go back and look at what happened. If you haven’t been doing that, don’t worry. You can still perform a less-detailed audit this year and commence with the notetaking in 2021.
Our work and personal lives are intricately connected. That’s why I truly believe you need to perform an audit on both for the process to be effective. At the end of the year, I take a look at my family, health, wealth, love, and happiness over the past year. What were my goals? Which did I achieve (and not achieve)? What did I achieve that wasn’t even on my goals list? What happened that was unexpected? How did we grow? I’ll often bring my wife or kids into this part of the process as well to get their perspective and to choose some goals we want to pursue as a family next year.
Once you’ve completed your personal audit, move on to the business. What new clients did you bring on? Which did you lose and why? What new opportunities were you able to pursue? Did you grow your profits, or did they shrink? Any new strategic partnerships? You should also have written down which goals you wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the year so you can compare that to what you actually accomplished. What led you to meet certain goals and not others? How can you replicate your successes in the year to come? A full audit should be educational, inspirational, and maybe a little bit frustrating. But it’s all part of the growth journey.
Not feeling up for a self-audit this year? You may be in need of a little ass-kicking—and I mean that in the nicest possible way. A coach who can call you out when you’re underperforming and help you get back on the right path is one of the best partnerships you can form. Need a coach who will tell it to you straight? Reach out. I’d love to talk.