“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80” – Henry Ford
As the door closes on 2019 and we head into an entirely new decade, now is the chance to look back at the wins and losses of the year about to end.
Regardless of whether 2019 has been filled with highs or touched with lows, there will be business lessons to be learned. And reflecting on them, analysing them and working out what you’d do differently or better allows you to grow.
So as we wind up 2019, I ask you what did you learn in the past year? And here are some areas to examine as you ponder that thought.
Your goals – What goals did you set, which ones did you meet?
If you set goals and met all, chances are you have learned that you can achieve what you set out to do and next year you can aim higher.
If you set goals, but met some, you have the opportunity to look at why these goals were harder to achieve than expected and re-frame them for the year ahead, if they remain a priority.
Your plan – Did you follow it?
In addition to your goals, both personally and professionally, you probably had a plan for the year that was.
Did you follow it? Did you tick off the items on your to-do list? Are you closer to where you expected to be?
If so, well done. What did you learn during that endeavour? Was the plan too simple, could it be more challenging? Was it a challenge that you met despite the odds and next year you can enjoy the fruits of your labour, with greater challenges ahead.
Did you set a plan but not follow it? If so, why did it prove too hard or irrelevant? There are valuable lessons to be learned in planning here, and there’s the potential to implement small milestones that may allow you to reach your goals better next year.
Your customer – Did you understand them?
Your customer can change from year to year in a business. How well did you know yours in 2019?
If you clearly knew them and understood them, chances are selling to them was almost incidental.
But if you found selling a challenge, you may have been preaching to the wrong choir, and should look to redefine your customer in 2020.
Your numbers – Did you know them?
Did you know and understand your numbers in the past year? Because they tell a story in business.
Your numbers illustrate key facts like how many people frequented your business, how many potential clients your staff spoke to then how many purchased from you.
They then illustrate the profit you enjoyed or areas which were lacking.
If you found your numbers something to fear or hard to deal with, there’s a lesson there that within them is something you don’t wish to address.
If you did know your numbers they would have revealed a wealth of detailed insight about your business.
Your business, your life – Did your business serve your lifestyle
Finally, was your business something you remained passionate about? Or was it overwhelming, a burden and too time consuming?
If the latter three are true, now is the time to reposition for 2020 – to clearly define the purpose that your business serves and how it fits with the life you want.
By learning from the business lessons of 2019, you have the potential to rethink, redefine and re-embrace what you want both personally and professionally in the future. Learning from both the good and the bad, the wins and the losses allows us to grow.