Usually things aren’t as good, or as bad as we think. Better to know the truth when it comes to small business because most of us aren’t operating with a lot of back up resources when things go awry.
Year End Review…
At the end of the year, after the cookies are all gone, or I’ve hidden them out of sight because I cannot look at them any longer, and the annual January Cleanse begins, I spend the free time I get back from not having any holiday parties to go to, or holiday errands to run, to conduct an annual Year End Review.As an entrepreneur with daily duties, urgent issues to tend to, team management, client maintenance and weekly/monthly goals (I Hope?) — it becomes difficult to see the forest from the trees for most of us during the course of the calendar year. We are simply too busy running things on the daily to stop and assess. If we are lucky, we may have carved out time for quarterly reviews which give us some time to pause to reflect on the big picture.The real story of the overall health of your organization is told on a 12-month cycle just like, life & taxes. What better time than these dreary January days? So, why is a comprehensive view of your business so important? For starters, you are able to to properly examine each component of your business individually and to see what real progress was made, not what you THINK happened. As entrepreneurs, we often tell ourselves stories about our businesses and depending on your personality type, you’re either the entrepreneur that focuses on what’s wrong and that has trouble seeing what is positive & going well; or you’re the entrepreneur with their head in the clouds that thinks things are humming along just fine, when there are actually lots of vital areas for improvement that need to be addressed.The Year End Review gives you an opportunity to identify and track your failures: what you learned, how to solve these issues, and how to avoid the issues moving forward. You are conversely also able to identify and track your highlights and successes: what you learned, and how to capitalize on what you want to cultivate more of! Each component is backed up with a real example and/or real data. Which gives you a true vantage point, and, the real story. Usually things aren’t as good, or as bad as we think. Better to know the truth when it comes to small business because most of us aren’t operating with a lot of back up resources when things go awry.Speaking of going awry… another huge advantage of the Year End Review is that it allows you to ANTICIPATE and create solutions before things are desperate or to keep momentum in the areas where you are ahead. There is also something so powerful in seeing things in black & white. It arms us to make smart and sometimes difficult decisions because we have FACTS in front of us from which to act. As an entrepreneur I like to keep my tools as simple as possible. So, here it is, in its simplest form, my…Year End Review:AREA What Worked
How to Capitalize
What Did Not Work
Failures/Areas of Opportunity
What Did We Learn from the Failure?
How to Solve/Recommendation
Major Questions to Answer for 2018 / Outstanding Issues to Resolve2019 PROJECTIONS / FOCUS HOW TO DO MORE WITH WHAT WE HAVERISK FACTORSNot sure, which areas of your business to review?Start with the big (4) Strategy (where are you going and why), Marketing (how are you selling your brand and its products?), Operations (examining the business structure itself), Financials (revenue by category, costs), and then break it down into sub components from there. For example, I place Staff under Operations and New Business Development under Financials. I recommend giving your self a 90-minute session to get it going and then a week to complete. Other examples and information will come to mind as you begin and you can simply add them to the overview. Then, use this review to take ACTION.Speaking of staff, let’s take a look at an example of the Year End Review filled out with a common yoga studio scenario…AREA: CLASS SCHEDULEWhat Worked
Completed student survey of suggestions for schedule
Two new classes added based on feedback from survey (Absolute Beginners & Restorative)
Average class size 25
Increased turnover time between classes = better “savasana” and ensured all (most) classes start on time
Successfully transitioned the classes of a senior teacher who moved away (had 10 years experience and super good with beginners!)
How to Capitalize
Ask all teachers for as much advance notification of major shifts to their schedule, so we can continue to get ahead & prepare the community
Do survey annually
Add turn over time between teacher training/events and class schedule
What Did Not WorkFailures/Areas of Opportunity:
Severely below average attendance Tuesday @ 12 & Thursday @ 12 average class size 8
Lots of questions at the front desk about the differences btwn the classes on the schedule
Conducted the survey “on paper” — was time consuming to process the data
Room holds 50, so we are only 50% to capacity on AVG
Short on teachers who are pros at beginners classes
What Did We Learn from the Failure?
Need to make information more widely available for the students to access about what each class is and who each class is best for
We still have a lot of room for growth!
Go digital on the survey this year.
Need to speak with teacher of Tuesday / Thursday @ 12 — see what can be done to increase class size with a 90-day check in.How to Solve/Recommendation:
Class Description & Ideal Student Match Chart at front desk, online & maybe add to paper class schedule
Need a marketing strategy to fill classes — (See MARKETING)
Sign up for digital survey
Need more teacher development (both to increase class attendance & get better at dealing with beginners)
Major Questions to Answer for 2019 / Outstanding Issues to Resolve:
Are there any other areas where we need teacher development + then what to do about it?
Teacher of Tuesday/ Thursday @ 12 has had lowest in attendance for 2 years, we have been “working on it” for 2 years. May be time to make a big change here.
2019 PROJECTIONS / FOCUS:
Average class size increased to 30
No more picking “up the slack” on the class schedule by teachers above 25
Are we ready to add a bonus for reaching certain attendance goals?
HOW TO DO MORE WITH WHAT WE HAVE:
Ask teacher who moved for their best practices on teaching to absolute beginners, maybe do a virtual workshop for staff — find some way to bring her back in (paid for of course!)
Ask teacher with 25+ for their best practices on having high class attendance, do an in studio workshop for staff.
RISK FACTORSNew studio opening in 2019So, if you are still holding onto something that doesn’t work, or not doubling down on something that is, the Year End Review will help you see the truth and hopefully, to act accordingly. And, it’s a total bonus, that the black and white also helps you to set goals and direction for the year. Always make new mistakes yogis… AvaREAL TALK with Ava Taylor copyright YAMA Talent