Mid-year reviews help business owners see how they are doing, and make adjustments to achieve their goals. An objective assessment makes for a vigorous reality check – and can help you improve your company’s performance over the second half of the year. Want to give it a try? Read along. In this post, you can find the key points to include in your business review, and tips to make it (almost) stress-free.
Preparing for your mid-year review
If you believe that mid-year check-ups are a “large corporates thing”, think again. All businesses can reap the benefits of a halfway assessment – and the process isn’t that painful after all.
Still, conducting a valuable assessment requires some time and dedication. To get ready for yours, schedule your review just like you’d schedule a meeting with a customer. I like doing mine right after the summer break, before the grand reopening rush. Having some distance between the stress of daily business chores and the review helps me looking at facts and figures more objectively. But there is no set rule.
To play it safe, book around 4-5 hours of your time. Also, schedule the review at least a couple weeks ahead, so you can collect all the data and documents you need (sales summary, marketing plan, financial records etcetera).
Mid-year business review: key points
Depending on your situation, your assessment might cover different angles. If you manage a team, mid-year is a good time to see how they are going, and whether you need to hire more help for peak times. If you’re selling physical products, it’s time to check your stocks, and assess your relationship with suppliers. As a rule of thumb, your review should cover at least the following points.
Your business goals are more than items on a list. They are a snapshot of the stage your business was in when you set them. As such, they might need adjustments from time to time. And your mid-year check-up is a great time to assess that. It happens, you know? Businesses change and evolve, for different reasons. A new collaboration. That once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you couldn’t miss. A long-time contract coming to an end. A change of scope and vision.
Consider the following:
- Are your initial goals still relevant?
- What have you accomplished so far?
- Any milestones missed? Why?
- Any new priorities asking for new goals?
Strategies and methods
Next, focus on your strategies and methods. What is working well, and what isn’t? Maybe you focused on a marketing channel that isn’t converting. Or invested in productivity tools, but still have to untap their full potential. Or started a collaboration that is draining tons of energy, but delivering little value.
Yes, six months have gone by. But there’s still time to turn the tables.
Cash flow and budget(s)
This might be scary … but now it’s time to check the numbers. Regardless of your specific business and situation, there are some important points you need to consider:
- Any overdue invoices to chase?
- Are you on track to meet your target income?
- What about your taxes and bookkeeping?
- How are you doing with your savings plan?
- Is it time to raise your rates?
If everything looks OK: well done! If you’re struggling, consider e.g. reducing your business expenses, revamping your offers or adjusting your marketing activities.
Marketing and customers
Marketing is mixed blessing all year round. But with six months gone, it’s time to take a closer look at your promotional activities, and their overall performance. Weigh your offline and online marketing activities. Check whether your marketing assets (brochures, CV, website copy etcetera) could use a makeover or an update. Perform a cost-benefit analysis for ongoing activities, and decide on any cuts or amendments.
Mid-year is also a good time to assess your customer portfolio. Is it balanced? Do you have enough long-term clients? Are there any collaborations you’d rather end? And how about your acquisitions?
Wrapping up your mid-year review
Congratulations, you made it! To complete your assessment, look at the big picture and define some action points based on your insights. These will guide your work over the next six months. Then, take some time to celebrate your achievements. Mid-year business check-ups are about gauging the positives too – so praise yourself. It makes you feel good, and helps you keep your motivation as a nice bonus.