The business world is fast-paced and cutthroat. You need to be up to date on all the latest technology and trends if you want to achieve your key performance indicators and outperform the competition.
Ideally, you should set aside a portion of your calendar for yearly reviews. These reviews should include everything from employee satisfaction to brand positioning. Taking time to understand the holistic success of your business with a yearly review can help you spot challenges and ensure that your bottom line remains in the black year-round.
A bad brand reputation will undermine your business’s profitability and put a serious dent in your sales volume. Research conducted by LinkedIn shows that a poor reputation costs large businesses an average of $7.4 million in increased wages alone.
Take stock of the market before signing off on a new marketing campaign. Use brand positioning analysis to review your brand’s current reputation to review key elements of your business’ identity like:
- Your product
- Your identity
- Company name and logos
- Current marketing strategy
- Your price point
Reviewing these elements of your brand can help you understand your position in the wider market. This is particularly important if you want to respond to macro-level pressures like an economic downturn. Understanding your brand positioning ensures that you don’t compromise your identity while trying to offer more affordable products.
You may be hesitant to review your name and logos. However, a major rebrand can spark new growth in a business. Sometimes, all that is standing between you and your financial goals is a logo that does not communicate your brand well. Redesign your logo by combining multiple elements of your brand identity into a single, identifiable symbol. Incorporate a little typography if you’re worried about confusing customers, and survey staff to see if they like the new design before it goes live.
Employing a fleet of motivated staff can dramatically improve the profitability of your business. A recent Gallup study found that businesses with motivated employees enjoyed a range of benefits like:
- 81% drop in absenteeism
- 18 to 43% fall in staff turnover
- 64% fewer accidents at work
- 10% increase in customer satisfaction
- 23% increase in profitability
Clearly, these are benefits that your business can’t afford to overlook. Annual employee reviews can help you identify barriers to motivation and reward staff who have been working diligently and fulfilling their responsibilities.
Give employees a chance to weigh in on how the annual review should take place. Busy employees may resent reviews if it takes away from their day-to-day work. Instead, give them the option to meet at a time that suits them and adjust their monthly KPIs so they don’t feel overburdened when they return to work.
Embrace a back-and-forth when speaking to employees. Ask open-ended questions and encourage staff to share their queries and concerns without reprisal. You’ll need an honest assessment of working conditions if you want to improve motivation amongst your team.
Be prepared that most staff suggestions will require some amount of financial investment. Rather than shying away from expensive requests for pay raises or improved equipment, incorporate employee feedback and suggestions into your next financial performance review.
As a business leader, you should always be aware of your company’s financial performance. At a minimum, you should have an understanding of key financial indicators like monthly cash flow, revenue, operating costs, and break-even point. These financial KPIs should be reviewed every week, month, and quarter to avoid surprises in your budget.
Yearly financial reviews should give you a wider appreciation of your firm’s overall financial health. This macro-level review should be completed with a financial advisor and/or accountants and include considerations like:
- Projected tax liabilities
- Overall business valuations
- Succession planning
- Corporate investments
These financial indicators should be woven into your overall financial overview to give you a better understanding of your cash flow statements, balance sheet, and income statements. You can use these figures to create new budgets for the upcoming financial year and plan for changes to your operational costs based on employee feedback and emerging technologies that you wish to adopt.
Reviewing your technological infrastructure yearly is integral to the long-term growth of your business. Failing to adopt new, useful technology will put you a step behind the competition and may compromise your company’s long-term growth and success.
Loop your IT team into your annual review, and ask them to audit existing technology. At a minimum, they should review things like existing software and hardware systems. They should also be able to generate an inventory of all your current tech. This inventory should include the following:
- Software as a Service program (both paid and free)
Keeping a detailed inventory of your current technology minimizes threats like theft and misuse of business-owned tech.
Your IT team should also complete an annual cybersecurity review based on past and predicted threats to your systems. This annual review should be more thorough than typical reviews and should identify vulnerabilities or weaknesses in your systems, including checking for compromised passwords and making sure that employees are up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity best practices.
If your business is currently undergoing an expansion period, you may need to review your storage processes, too. Cloud storage has revolutionized the way businesses operate and gives you the ability to scale your operations without having to purchase expensive data warehouses.
Part of your tech review should include speculations about emerging technology and its impact on your business. This is particularly important today, as many of your competitors may be benefiting from the boom in automation and artificial intelligence. Adapting to new technology ensures that you remain competitive in a fast-changing digital world.
A yearly review is a great time to take stock of the opportunities and challenges your business will face in the upcoming year.
A detailed, employee-driven review may even help you change course and spark new growth thanks to improved equipment or a rebranding campaign. Just be sure to loop staff into your review so they feel valued and respected during the process.