solopreneur annual business review

Solopreneur Annual Business Review

Have you done your solopreneur annual business review yet??

This time of year is my FAVOURITE time to do a business planning retreat in preparation for the new year because...

  • It's BEFORE the holiday season gets underway (if you wait until closer to the new year, you might end up pushing it back and back and back because holiday stuff gets in the way).
  • You already have a full 3 quarters (Jan - March, April - June, July - Sept) from this past year to review & audit — which gives you a chance to *foresee* what will happen in the next couple months and pivot if needed.
  • It gives you a head-start on the new year! You will be able to start January with a well-rounded idea of exactly what to work on — removing any stress or chaos from the start of a new year.

So... how do you go about DOING a business planning retreat?

There are 3 core components to a great business planning retreat:

  1. REFLECTION: Looking back on the past year enables you to recognize your patterns (positive and negative)... and you need to know where you're starting from in order to move forward in the best ways possible.
  2. REVIEW: Assessing the past year (in terms of analyzing the data, pinpointing what did/didn't work and why, doing performance reviews and checking over business plans, etc) gives concrete information about what to prioritize moving ahead.
  3. GOAL-SETTING & ACTION-ORIENTED PLANNING: Focusing on your longer-term goals helps you to know what to work on, when, and how in order to achieve them (and maintain perspective).

Your business planning retreat can be as in-depth as you want it to be (I've done half-day retreats, 3-day retreats, and multi-part retreats that take place over several weeks!)... there's a lot that can go into it!

Here are a few sample questions you can use for your annual business review & planning...

(I'll even provide feedback on your responses if you like!)

solopreneur annual business review template

1. Brainstorm general ideas & goals for the upcoming year.

Where would you love to be by this time next year? What would you ideally want to happen in the next year?

(You don't need to spend a lot of time on this; it's just to get your ideas out of your head before you start analyzing the past year)

2. Ask yourself, "What is the BEST thing(s) I did this past year for my business, and what is the WORST thing(s) I did this past year for my business?"

You can think about this in terms of the actions you took, tangible results from those actions, your satisfaction and fulfillment with your business, your definition of success, any perspective shifts or internal beliefs or mindset blocks, etc. This will help with decision-making as you start planning ahead for the new year.

(You could even map this out visually, e.g. create a spectrum or a ruler and place specific events/actions/experiences etc on it)

3. If you knew that your ideal business was going to be your reality by this time next year, what would you do differently moving forward?

Think about how you would spend your time, what you might change with tasks/systems/processes, where your thoughts would be at, etc. Does that affect what decisions you want to make?

(You don't necessarily need to act fully on this, but you might find you want to make a few changes to your goals/plans as a result!)

4. Connect back to your initial ideas/plans/goals for the upcoming year — see point #1.

Does your current actions and your planned pivots support your original ideas/plans/goals? Has anything new come up for you, especially after you've assessed your business and reviewed the data etc? Do you want to change any of your goals? What does or doesn't fit into the next year, or what do you want to add?

(Be open to what comes up here!)

5. Map everything out into your calendar for the next year, e.g. by the quarter or by the month, to determine what you want it to look like.

Have you over- or under-estimated your time/energy? What will serve you best? Or, could something be simplified so you can still fit it into the next year, without it being tied to a lot of stress or pressure?

(Don't forget to include some buffer space so you don't overload yourself!)

Submit your answers in this form so I can provide you with feedback: