Reviewing Your Business: The Three Stages

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.”

Luke (2:1-5)

The Christmas story wouldn’t be the same if it took place in Nazareth General Hospital. The stable, the manger, the shepherds and the wise men all enter into the drama because the census transports the lead characters to Bethlehem. It’s an important feature of the story, but often overlooked. Christmas is likely to be a busy and hectic time for you too, but taking a moment to conduct your own review of your business is an important process.

  • You can recognise what you’ve achieved
  • You can discover how exactly you spent your time
  • You can set yourself goals for next year

Quirinius’ census confuses biblical historians. He was appointed governor in 6AD which was ten years after the end of the reign of Herod – who also features in the story. It could be that the author was confused too. However, it has also been suggested that Quintinius may have been in a senior position before his governorship and may have conducted many censuses prior to the great census passed down from Augustus in Rome. The lesson for us? You don’t have to wait for an external prompt to take stock of where you are.

Obviously the purpose of a Roman census was to register people for tax purposes. That and to monitor public morality (from which we derive censorship). Your own tax register is provided each April by the HMRC. Morality hopefully comes into play when completing this. However, the point is that you don’t need to rerun this in December and whilst profit may well feature, it needn’t be the sole concern – your end of year review can be as broad ranging as you desire it to be.

Your end of year review should be covering two key questions: How did this year go and what can I do better next year? The factors you choose to measure this are entirely up to you. Different criteria will be more relevant to those who set out in order to build a lifestyle business than those building a value business. However, there is as much value in the exercise as can be found in the answers.

A review is psychologically important. Taking a moment to recognise all that you’ve achieved in the last twelve months can bring a real sense of achievement. Big wins can sometimes pass you by because the next challenge has already begun. Taking the time to celebrate your accomplishments is healthy – both for you and your business. Appreciated your achievements will help drive you forward in the future.

A review also allows you to see what you have been doing. Is it what you expected; what you wanted? You can pore over data and metrics as much or as little as you like to discern how successful this work was and how you performed – that’s up to you. The key question for someone who has set up their own business is ‘are you doing the right sort of work’? If you set up your business in order to work from home more often, are you at home? If your business is growing, has your role changed accordingly? Again, this should give you ideas for next year.

Next year is where your review concludes. Based on how this year has gone what do you want to change? If you’re the sort of person who sets New Year’s business resolutions your review is a helpful guide as to what you can change to make your business more profitable, make yourself happier or, hopefully, both.

Thank you for reading these articles throughout the year. I hope they’ve been helpful, or at least entertaining. I wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy (and successful) New Year.



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