It took me a couple years to finally be able to take my attention away from the day-to-day of starting and running my business. I realized I needed to be working on the business and not just in it. I was years-in before I started doing monthly reviews, but there isn't a single better tool for tracking your business progress.
And it can be quick!
My to-do list was always a mile long and always included urgent tasks, things that needed to get done right then rather than the important tasks that would help my business grow. It's like spending all your time picking up your house without ever cleaning it.
When I started doing monthly reviews, I created a repeating appointment in my calendar. The last business day of every month I spend an hour reviewing my business in the following areas.
You can get your monthly review done in just an hour a month. This is an excellent way to have standardized metrics to make sure that your business is growing in the direction that you want it to grow. You will also be able to see this growth and compare it to previous months and eventually years. This can be a review that you do by yourself or with your team.
Goals / Projects
If there is a big project that I am working on for my business like updating my contract, working on new client packet, a marketing push, or continuing education, I use this time to plan it out and write it down. This includes deadlines and steps. Then I write it in my planner/calendar. These are the business development goals/projects that I will be working on the next month. When I have CEO-time, this is where I plan to focus my time over the next month.
Development / Marketing
I review my marketing plan and see how it went for the previous month. Looking at your marketing efforts and analyzing the results is invaluable. This is the time to adjust where necessary and make sure everything is on track for the next month. Reviewing your marketing every month keeps it in the forefront of your business. Consistent and constant marketing is important to help prevent "feast and famine" cycles.
Included in marketing is visiting each social media site and note important analytics like followers and clicks. You can choose how you want to measure success. Maybe engagement is more important than reach (followers) or visa versa.
This is super important and a must-do for any business owner. Each month I print out an income statement and balance sheet. These reports should be available in your accounting program or from your bookkeeper. The balance sheet looks at the financial strength of your company and the income statement shows profit & loss, sales and expenses.
In these reports you want to keep an eye on how much money you're owed (accounts receivable) and how much you owe (accounts payable). Also, I look at monthly net income and total revenue. I also keep an eye on my year-to-date revenue. I look at my time billing and income from that.
Keep an eye on these reports monthly gives you a snapshot of how your business is doing and if there are areas that need improvement, like better collecting of receivables or requiring 100% deposit.
While not part of reviewing your business, I also use this time to make sure I am regularly completing tasks like client billing and website maintenance. This is the time that I file my monthly sales tax and work on my editorial calendar. If you have monthly tasks that you're having a hard time committing to, working it into your monthly review is a good option.
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