As we approach the end of 2023, it’s important to make time to reflect on our commercial decisions and outcomes so that we can learn and improve in 2024.
For many years, I couldn’t wait for the Christmas break to start yet spent the run up to the holidays in a frantic state of ‘busyness’ simply trying to keep my head above water and get everything I needed to do, done.
Then one year, I realised that the more time I gave myself before the holidays to reflect on the year gone by and plan for the year ahead, the more I could enjoy my time off and the more successful the next year became.
So, for this week’s Commercial Curiosity Email, I wanted to share some questions I ask myself and my clients to help you reflect on the year gone by and plan for 2024.
It’s important to note that this reflection isn’t just about tallying up successes and setbacks. It’s about understanding the deeper impact of our decisions and how they align with our business objectives.
🦦 Some Questions to End the Year
Here are a few of my favourite reflective questions:
- What have been your biggest marketing wins this year and what can you learn from them next year?
- What hasn’t worked as well as you’ve wanted it to and what can you learn from the experience and do differently next time?
- What marketing tools and resources have you developed or created this year that you could repurpose or use next year?
- Who have been your most profitable customers? What do you love the most about working with them? How did you attract them? What could you do next year to attract more customers like them?
- When it comes to marketing – what tasks have you been working on that ONLY you can do? How could you delegate or outsource the other tasks that don’t require your knowledge, skills or experience (now you know what to do and how to do them)
🧠 Why These Questions are Important
If you don’t reflect on what goes well and what doesn’t, it’s really difficult to change your behaviour so that you can change or improve your outcomes.
When you zoom out and look at what you’ve worked on with a different lens and perspective you can start to see why things work and don’t work and what to do differently.
It’s hard to improve if you just keep doing the same thing over and over.
⚙️ How to Implement
- Reflect on Past Successes and Failures: Take an honest look at what worked well and what didn’t in your marketing efforts over the past year. Look for the learnings that you can bring forward into 2024.
- Document Your Learnings: Write down the key lessons from your experiences. These could be as much about shifts in behaviour and attitude as they can around strategies and tactics. For example: Time blocking allows you to work less in the evenings and weekends.
- Set Marketing and Sales Goals That Work Together to Achieve Your Overall Business Goals for 2024: Use your learnings to inform your 2024 goals. More often than not you can achieve a huge amount more by doing less but by doing it better.
- Keep an Up-to-Date Marketing Toolkit Database: Marketing jobs are not usually ‘one time only’ things and can be reused, repurposed and repositioned – make a point of keeping a database of all tools and assets you create so you can easily access them when needed and get out of the habit of creating everything from scratch each time.
- Make a Yes and a No List: Based on your key learnings and insights make a list of things you need to say YES to next year and also things you need to say NO to so that you can focus on what’s important. Align this with your goals and objectives for 2024.
🥷🏻 Ninja Tip
It can be quite tricky to remember what happened 6 months ago, let alone 10 or 12 months ago, so if you don’t document weekly or monthly wins and setbacks this exercise can be really useful to show you what to document moving forwards.
Set aside time in 2024 each week and month to reflect on what’s happened and ask yourself these questions. Then, this time next year you will have your notes to look back on and you’ll be able to spend more time using the insights from what you’ve learned to inform your decisions for the next year instead of trying to remember what’s happened.
It’s better to start now and keep improving things bit by bit otherwise you’ll just keep putting things off and miss the many opportunities to improve and create the business you’re proud of.