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Grading your year in business

With December here and 2018 looming large, the business swing is coming to an end, bringing a change in pace and a chance to reflect on what’s unfolded over the past 12 months. How do you think you did? Are you deserving of a B, a B+ or perhaps an even higher mark? Let’s take a look at six key metrics of success that’ll illustrate how you did. Starting with the most important…

1. You didn’t quit

Entrepreneurship can be tough, and if your business is still going strong at the tail-end of 2017, congratulations. Many entrepreneurs throw it in at the first hurdle, but every success story knows it’s a lonely road to the top. Inevitably you’ve faced hardships too and the fact you’re still standing puts you in good stead for the year ahead.

2. You didn’t launch too soon

Some business owners are too aggressive with their launch date. They push to open the doors as soon as possible (often targeting the early January window) only to find the launch is a flop, their resources stretched thin – or they simply miss the window altogether. If you were smart, you gave yourself a buffer and launched when you were ready, rather than on a date you thought sounded good.

3. You didn’t try to please everyone

When you run a business, everyone’s got an idea on how you can run it better. Friends, families, strangers – your head’s being turned every which way. But as you’ll have no doubt found it, not every idea is good in practice, and the business that succeeds is the business that focuses on doing a select few things really well. It was a mantra Steve Jobs espoused, and you could do far worse than following his lead.

4. You started growing your team

It’s both exciting and daunting to bring new recruits under your wing. Suddenly the business is not only yours, but shared by a collective. This growth phase is perhaps the most important of all – the quality of your hires will ultimately determine where you end up. At Netflix, Reed Hastings will pay top dollar for the best people and places no restrictions on paid leave/holidays, etc. Going into 2018, concentrate on quality over quantity and be prepared to pay more.

5. You paid back your debts

There’s nothing worse than owing the bank – or a loved one – money. For many small business owners, the bank is a loved one; a parent or grandparent who has dipped into their savings to help bring your dream to life. Consider yourself in good shape if you managed to pay off your debts this year – especially if the money is going back to a loved one. The fact of the matter is debt is corrosive; it eats away at your sense of self and it’s bad for business too.

6. You turned a profit

Let’s keep this short and sweet. If you turned a profit in 2017, you’re fully deserving of a pat on the back. It’s onwards and upwards in 2018.


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