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A Year-End Checklist for Leveraging the Failures and Successes of 2012

The year is coming to a close and January looms on the horizon.  It’s a time of change and new beginnings for everyone, including businesses.  Unfortunately, too many business owners let the years slip by without taking the opportunity to reassess their business goals.

Although the new year is weeks away, it’s not too late to step back and examine how your company fared over the last year so you can analyze how best to move forward.  Here’s a checklist of steps for doing so – it may seem simple on the surface, but following a similar process on an annual basis can make all the difference in your company’s success and have a direct impact on next year’s profits.

✓ Review the Past Year’s Successes and Failures

Take out the goals you set at the beginning of 2012.  Were you able to meet those goals, and if not, what exactly held you back? 

Some failures in particular stand out without you even having to think about them, right?  Resist the impulse to “look away” from those bigger failures or to chalk them up to a circumstance beyond your control.  In some cases, further inspection will provide a chance to be more honest about what happened.

Likewise, acknowledge your successes and how far you’ve come over this last year.  Recognize what is working and determine your company’s current strengths.  It’s paramount to moving forward. 

✓ How Will the Failures of 2012 be Avoided in 2013?

No matter what caused the greatest failure of 2012, surely something can be done to avoid it happening again in the future.  At the very least, you can put checks and balances or emergency plans in place to minimize the damage. 

It’s often said that the most successful companies and businesspersons are those who fail the most.  The true difference is in how they get back up.  This is your chance to leverage your failures, evolve, and grow.

✓ How Will the Lessons of 2012 Create the Success of 2013?

In case it isn’t clear yet, your failures and successes hold invaluable lessons for your business.  Each year, your company gains experience, and this experience should create business “wisdom.”

So, what lessons can be drawn from your successes and failures over the last year?  How can your company soak in these lessons?  Use your imagination to consider possibilities for furthering successes or using them as a stepping stone. 

For best results, make this a group effort with your team.

✓ Leverage the Year-in-Review to Plan for 2013

Just recognizing your successes and failures and how they contribute is not enough; you need a definitive plan for making the most of your acquired knowledge.  Set goals for this following year, and then create milestones to help your company along with these goals. 

Most importantly, figure out how to make them a company-wide effort.  Everyone should know what the objectives are, and they should be revisited on a regular basis throughout the year.  If new company policies need to be set in place, now is the time to set a date for implementation or discuss them with other decision makers. 

What is the biggest lesson you learned in 2012? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.