when we don't learn from the past, we're destined to repeat it

Thursday, December 04, 2014

While for many it's the busiest time of the year, it's also the very best time to start thinking about your business and brand objectives for 2015. Before you work on what you want the New Year to bring, we recommend taking full stock of the one that's just been.

It's so important to pause, reflect and think about your mistakes (and triumphs) if you have any chance of learning from them! 

At the end of each year, we make time to analyse and document what happened in the preceding 12 months. 

We do this as a team together. This way, we get multiple insights and ideas from various 'vantage points' within the company, the process doubles as a team-building/bonding exercise, and each individual gains more ownership and understanding of the impact of their role. It's a win-win-win!

  To help you interrogate 2014 so you go into 2015 stronger, here's a few of the questions we ask ourselves:

  • Of what we planned to do this year, what was not achieved?

  • For each of our 'Did Not Do's' separately: What effect did not achieving it have on not only the business/bottom line, but also the brand and our team?
  • What project(s) did we choose instead of completing something from the plan? Why, honestly, did we make that decision? And what effect did the projects we did 'instead of' have on the business, our brand and our team.
  • Were we distracted by anything that, looking back, we should have deferred or said No to?
  • Of the plans we achieved, how successful was each one?
  • Of all our marketing and advertising activities, which had the best outcome for our bottom line? How about for our brand? And our team?
  • And if you don't unequivocally know the answers to that question, what measurements and responsibilities do we need to put in place next year to ensure that all marketing is properly measured?
  • Has our strategic direction changed at all this year? (Either in response to our customer base, industry, competitors, or to new passions and skills evolving in the team). 

You'll discover some very valuable insights. You might find, for example, that the biggest issue was not having one single person in charge of a particular project to lead it. Or you might realise that some of your goals were completely unrealistic, given the actual time you have each month to devote to working 'on' the business. Perhaps you'll see that the biggest failing was not time nor money, but the buy-in and enthusiasm of your team, or a sense of fear of the unknown. 

So when you go into your 2015 planning, you'll know what to avoid and why, what to repeat and why, and what you need 'more of' in order to succeed - more time (we all need that!), more planning and organisation, increased advice and support, more leaders or project drivers, etc.

Happy planning, and bring on 2015!

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