How to do a yearly business review

There are many ways to come at a yearly business review.  These days, depending on how much time and energy you have at the end of the year, you will do either a four-question review or a 20-question review.

To do them properly, you need to carve out one to two hours of uninterrupted time to properly reflect. You don’t need to write clear and perfect answers to the review questions immediately. You can jump from one question to another,  Write your thoughts and answers and then revisit to tidy up at the end.

If you are someone who likes to speak rather than talk, you can speak your thoughts into your phone and get them automatically transcribed utilising many Apps.

Whether you are writing or talking, the most important thing is to come at your review with self-honesty. No one needs to see your answers but you. And no one’s grading your answers either. The more honest you are with yourself, the more likely you’ll get the kind of insights that set up the new financial year to be your best-ever.

You may consider the 4 question approach or the 20 question approach:


Four question business year review:

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What would I have done differently this year if I had my time again?
  4. What’s the one thing I learned this year that I want to take into the new financial year?

 20 question business year review:

  1. At the very start of this year, how did I feel about my business?
  2. How do I feel now?
  3. What’s changed since the start of the year?
  4. What was my primary business goal heading into this year?
  5. Did I achieve that goal?
  6. If yes – how does it make me feel to have achieved it? If no – what was the primary barrier to having completed it? Was that barrier something that was within my control?
  7. What was a significant challenge I faced this year? (Or a time I was taken well outside my comfort zone?)
  8. How do I feel I dealt with that challenge or time outside my comfort zone?
  9. Would I do anything differently if I had my time again?
  10. What am I particularly proud of this year? (This could be anything: a goal achieved, an intention stuck to, a situation handled well, or a meaningful relationship built.)
  11. Who are some people that reached out to me this year to convey appreciation or share kind words? What did they say?
  12. Who are some people I reached out to share kind words with or convey appreciation to?
  13. Who are some people I haven’t reached out to share kind words or thanks with yet, but think I should?
  14. What aspect(s) of my business did I least enjoy this year?
  15. What aspect(s) of my business did I most enjoy?
  16. What can I do next year to spend more time doing what I enjoy most and less time doing what I enjoy least?
  17. How confident do I feel that my business’ finances are well in hand?
  18. If they are not well in hand, who can I call on to help bring things under control?
  19. What aspect of my business would I like to give particular attention to in the first three months of the new financial year?
  20. What is the first action I will take in the first week of the new financial year to ensure I’m kicking my business year off in a positive and intentional way?

Permit yourself to work your way through the questions in whichever order works for you (i.e. if you get stuck on a question, move on to the next, don’t stay stuck there), and make rough/stream of consciousness notes along the way. If you try to write insightful, articulate and ‘perfect’ answers the first time through, you will miss out on the kind of insights that get shaken out when your mind is free to roam.

Once you have been through all the questions the first time, take a little break; maybe even a full day’s break. Then come back to your reflections, tidy up your answers and read them through.
The clarity you will take with you into the new-financial year from doing the above will be something you will appreciate for the next 12 months.

Contact us if we can support you in anyway with this process.


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