Self-Review of Q1 for Your Small Business

Q1 is over, Q2 is half way through, your tax return has been filed, and you realize we're 5.5 months into 2016. Where did the time go? Well, perhaps you can find some new time to sit down and review your goals and data from Q1, measure up your Q2, and take stock of how you're doing. Better yet, do all this while sipping a iced coffee in the sunshine.

Things to look at for Q1:

  • Q1 sets a tone for your business for the rest of the year. So just generally: how'd it go? Did you set goals and meet them? Overpass them? Which metrics did you meet, and which did you not meet?
  • Try to identify the metrics, strategies, and tricks that really worked in Q1 and set them as goals for the rest of the year. Focus your energy on the things that worked, the social platforms with the best engagement, the product type that sold the best, and ramp up your focus and energy there for Q2.
  • Take a look at your workload and the workload of your employees in retrospect for Q1, such as on an employee utilization report. Was everyone used effectively and in a balanced way? Looking at these details can help rebalance the workload, lift burdens from some, and fill in the time gaps for others. 
  • Maybe take an opportunity to look at your business plan (great blog on this topic here). What if there's a process that is just too clunky? A service that drains instead of turning a profit? Superfluous steps that could be made more efficient? Within your review, double check to make sure you're running lean and as efficiently as possible. Use Q1 as a learning point, so that Q2 can be a fresh start.

Things to look at for Q2:

  • Double check and review your budget from Q1 and compare it to where you're on track to for Q2. What needs to be adjusted for the rest of the year? Which spending trends are good, and which ones are draining your small business? 
  • Review unpaid bills from this year. Xero makes this super easy to see right on your dashboard under "Bills you need to pay."
  • Review and set aside money for your estimated tax payments and sales tax payments. Do you know if you pay them? Quarterly? Monthly? Be sure to review these items and make sure you've budgeted for them.
  • You could also take this time during Q2 to take some of your data and compare yourself to industry benchmarks and averages. There's always time to change the trajectory you're on for the rest of the year depending on how you're doing. 

Goals to set for the upcoming quarter:

  • First of all, look at your original business plans. Did you make a one year plan? A five year plan? Compare them to how you're doing thus far this year and ask yourself if you're where you want to be. Of course, executing your dreams doesn't always happen as planned, but these original plans prove to be a gut check for reality. 
  • Growth. Obviously. Take a look at your metrics for Q1 and Q2 so far. Find the upward trends and following them through the rest of the year so you keep momentum and growth on the same path. Is this in regards to clients gained? Social media followers? Email subscription sign ups? Products sold? Billable hours? Just look at the numbers and make sure they keep going up, up, up!
  • One personal, one professional: set small, accomplishable goals for yourself on a personal level and a professional level. Do you want to get to the gym 4 times a week? Be more productive in the early morning hours? Close 5 sales? Whatever it may be, set goals and write them down where you can see them either on your desk or your mirror. Hold yourself accountable and you will feel more motivated and productive as you reach for and accomplish your goals throughout the next quarter and the rest of the year.