We have hit the halfway point of the year and those January goals seem it is a good time to pause and review or reset your game plan for the year. Whether you are on track for your goals or things have not gone as planned everyone can benefit from a mid-year review. Below are key areas to begin your mid-year business review.
You may do a mid-year review with your individual clients, but it is also a good time to review all of your client work. With two quarters firmly under your belt, you can take a holistic view at the total of your work for trends, gaps, successes and failures. Reviewing your client work in aggregate can yield insights that can be applied to individual accounts.
Are you noticing a shift in how you implement strategies? Are you spending more time on certain tasks than you did in years past? Are there tasks that you can scale back on because they are not delivering the ROI or they are not as critical to the work you do today?
Review your overall work for trends. For example, you may notice that a particular sequence in your campaigns netted greater results, or maybe a specific task consistently hit a home run. Conversely, you want to review the strategies that did not go as well. Is there a common thread? Taking a step back and looking at the whole picture gives you a different perspective. You can look at the big picture of what you’re doing and use what you learned to improve your results in the second half of the year.
Take this halftime huddle to look at your business. All clients are not created equal. Some clients are complex and require more time and energy while others may be largely routine. You may work with some clients for a few months while other relationships span years. In addition, you may have a range of budget levels.
Review your mix of clients to assess if you have the right balance. Are you appropriating your time in a way that makes sense to you? If you have more clients on the low budget range, you may feel out of balance. You are working hard and not getting the return you desire. Identify how you can reshuffle your budget mix. Can you increase your scope of work with your best clients? Are there clients that you want to replace with higher budget work? This review will help you to focus your business development in the second half as well as proactively prepare for annual reviews.
As independent consultants, you wear a number of hats, so working smarter is imperative. Your workflow plays a crucial role in maximizing your hours. Are you working in the most effective way possible? Are there manual tasks that can be automated or are there redundancies in your workflow? For example, you may be using a database for contacts, a spreadsheet for notes and a completely different system for tracking. Is there a single system that will fill your needs? If that is not possible, check out tools like IFTTT, Zapier or Slack that bring disparate tools together.
Ask your peers how they are handling those time sucking tasks to see if there is something that you can implement to improve how you work. The Solo PR Pro Premium Facebook group is a great place to ask for and receive feedback.
How you spend your time directly affects how happy you are in your business. Where are you spending the greatest number of hours? Does that line up with your personal and professional goals? If your goal in January was to run a 5k, you can’t meet that goal if you never spend time running. You want to ensure that you are spending your time on the things that will help you meet your goals.
You also want to assess if you are using your time in the best way for your business. If making pretty reports or invoicing is consuming time that can be used on client work that only you can do, it may be time for a change. This may mean hiring an admin or administrative service, or outsourcing components of work that are not your area of specialty.
With six months down, you have plenty of time to meet your financial goals. Your needs may have changed since the first of the year, so review your expenses. Review your phone service, insurance and other expenses to see if you’re getting the best rate. Meet with your accountant or tax preparer to ensure that you are maximizing your deductions. If you started your business this year, check to make sure you have the right business entity set up.
Finally, look at your income. Are you hitting your profit goals? As you go into the second half, it may be time to increase your rates for brand new clients. You may also find that you simply need more business, and will need to step up business development.
No matter where you are in your business, you can hit the reset button in June and have a strong year.
Have you done your business review? What other items would you add to this list?