How to Conduct Small Business Strategy Reviews – Year End

Business strategy reviews should be the compass guiding small enterprises through the dynamic landscape of business. A year end review is a necessity and periodical reviews of your company’s strategic framework is advantageous.

It serves as the cornerstone to help you navigate challenges, seize on opportunities, and stay resilient in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Navigating how to conduct business strategy reviews requires planning and an understanding of the company’s operations. It is not merely an exercise in number-crunching but is a holistic approach to dissecting financial numbers, market dynamics, and internal capabilities.

As we delve into the art of conducting these reviews, this article will explore what makes them more than just a managerial task where strategy is not a static document but a living, breathing entity that propels businesses toward resilience and success in the face of constant change.

As we enter the final weeks of the year, you are undoubtedly hunting for gifts. While these are obvious year end considerations, you should also be reviewing your business strategy for the upcoming year.

Year-end-review-on-the-sticky-notes-with-road-background - Business Strategy Review
Year End Review on Sticky Notes with a Road Background

Taking Stock

Whether your fiscal year ends in December or not the end of the month is a good time to take stock of how things went in 2023. While the old saying is “time flies”, it is especially true for businesses.

Business owners tend to be fixated on two to three month time periods. As a result, they can fail to see developments over longer periods of time.

It is recommended that business owners use some down time in the month of December because business tends to slow down as people deal with the holidays, travel to see family and so on.

This is the perfect time to go back and review the business year. Specifically, you should focus on where your business was in January of the current year. What were your goals at that time? Did you meet them during the year? If not, why?

This global view can give you a better perspective and evaluation of how things are going.

Identify Key Objectives for the End of Year Business Strategy Review – Prep Work

What do you plan to gain by conducting a business strategy review?

Identifying key objectives for a year-end strategy review involves a thoughtful and comprehensive approach. It is a lot of work – if you are to do it right! Objectives are usually derived from business performance, market and industry trends, and, business strengths and weaknesses

Except you are a solopreneur, it is also not something you conduct all by yourself. So decide on one or two additional people who should work with you on this exercise.

If you after reading this article you find that this exercise is too cumbersome for you to handle, then reach out to BCINC for assistance.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you pinpoint some of the most important objectives for your year-end strategy review. Bear in mind that objectives will differ for each business. Using most or all of them ensures that you end up with an accurate and comprehensive business strategy review.

1. Assess Current Business Performance

Review financial statements and key performance indicators (KPIs) to understand how well your business has performed throughout the year. Assess how well your achievements met with the goals and objectives set at the beginning of the year.

Analyze financial statements and get ready to decode the financial language of your business. Break down those balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow reports into meaningful insights. Because numbers are not just digits, they tell the story of your business’s financial health.

What key financial indicators can make or break your strategy?

2. Assess and Understand Market and Industry Dynamics

Examine market trends and shifts that may have impacted your industry and your business specifically. Analyze the strategies and performance of your competitors to identify areas of opportunity or threat. What are they doing that seems to be working well?

Conduct a market research to help you understand your customers, competitors, and the trends shaping your industry. It is not just about keeping up, but about ensuring improvement in your business.

Year-end-review-hand-flip-cube-block-2023-to-2024-text-on-table- Business Strategy Review
Hand flipping Cube Blocks of 2023 to 2024 Text on Table

Know that your business does not exist in a vacuum. Assess the competitive landscape to assess your competition. Because in the business arena, it is about being the smartest.

3. Identify the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Business

Evaluate internal strengths and weaknesses by focusing on areas where your business excels and areas that need improvement.

Take a deep dive into how well your resources (human, financial, technological) have been used, and identify areas that can be streamlined and optimized.

Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Every business has its unique set of superpowers. Be honest! Listen to your customers and employees. It is not about perfection but about progress.

Identify opportunities and threats that occurred throughout the year. Which opportunities , if any fid you use? What kind of threats did you encounter and how did you address them?


4. Talk to Your Employee and Customer Stakeholders

Gather customer feedback and insights to understand their experiences and expectations. Involve employees from various levels to gain insights into internal processes, challenges, and potential improvements.

Set Objectives

Use information derived from your prep work to set clear objectives.

1. Set SMART Objectives

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: Establish metrics to track progress and success.
  • Achievable: Ensure that your objectives are realistic and feasible.
  • Relevant: Align objectives with overall business goals.
  • Time-bound: Set clear timelines for achieving each objective.

2. Prioritize Objectives for the Business Strategy Review

Assess the potential impact of each objective on your business success and prioritize accordingly. Identify objectives that require immediate attention and those that can be addressed over the longer term.

  • Review Lessons Learned: Analyze challenges faced throughout the year and consider how lessons learned can inform your year-end objectives. Understand what worked well and whether those successes can be replicated or expanded upon.
  • Align with Long-Term Strategy: Ensure that your year-end objectives align with the long-term strategic vision of your business. Consider how your objectives position your business for future growth and adaptation to market changes.

3. Communicate and Gain Buy-In

Clearly communicate the identified objectives to relevant stakeholders, including employees, leadership, and key partners. Seek buy-in from key decision-makers and ensure that everyone understands the importance of the objectives because they could potentially result in changes needing to be made in the business.

4. Establish Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanisms

Define the metrics and key performance indicators that will be used to monitor progress. Schedule regular check-ins throughout the year to assess progress and make necessary adjustments.

By following these steps, you can identify key objectives that are not only relevant to your year-end strategy review but also set the stage for a successful and adaptive business strategy in the coming year.

Conduct an Effective Strategy Review Meeting

By now, you already know that a strategy review meeting is best done with key personnel in your business – if you have employees. Strategy is not a solo act. If you do not, then you will have to do all the heavy lifting by yourself! Regardless, follow the Plan!

Create a Structured Agenda – Set crystal-clear objectives for the meeting to ensure that every minute of your strategy review meeting counts. This will be your roadmap to success.

For a group review, allocate time for each agenda item because time is money, especially in the business world.

Human Hands Holding Black Silhouette Objectives Word Against a Sunset Sky in the Background - Business Strategy Reviews
Human Hands Holding Black Silhouette Objectives Word Against a Sunset Sky in the Background

Involve Key Stakeholders – Ensure that you are involving key players so that a diversity of perspectives can turn your strategy review meeting into a powerhouse of insights.

Encourage open communication and feedback because the best strategies often emerge from collaborative minds.

Questions to Consider for your Business Strategy Review

After contemplating the current year, you should give consideration to what you want to accomplish and where you want to be by the end of the upcoming year. Ask yourself the following:

  • What is a reasonable revenue increase for the upcoming year compared to the current year?
  • Are there products or services you should pursue?
  • Are their products or services you should drop?
  • If a strategy is underperforming, does it make objective sense to continue pursuing it or cut your losses?
  • What are your biggest frustrations and how can you deal with them?
  • Who are your most valued employees and have you taken a moment to thank them?
  • Who are your least valued employees and what should you do about it?
  • Which vendors or suppliers do great work for you and which don’t?

Many other questions will run through your mind. There are no wrong ones. What is important, however, is you write the goals and thoughts down and keep them somewhere private. Next year end, you should pull them out and see how things are going.

Use Data and Analytics

Incorporate relevant metrics and data in the discussions to highlight notable points, and make data-driven decisions. This eliminates uncertainty.

Implement Changes Based on Strategy Review Findings

Develop an Action Plan

Set Priorities for Implementation: You’ve got a list of findings; now what? Prioritize them to help you identify the low-hanging fruits and the long-term strategic moves. It’s not just about knowing; it’s about knowing what to do first.

Assign responsibilities and timelines because action plans without ownership are like ships without captains. Timelines aren’t just deadlines; they’re lifelines to progress.

Communicate changes to the business to ensure transparency and clarity: Change is unsettling, but clarity is comforting. Ensure that your team understands the ‘why’ behind the changes. It’s not just about what you change; it’s about how you communicate it.

Address concerns and provide support because more often than mot, change brings questions and concerns. Address these with empathy to turn potential resistance into collaboration. You need their buy-in for a successful transition.

Monitor Progress and Be Ready to Adapt as Needed

Establish Key Performance Indicators: Progress without measurement is like a journey without milestones. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your implemented changes.

Finally, continuously assess the effectiveness of implemented strategies because strategies are not set in stone.

Conclusion – Year End Business Review

Now you are ready to go into the new year armed with a plan! The findings from your business strategy review are not just insights but are blueprints for change. Develop your action plan, communicate with transparency, and monitor progress with an eagle eye. Your business is not static but a living, breathing entity ready to adapt, evolve, and thrive.

For assistance with your year end Business Review, CONTACT US TODAY.


Indeed (2022) Year-End Review: Definition and Tips to Help You Prepare.

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