Conducting a small business reflection for 2023


As a founder, it’s often hard to take time out to reflect, but it’s an essential part of running your own business. The end of a year is the ideal time to reflect on your growth and achievements over the past twelve months and set new goals, both for yourself and your small business. 🚀

As well as looking at what worked well, it’s equally as important (but let’s be honest, way less fun) to look at what didn’t work so you know what to work on next year. We’ve put together some tips to help you with your small business reflection for 2023 ⬇️

⏳ Dedicate time for your small business reflection

Firstly, it’s important to dedicate some time to doing a small business reflection. It doesn’t need to be hours and hours, but if you can set aside a little bit of time without any distractions, you’ll be able to think about the year as a whole and make the whole exercise more rewarding. You could try to block time out in your calendar, do it on a weekend or evening, or split it up and do a little bit every morning or evening!

💭 Compare your current position to where you were at the beginning of the year

Did you set any goals at the beginning of the year? If so, now is a great time to compare where you are now to those goals! Remember not to be too hard on yourself if you haven’t reached all of them though. For small businesses, a year is a long time and things change very quickly! You may have grown in a completely different way from how you expected, but that’s still growth! And it’s a good time to look back at those goals and see if they’re still right for you.

If you didn’t set any goals – don’t worry! Instead, compare where you are now to where you were at the beginning of the year. Look at your:

  • Finances
  • Sales
  • Strategy and priorities
  • Branding and positioning
  • Marketing (look at the quality of your outputs, your following, the amount of engagement on your posts, your conversion rate etc.)
  • Feedback from your customers

🏆 What were your wins this year?

It’s so important to celebrate your wins! If nothing else, you are running your own business and working SO hard to achieve your dream. You’re still going and still trying – that itself is a win! 🥳

Start with milestones – think about your sales, your social media following, and the number of years your business has been around – is there anything you can celebrate there?

Did you receive glowing feedback from a customer? Did you solve a problem for a customer and provide a great service to them?

Did you complete a project? Did you launch a new product? Did you revamp your website? Did you improve your conversion rate? Did you start new activities, like sending out newsletters?

Think about all of the things you’ve done, make a list of your wins, and be proud of yourself!! You’ve managed another year as a small business owner 🤩 Have a look at our own list of wins from this year to see what our team is most proud of!

Top tip – from January, try keeping a ta-da list alongside your to-do list. A ta-da list is a list of these achievements and positive comments that, next year, when you do your small business reflection (or whenever you need a little pick-me-up!), you can look back and see how much you’ve achieved!

🫠 What didn’t go to plan?

Next, think about what didn’t go to plan. It’s more common than you think for things to feel like they’re all going wrong and it’s often these moments that are the biggest lessons! Think about some of the bigger things that didn’t go to plan but also the little day-to-day things. Think about:

  • What specifically didn’t go to plan?
  • Was it something you had control over?
  • If not, how can you factor this into future plans so you’re prepared for it?
  • What could you do differently next time?

For example, if you had a product launch delayed due to a stock delivery issue, you could consider reviewing suppliers but also think about scheduling launch dates further in advance so you can allow extra time for delayed deliveries.

When thinking about the day-to-day things that don’t go to plan, think about whether there are any quick wins you could do. For example, if you struggle to manage all the hundreds of things founders have to do, you could think about trying to block out time in your calendar for specific tasks so you ensure you’re allocating time to everything.

Here is a blog post with some tips on what to do when your plan doesn’t go to plan.

👏 Think about your personal growth

You will have undoubtedly grown your personal skills this year, which is definitely something to celebrate! Take a few minutes to reflect on everything you’ve done for the first time this year. Think about everything you’ve had to search on Google or YouTube because you got stuck (that you now know how to do!), the Masterclasses you’ve joined, and everything you’ve talked to your mentors about. You’ve had to grow your own skills in order to grow your business because for most founders, they *are* the business and have to do everything for the business.

💪 What do you personally want to improve?

What skills do you want to improve on next year? Would you like to learn more about marketing? Do you want to be more confident in networking? It could be something completely new or it could be something that you’ve noticed isn’t your strongest skill. Make a list of everything you’d like to work on and keep it handy throughout next year.

It can feel impossible to take time out to learn new things when you’re a small business owner, but it doesn’t have to be so disruptive! One of the best things about Digital Boost is that our mentoring is 100% flexible to you. Each of our 1:1 mentoring sessions is one hour long and you can submit the dates and times you’re available to speak to a mentor. Take a look at the topics our mentors can help with. Our Masterclasses are all recorded so if something comes up and you can’t make it last minute, we’ll send you the recording to catch up.

Set goals for the future!

It’s a good idea to set some goals so you can have some direction and focus for the next year. Think about where you want to be in 12 months – what do you want to see when you do your small business reflection next year? Then, list everything you need to do to get there. Put some timeframes against these to help you figure out what to prioritise and to keep you on track! Here are some more detailed tips on how you can set goals to push your business forward.

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