“If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” ~Maya Angelou
2021, you were quite a year! In these unpredictable times, it can be easy to focus on the things that were restricted or the frustrations of life being kinda upside down, but so many wonderful things have happened too. As this year comes to a close, it is not only a helpful business tool, but also a holistic process, to look at your year, evaluate it and set your focus on all you want to achieve in 2022.
Why Review Your Year?
Sometimes, when you’re in the middle of something, it’s hard to see any change or growth. Remember the way your relatives would comment on how tall you had become every time you saw them as a child? Well, it’s the same with your business. You might not notice all of the little achievements and victories on a day-to-day basis, but when you look back over a whole year, you might be surprised by how far you have come.
Let’s be honest, times are challenging at the moment. Not all businesses will have had an incredible year. But that doesn’t mean the time was wasted. Failing is just as big a part of a business as succeeding. If your year hasn’t been all you hoped it to be, look at it with an optimistic eye; now you know what doesn’t work, so you won’t make those same mistakes again. (You can learn more about how to do that here.)
2021 was a busy year for my Gatto brand. Launching a business during lockdown was certainly a challenge! However, adapting quickly to the situation and starting Virtual Photoshoots was a quick-thinking move. When the lockdown was over I was honoured to photograph more than 30 amazing women in London and Prague. I also had the great pleasure of travelling to Nice to photograph inspirational Christine Kjeldbjerg and beautiful team of Mimoza charity. To mentor some wonderful women entrepreneurs for powerful Personal Branding was a real highlight for me, along with being a guest speaker at some networking events as well as sharing my story on a stage in Soho, London as part of the True Story event. I have connected with such incredible women and feel so motivated to take my business forward.
How was 2021 for you? Look at your past year as the springboard that will launch you into 2022. A simple year review won’t take you very long to do, but it could be the difference between next year being a good year or a great year.
Here’s my guide to reviewing your year.
1. What went well for you in 2021?
A year is a long time in business, especially when you’re focussing on what’s next. It is easy to forget everything you have achieved. Get listing. Try to think back to where you were at the beginning of the year. What were your main struggles back then? What did you hope to achieve this year? A year on, maybe the things you found difficult at first, have now become much easier, and new challenges have presented themselves. Don’t downplay the little things. If you found something silly hard at first, and now you don’t, that’s a success!
2. Look at your shortcomings
Even if you had an amazing year, there will still be areas that you could improve on. Don’t make your failures your main focus, but identifying them and dealing with them is an important part of reviewing your year. Treat your review like a therapy session. By looking at where things didn’t go quite to plan, rather than burying your head in the sand, you can gain closure on the issue which may be holding you back. Like any therapy, it could be painful to deal with, but allowing yourself to let go, release the stress and forgive yourselves, and maybe others, will revitalise your mindset and help you to move on.
3. Allow yourself to be proud
Running a business is not for the faint-hearted. Only you know exactly how hard you have worked, how many different roles you are fulfilling and how much you have sacrificed. Throw juggling the work-life balance into that and it can be slightly overwhelming. But you should be proud. You have earned that right. No matter how many goals you may have hit or missed in this last year, you are here following your passion. Allow yourself to be proud of everything you have achieved and adopt an attitude of gratitude. Taking pride in your work will do wonders for your business confidence and give you the strength to keep on pressing forwards.
4. Get into the details
Number crunching is a great way to review your year. It’s not just about the financial numbers. Make a list of the numbers that are important in your business. It could be the number of clients you have worked with, events you have attended, followers on social media, unique readers on your blog. Whatever your business, there are figures that matter. Hard data like that give you tangible evidence of how your business is performing. They also allow you to set defined goals for next year. If you feel that your social media presence is letting down your business, then looking at the figures and acting on them, for example by reaching out to a Personal Branding Mentor, would be a great goal for 2022.
5. Where do you go from here?
It’s amazing how taking the time to review your year and set everything out in front of you can really help you see your areas of success and areas for improvement. The main purpose for doing a year review isn’t just to look back, but to get you on the right track for next year. Setting realistic goals is much easier when you can clearly see how you got on trying to achieve your goals in the previous year. Maybe some of the goals you set turned out to not be as important as you thought; maybe your business has evolved over this year so your top priorities have changed, or maybe you didn’t set proper goals last year and that left you stumbling about in the dark a bit. The key to success is having a great plan, and a year review is the best way to start that plan. You can’t know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you’ve been.
Being an entrepreneur is all about diving into unknown waters and pushing yourself to find new clients, new products, new ways to expand your business. And it can be hard, and exhausting at times. But the rewards for following your dreams and turning them into a reality are amazing.
Sometimes, though, we can do with a little help. If you have reviewed your year and realised that you’re not sure where to go next, I would love to connect with you and help guide you along your way. My passion is for Personal Branding – both photography and mentoring. Having someone alongside you who has already walked the path can make the business world much less daunting. A fresh pair of eyes on a situation or a confidence-boosting photoshoot could be just the thing you need to make 2022 your best year ever.