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As we cruise into the last days of 2018, it’s easy to get wrapped up in looking FORWARD. Many people are already asking: what will 2019 bring? People are setting goals and talking about Q1, but Q4 isn’t over yet.

Before you get swept up in the rush of 2019, take some time to assess your 2018. Every business owner should make time to go through their financials, their marketing, and their client list at the end of the year. An end of year business assessment should be the last thing on your 2018 to do list.

Understanding what you were able to do and what you couldn’t or didn’t do this year is the first step to a successful next year. You can use this year’s analytics and accomplishments to design your 2019.

Here are three steps to conducting your end of year business assessment.

Follow The Money

Check your monthly and annual profit and loss statements. Where did your money come from in 2018? What outlets served you best, and which ones didn’t perform as you’d hoped?

Get clear on how your income streams performed. Then, in 2019, you can lean into the ones that did well, and lean away from the ones that didn’t perform so well.

What Work Did You Enjoy?

Life and work should be about so much more than just the profit. What kind of work did you enjoy doing? How can you do more of that in 2019, and less of what you don’t like?

Take the time to sort through the day to day tasks of your business, and identify the ones you actually get pleasure from doing. The ones that you don’t enjoy doing should go onto a list to either be changed or outsourced in 2019.

Did You Meet Your Goals?

This time last year, you probably set some goals for 2018. Pull them out and see how you stacked up. If you crushed all of your goals, congrats! The systems you used to set the goals, and the ones you used to meet them all are working.

If you didn’t meet them, what needs to change? Where was there a bottleneck? Where was there struggle? What was the problem?

For example, you might have an excellent product that you struggled to market correctly. Maybe you were on the wrong platforms, or targeting the wrong demographic. The problem isn’t the product itself; it’s the marketing. By course correcting the marketing plan for your business, you can have a more successful 2019.

Asking these questions in your end of year business assessment will help you set better and smarter goals for 2019. You can review a year’s worth of effort and data and use that information to craft your 2019. You can pinpoint exactly what went well and set goals to do more of that. Finally, you can identify what didn’t go so well, and educate yourself, or hire talent to make sure that changes in 2019.