It’s rare in business that we take time out to think about the bigger picture. We’re often so busy just keeping the business going (delivering for our members, managing trainers, keeping on top of direct debits, maintaining relationships with local businesses etc.) that the idea of taking time out for anything other than these core business activities can seem like a total luxury.

But review is a vital component for any fitness business that wants to continue to progress, prevent stagnation and even better, kick on and take it to the next level.

Here are the best guidelines to help you conduct an effective year-end review of your business

1. Draft an agenda – The purpose of a business review is to look at your business from afar and assess your current processes and systems from a different perspective. Decide on what aspects of your day to day tactics are due for review and approach each item, strategically looking for the most effective and efficient manner for the year ahead. 1 hour of planning can save you 10-100 hours in execution.

2. Create a questionnaire – Making a list of questions to ask yourself and your team will inspire all of you to dig deep for answers as well as solutions to problems that you may be currently facing. Questions like the ones below will help identify key pain points and things that you are good at that you can possibly capitalise in:

  • What are my biggest accomplishments?
  • What are my biggest disappointments?
  • What can I improve in?
  • What new roles can I take on?
  • What roles can I delegate starting this year?
  • How could we do this differently?

3. Start on a positive note – Make a list of the top 3 things that you are proud of, 3 things that you have accomplished this year. What do you think went right with these 3, and how did you achieve them? Beginning your review with a list of things that you didn’t do right will discourage participants and can not only reduce creative thinking, but also reduce the size of future goals that each person chooses to strive towards for the coming year.

4. Live and Let Die – Now make a list of the goals that you set out to accomplish for the current year. Ask yourself, are these goals still important to us, are they still worth chasing after in the coming year? If not, then let go of those stale goals. If they are still worth keeping, ask yourself what adjustments need to be made in order to make them more achievable. Keep in mind that as time passes, your business goals will keep on evolving, so it’s perfectly fine to adapt to these changes and let go of goals that you had in the previous years.

5. Establish new goals, while remembering why something didn’t work – Now make a detailed list of the stuff that you want to accomplish, including both long term (3 year) and short-term goals (3 month). Remember, because you didn’t achieve some of your goals for the previous year, you MUST change your approach this year if you want a better outcome. Think BIG and re-evaluate the steps required to get there.

6. Identify potential obstacles – For each new goal, brainstorm different scenarios that may realistically keep you from achieving them. Then, create an action plan on how to overcome each obstacle should it arise. Preparing in advance for the worst will save you time, money and unnecessary stress.

7. Set a realistic due date – Assign a final due date for each goal and create mini milestones for each element that will lead you to this final goal. Setting a deadline helps increase accountability.

8. Pick your Top 3 – Your business review shouldn’t end with a big to-do list. Instead, select no more then 3 major projects you wish to focus on first. Having too many goals will leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused.

9. Assess business values and culture – You do not accidentally build your company’s culture. If you do, you may not like what you end up with. Have a well-defined culture and set of core values for your company. Ask yourself – is this still what we stand for? How could be demonstrate these core values even better in the year ahead?

10. Regular Progress Check ins – Monitor your progress every month and make adjustments where needed. Don’t forget to note your wins and celebrate them with your team. If you are consistent in checking and following up with your team, you are 5x more likely to achieve your goals.