Business Review Questions For Entrepreneurs

entrepreneur business review questions
Photo by Damian Patkowski on Unsplash

As an entrepreneur directly involved in the business, have you thought about having a yearly review of your business?

Most entrepreneurs don’t.

Perhaps they don’t know how to conduct a yearly review or audit of how their business has been. Perhaps they know but don’t like the process of reviewing their business as it can be a complicated affair!

But we believe that if you don’t know where you are now, how do you know where you will go next year or the years after that?

You can look at your Balance Sheet and P&L and see the numbers but aside numbers, do you have a way to look into things and see if they are working or not for your business?

That’s why a yearly review using business review questions is important.

It gives you a baseline and a starting point of where you are now. It captures the present situation that’s more than just about the revenue you’ve amassed in the last 12 months. Revenue is good but some items are not reflected in your accounts.

These questions are some of the ways you can use to prompt some thinking about your business in the next year.

Some business review questions you can answer immediately; others need some quiet time to reflect. Sometimes you won’t have all the answers and that’s all right.

For instance, we’ve been running our business for 21 years now. We started off with designing websites for business owners but along the way, we started teaching marketing as we wanted to provide more value to our clients (without a website, your marketing efforts are futile as you don’t have a home base to lead them back to!).

We started sharing not just on our blog but also through our newsletter and after that, we created events to bring clients to learn together. Over the years, we have seen our own evolution from website design to marketing to events.

From digital, we’ve gone offline and now we have a hybrid of methods. In fact, today you should be looking at both ways to connect with clients and prospects. It’s not all about being online and neither is it all about being offline. You are better off with a combination of both!

Use these business review questions to help you work through your own business. Even if you think you know the answers, suspend judgement and give yourself an opportunity to really go deep and the answers may just surprise you!

Questions are illuminating as they force us to start the thinking process. In today’s constantly busy and hyper-connected world, we rarely if ever have time to sit and think and let our minds wander. It’s not such a bad thing to allow your mind to go off on its own tangent provided you feed it with some provocative questions beforehand.

Use this set of business review questions with yourself or your team. Write out the questions by hand. Answer them by writing them down too. Writing by hand helps us slow down and lets contemplation and good ideas wander in and make themselves at home.

Ready For More Strategy

If you want to learn more about strategy, join Nic and I for the final edition of Marketing Mojo this 27 November at China House Cafe, Penang.

We’ve been running this event for 7 years straight and we too have realised that our goals have changed in the 7 years.

marketing mojo penang

We could have run Marketing Mojo for another 7 years (we have clients who already are asking that we continue to help them and want to get on the early bird list to know when our next programme opens) and yet we know we can also do much better if we took a break and rethought the programme that we are offering.

Challenging ourselves to create better value to offer our clients is a constant in our business. Even if it means breaking down the programme that we are doing and building up an even better programme for 2020.

In this process, we have also used these questions to think through what we want to offer and what to offer. You can’t build unless you tear everything apart and identify what works, what doesn’t and where you want to go as an entrepreneur.

Business Review of This Year

  1. How did we do as a business this year?
  2. Did we reach our targets this year? If yes, how did we reach them? If no, what did we fail to do?
  3. Were we happy and satisfied with this year?
  4. What were we most proud of? Why?
  5. What were we most disappointed about? Why?
  6. What key learnings can we glean from our mistakes or frustrations?
  7. Did we make good use of our time this year? If no, what happened?
  8. Did any of the projects or priorities this year lead to improved relationships, partnerships or opportunities?  If yes, how can we do more? If no, why?
  9. What relationships or partnerships do we need to let go of? Why?
  10. What relationships or partnerships are we looking to start or develop? Why?
  11. Were we smart about using our resources this year? If no, what happened?

Business Planning For Next Year

  1. For next year, what should we do more of?
  2. What should we do less of? 
  3. What should we stop doing completely?
  4. Are there new priorities, projects or areas that we want to focus on?
  5. How will we measure the success of these priorities, projects or areas?
  6. What have we been putting off that we really need to do?
  7. Which project or priority will we complete in the first 3 months of next year?

Business Planning For The Next 5 Years

  1. What does our 5-year body of work look like?
  2. If we are looking at the next 5 years, what priorities make sense for the year ahead?
  3. Which are we capable of implementing, given our current resources and capabilities?
  4. Can we accomplish them realistically? 
  5. What is the biggest thing that can move our business 10 times forward?
  6. What skills, help or knowledge do we need to move our business forward?
  7. What is stopping us from getting the skills, help or knowledge?
  8. How can we get these skills, help or knowledge?
  9. What must we do now?

Want More?

We have another set of questions for marketing to help you in your yearly review and business audit. We will be sending them out through our newsletter so if you’re not yet on our newsletter list, sign up today.

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