As you near the close of 2016, it's time for an end of the year business review. Here are some questions to ask as you look forward to 2017.

It’s that time of year where we should take stock, review, tweak, change, enhance and  re-commit. This should be an annual, serious activity for all small businesses.

As I look back to 2007, when I started my social media business, there has been an extraordinary transformation and evolution in our business, marketing, online and social media worlds since then. It is crystal clear that starting, running and growing a small business takes so much more today, than ever before.

Our time and what we do with it is our most precious commodity. Time is definitely one of the most challenging tasks we manage given the current fast paced, hyper connected, content driven world. It is imperative that we wrap ourselves around this, so that it doesn’t wrap itself around us.

I have always wondered why the years seem to fly by more quickly as we age. Turns out there is an explanation for it.

In an article from Psychology Today:

“The best answer for this phenomenon is that the early years are full of first-time events — your first date, the birth of your first child, that first big vacation, etc. First occasions are novel events and we tend to make more detailed and lasting memories of those first times. When we repeat the event, year after year, it is less likely to make a unique or lasting impression.”

It’s all about “time perception” and savoring the time we have. We can slow down the pace of life, at least psychologically, by taking advantage of new and unique experiences, living more in the present, envisioning optimism and using time more wisely.

So, as we close out one year and start another, an honest, candid house cleaning and review does wonders for keeping us growing, on track, hopeful and optimistic.  Not everything works out the way we had hoped it would, and some things work out better than we anticipated.

End of the Year Business Review

These seven questions have helped me and those I work with, to close out one year and start another prepared and strong.

Am I In My Sweet Spot?

If you are not doing work you love and want to do, it’s very difficult to sustain your motivation and commitment. Discover and dive into where your true passions are and use that to find your sweet spot, the place you live most of the time. There will always be things we don’t love, but sometimes we need to be where we are on our way to where we want to be.  Take some serious time to honestly evaluate where you are right now.  If you are NOT where you want to be and doing what you want to do then have the courage to accept that and do everything you can to change it.

How Well Is Everything Really Working?

I just finished my annual reading of Spencer Johnson‘s gem, Who Moved My Cheese.  Johnson wrote this on The Handwriting on The Wall: “Monitor change, smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old.”

Frequently monitor how everything is really working. Better to catch trends early and change them, than let them get too far. Trust your instincts, your guts, and proactively change things. When things are working,  we are much happier, more productive and have a much greater chance for consistent success.

Are My Relationships Mutually Beneficial?

True, authentic relationships with family, friends and colleagues based on mutuality, respect and trust have the best chance of enduring. If these are not the cornerstones in your relationships, then maybe it’s time to let go of them or make them work better. Evaluate what needs to improve and change and engage with people on how to improve things together.

How Can I Improve My Time Management and Organization?

Prioritizing, organizing and time blocking is not everyone’s favorite activity but it is the only way to control what we do and how we do it. The level of distraction today, combined with stuff we hate to do, makes a bad recipe for getting behind and off track.

Time management is a skill anyone can improve on.  Get some help and have a heart to heart with yourself.  Be more disciplined about this. Downsize, simplify and streamline wherever you can. I did this a few years ago and it has become a very effective and important thing I do annually.

How Can I Improve My Brand, Marketing and Networking?

Look at and review your brand visuals and messaging,  how you are marketing yourself and how you are blending your face to face and online networking activities. Are you getting out and meeting people in person whenever you can?  In person connectivity is still the most important activity we invest in. Quality relationships can only thrive by regular, purposeful connectivity, on all mediums. Make sure you update all your social media platforms especially LinkedIn.

What Am I Really Proud Of Right Now?

Taking inventory is not always about what’s wrong or needs improvement. It’s also about the things we accomplished in spite of odds or challenges.

Be proud of yourself for things you have achieved and accomplished both personally and professionally and use that to motivate and propel you forward. Our experiences can be great starting points for networking conversations.

What Are 5 Intentions You Have for the Coming Year?

Intentions are the fluid visions and goals of what we want to happen in our lives.

Make a realistic list of five intentions you have and want to happen in the coming year. Prepare yourself, fine tune your execution plan and be ready for things to happen, cause they will if you are strategic, serious and consistent.  Set, plan, prepare, point and go!

From The Handwriting on The Wall (Who Moved My Cheese):

  • Change happens
  • Anticipate change
  • Monitor change
  • Adapt to change quickly
  • Change
  • Enjoy change
  • Be ready to change quickly again and again

What are things you can do to end a year strong and start a new one stronger?

2017 Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “7 Questions Can Help You Succeed in the New Year” was first published on Small Business Trends