This is such a cliché, I know, but I simply cannot believe the year is halfway over. If you tend to get caught up in the day-to-day details of running your business, then a mid-year review is your opportunity to step back, reflect on the first half of the year, and refresh your focus for the second half.
Also, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t do any formal planning at the beginning of this year. Or if you’ve fallen behind on your goals and action plans. It’s still valuable to spend some time doing a mid-year review.
What should be included in a mid-year review?
In a mid-year review, you take time to reflect on the last six months of the year. You’ll put on your CEO hat and get some clarity around what has worked well and what hasn’t worked so well. Then you’ll make some decisions about the next phase of the year.
You can do a mid-year review at any time. It doesn’t have to be done in July. You might be operating your business on a fiscal year. Or you might want to do a mid-year review 6 months after you started your business. Don’t get stuck in the mindset that a mid-year review has to happen in the middle of the calendar year.
In a mid-year review, you’ll think about your goals and objectives for the year. If you did any formal business planning at the beginning of the year, then pull those plans out so that you can refer to them.
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Step 1: Set yourself up for success
The very first step is to set yourself up for success.
Start by blocking off some time on your calendar. An hour or two should be plenty. This does not have to be a long drawn-out process. I generally work in 45-minute time blocks, so I would schedule two time blocks to conduct my mid-year business review.
Next, eliminate any potential distractions. Close down any social media or email windows that you have open. Turn off notifications on your phone. You want to make sure that you can focus without interruptions.
And be prepared to take notes. You can do that in digital format using an app like Evernote or a Google doc. Or, if you prefer paper and pen, then a bullet journal or notebook will work just fine.
I also have a Mid-Year Review Worksheet that you can download below. It has prompts that will walk you through the process and space to capture your thoughts.
Step 2: Record goals & metrics
Start by gathering the goals that you set at the beginning of the year. If you didn’t set goals at the beginning of the year, that’s okay; you can still complete the rest of the process.
For each goal that you set, record where you are now and your “gap-to-goal.” That’s what you still need to accomplish in order to achieve the goal.
For example, if you set a goal to reach 5,000 email subscribers this year and you currently have 3,421, then your gap-to-goal is 1,579.
Do this for each major goal that you set at the first of the year OR that you want to achieve going forward.
You’ll also want to gather some key business metrics. These might include:
- Website pageviews and/or sessions
- Social media followers
- Email subscribers
Step 3: Review the last six months
In Step 2, you gathered data. In the step you’re going to review that data and start analyzing it and thinking about the last six months.
Start by reviewing your annual goals. Are you where you thought you would be? What goals are on-track? What needs more attention? Are there any goals that are no longer relevant and that should be removed?
Also think about your wins. Write them down. It’s important to capture information about what’s working in your business. Make note of any activities, projects, or products that are working well for you. You want to do more of that.
Also, see if you can identify where your new clients and subscribers are coming from. That will help you be more effective in your marketing and social media strategies.
Review your 2nd-quarter goals & action plans
I’m a big believer in 90-day business plans. The most successful periods of my life have been when I worked off an annual plan, broken down into 90 segments. Your mid-year business review can be a springboard into your 3rd-quarter action plan.
I normally advise people to do a quarterly business review as part of the 90-day planning process. However, you are doing a mid-year review, it can replace that step in your 90-day action plan.
Consider the same questions from above to review your 2nd-quarter goals. Did you accomplish all your quarterly goals? What did you miss? Why?
Step 4: Reflect on the last six months
What went well?
What feels good about the first half of the year? What’s working well? What are you proud of?
Don’t skip this section! In my corporate years, I found that people always want to jump right into the “what needs improvement” questions. But, it’s important to reflect on what’s working well. These are areas that you can leverage for future success.
I feel really good about the systems I’ve put in place the first half of the year. (System, btw, simply refers to the steps you take to complete a task – a process that can be replicated.) I’ve spent a lot of time the last few months putting systems in place, and then tweaking those systems to work better.
What didn’t go well?
What is stressing you out? Are there things that you continually procrastinate? Is this something you can stop doing altogether? Is there something else you can do instead? Or can you tweak your process to make it work better for you?
The main thing that hasn’t been working for me is focus. I feel like I’ve been going in a thousand different directions and making little progress in any of them.
Don’t forget about your feelings
The reflection step is a good place to consider your feelings. How do you feel about your business? Are you excited or discouraged?
How do you feel about your work-life balance? If you’re not feeling balanced, then you’ll want to take some steps to correct that. Especially if you are starting to feel burned out.
Make note of how you feel now. That way you can compare your feelings at the end of the year to see if anything has changed.
Step 5: Reset your focus and priorities
In the last step, you’ll reset your focus and reset your priorities. Go back over your answers to the previous questions. As a result of this review:
- What do you want to start doing?
- What do you want to stop doing?
- What do you want to continue doing?
This is a good place to think about habits and routines. Are there any new routines or systems that you want to implement in your business? Or new projects that you want to tackle?
Are there are bad habits that you would like to eliminate?
And, lastly, your mid-year review should reveal the projects and activities that form the backbone of your business. Those are things that you want to keep doing, so make note of them.
Next step: Take action
After you complete your mid-year review, take some action immediately on something that bubbled up. This can be something small; the purpose is to get you moving forward.
When I was doing my mid-year review, I realized that I was spending (wasting!) too much time on social media and checking email. So I installed a Chrome extension to limit the amount of time I spend on those activities. When I’ve used up the allotted time, the extension automatically locks me out. That’s a small step, but it immediately helped me be more focused.
A mid-year review shouldn’t just be a checkmark on your to-do list. If you conduct a review and then go back to “business as usual,” you will have wasted your time. Use this process as a jumping-off point for the next phase of the year or even thee next phase of your business.
When you take the time to reflect on the first six months of the year, you’ll come out with a refreshed focus on your goals and on the strategies that you need to implement to rock your year!
All you have to do is get started! Grab your free worksheet below: