Three Key Areas of Your Business to Examine as You Plan for the Year Ahead

Usually, we focus our energy on looking toward and thinking about the future. Makes sense. However, sometimes we miss the value of taking a look back. A new year is a great time to step out of the business and review. This is especially true right now, after three years of disruption. A lot has happened. Changes were made and some initiatives were shelved or discarded. Now that things have settled down, for the most part, a look back can provide insights into how to proceed.

Let’s break it down.

1. Offerings

Look back over the past three years and examine all of your products and/or services. Were any new offerings created? What was profitable, and what wasn’t? What, if any, new needs arose?

Asking these questions will help inform what to keep, and what to let go. It can also generate ideas for new offerings. A lot of construction businesses have added consulting as a service. They will evaluate a job and provide a blueprint for how to approach the project. The client pays for the blueprint so it becomes their property. They can shop it or they can continue with the current provider. Typically, the current provider will put the payment toward the job if they are awarded with the business. In this case, the contractor can invest time in proposals without fear of wasting time and never getting the business.

Looking back at experiences with prospects and clients will give you the kind of information you need to plan and execute successfully in the new year.

2. Talent

So much has changed in the past couple of years when it comes to employees. We discovered some could work from home successfully. We also learned that there are various ways people prefer to work. And those people have re-evaluated their priorities. The pandemic put things in perspective for a lot of people.

Add to that the newer generations of employees who value work/life balance and doing meaningful work over large salaries. They aren’t afraid to walk away. And with so many companies hiring, they believe they can find what they are looking for so they aren’t going to settle.

Looking back at how the company functioned over the past three years will tell you what worked, and what didn’t. Use that information along with what the company needs to be successful and you have the foundation for strategizing.

That strategy work should be done with the staff. Hold a brainstorming session to gather every idea possible. It doesn’t mean they will all be implemented. However, the only way to find the good ideas is to hear all the ideas. And when people play a role in the decision-making process they are more committed to the plan. You may find you have people who aren’t a good fit anymore. It could be they are in the wrong position or they don’t fit with the current culture. That’s okay. Together you can work to help them find their place.

Consider any professional development needs for your current staff. There is always value in helping your people hone their skills. Comparing where they are to where they’d like to be, and where you’d like them to be will help with this.

If there is a need to hire, understanding the characteristics of a successful employee will help you interview and onboard. Its less about the skill set and more about the cultural fit. Describe the character traits of your most successful people, and those who didn’t make it. These descriptions serve as guides when interviewing.

3. Client Acquisition

In every sales process, there are things that work well and others that don’t bring the desired results. Examine your current and past clients with an eye toward identifying where they came from. Follow the trail all the way to the beginning. Break them down between your best and worst clients. Go back through the past couple of years. You will discover patterns that you can use in your planning. Keep the patterns that have led to your top 20%. Stop engaging in the behaviors that have led to the worst clients!

If you find you currently have clients that fall in the bottom tier, consider letting them go. You know how to get more of the top-tier clients. The bad ones will only hold you down and get in the way of your growth. While they certainly provide revenue, they probably aren’t very profitable.

Periodic reviews are always valuable. Take advantage of the calendar and dig into a deep review of your business. Use the information you gather to strategize for the future. Information truly is power.

About the author: Diane Helbig is an international business and leadership change agent, author, award-winning speaker, podcast host and web TV channel host. As president of Helbig Enterprises (, she helps businesses and organizations operate more constructively and profitably. She can be reached via email at

About the Author

Diane Helbig
Diane Helbig is an international business and leadership change agent, author, award-winning speaker, radio show host and web TV channel host. As president of Seize This Day ( based in Cleveland, she helps businesses and organizations operate more constructively and profitably. She can be reached via email at

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