Transcript: How to End Your Year Well: Doing an End of Year Review


Megan Martin 0:03
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of talking Small Business Megan here and I am super pumped to talk about this very timely topic. You know, now that it’s December, everybody is going to be looking towards next year thinking about their business for 2022. And the goals and the plans that they want to go after. And who better to talk about goal setting and planning and reviewing and all of the planning world then the queen of the calendars herself, Kat Schmoyer.

Kat Schmoyer 0:39
No pressure.

Megan Martin 0:41
Well, you keep putting me in the hot seat. So it’s your turn to be in the hot seat. Oh, god. Um, yeah. So today, we’re going to talk about ending your year well, and what that means. I feel like, you know, in December if people just jump to the next year, right, they jump to like the goals and the plans and the ideas and the things that they want to crush next year. But it’s, we want to say Hold up, wait a second, slow your roll, we need to pause before we jump to 22. Let’s end 2021. Well, let’s do that. So, cat, tell me, how do we do this? How do we how do we end a year? Well, even though like our hearts and our minds in all of the world tells us we need to look towards the next year.

Kat Schmoyer 1:29
Yeah. So I actually think ending your year well, and like working through some sort of end of year review process is the first step in starting to plan for the next year. You can’t know exactly where you want to be if you don’t assess what’s just happened. I am also willing to bet that if you really sit down and look at some concrete things in your business right now in December, you’re going to see some differences from the previous December like you’re just you’re going to start to see like how things have changed or shifted or evolved. And it’s just really helpful to take a look back before we start to look forward. It’s like not the sexy thing to do, because everybody just wants to like jump to 2022. And like, here’s my 37 goals for the year. And like all of these crazy things that I actually don’t even think you should do anyway. But we’ll talk about that in another episode. I just it’s really helpful to like take that intentional time and assess, like what worked and what didn’t in the current year, so that you really feel like you can step into the next, knowing what realistic goals are going to be the most helpful and powerful for your business.

Megan Martin 2:38
Okay, so tell us how do we go about this process of reviewing? What do we review when we sit down from a year basis? Because I know in July, we did an episode about quarterly planning and reviewing from a quarterly basis. So I would love to hear from you. With this concept of reviewing the last year. What does that look like?

Kat Schmoyer 2:57
Yeah, so I have a whole actually the whole end of year review like worksheet. So we’ll make sure we link it like in the bio for you guys. Because I know that you know, when you’re sitting down, you’re like, Okay, today’s maybe my like end of year review day. But then you’re like, Well, what do I do? Like? What does this look like? Do I just start with January and like work my way through? What questions do I ask? So I have a whole worksheet that I’ll link below, it’s got like 30 Some questions to just really help you evaluate a couple of different key areas in your year, as you review. Some of those areas are time. So looking back at like, what was my physical time like this year? Did you feel overwhelmed with all that was on your plate? Did you feel like you had seasons of hustle? Not seasons of hustle? Did you feel like it was balanced? Well, like just physically look at the time and I literally will like pull up my Google Calendar and like start in January and just kind of look through and like refresh my memory. Like what did happen. And I tend to because I’m so task oriented, you guys, usually that’s a good one for me personally, because I’m like, Man, I did a lot like a lot happen. Like it’s like a good like pep talk for myself of like, oh, I actually did get like some things done. So time is a good component to review when you’re doing your interview review. Money is another vital component of your end of year review. And we’ve talked a lot about that on the podcast before of just making revenue driving decisions. So when you’re ending your year, you want to look at how did I end money wise? How was my profit loss? Like what does my revenue look like? Like what can I start to expect for next year? How much did you pay yourself like some of those questions that you just want to assess and even though money can make us feel a little bit achy, y’all you have to look at it because your goals need to be directly related to your money. So money is a whole section when you’re doing end of year review as well. I also like to review customer or client review depending on if you’re a digital product, physical product or service base. And so I am in the world Should I talk you guys through some questions to ask, but Meghan and I both have done this in our businesses in the past where we do like an end of year survey, like, hey, like, let’s survey our customers. And let’s see, like, what they liked what they didn’t like, what do they want to see more of like, that’s a great part of your interview review to like, literally push back at your client base and say, Hey, I love that you’re here, I love the ER, my email list, I love that you follow me on Instagram, however, you’re asking these questions, and then getting really great data. So that when you jump to setting the goals for 2022, you know what your people want, you know what your people don’t want, you know what your people are asking you. So having that customer client, part of the end of your review is also really, really helpful. Another part of the interview review is the CEO review. So that’s a little bit more heartfelt, it’s a little more about you, what’s working, what’s not working for you, as you are assessing the dreams that you have the ways that the business is evolving, and just how you’re feeling like Are you happy in the role that you’re playing in your business. And if you’re not happy, then that was a great time to figure out like how we can change that. Because end of year, beginning of the next feels like a fresh start. So doing that CEO review at the end of the year, is also a really great key component of just overall interview review process.

Megan Martin 6:23
I love how you break it down in these sections. And I’m going to put you in the hot seat and ask you this question. What if you do what if you do your financial review your money review and you do your CEO review and you decide that you’re not really happy? And also your numbers aren’t really that great? What do you do? Yeah, definitely reevaluate like what you’re doing in your business as a whole.

Kat Schmoyer 6:45
So if you’re not happy, revenue wise, so I’m assuming if you’re not happy, revenue wise, it’s probably because you’re either not making enough or you didn’t hit the goals that you had. And then if you’re just not happy in general, clearly, something’s broken in the business as a whole, that needs to be adjusted. So is there an audience problem? Is there a product or a service problem? So I would dig even deeper as to why did the money not hit where you wanted it? And then why are you unhappy? I am very driven by money. And we’ve talked about this on the podcast before this, where Megan and I are very opposite. And just some of our goal setting I’m I, I set goals based on revenue, it’s actually just really helpful for me to see like that black and white numbers. So I tend to answer questions in an unhappy way if my money is bad, because I’m so driven by revenue, which is a whole other heart thing, like I work through. I work through it, y’all. But I think that’s also something to look at you like, Are you only unhappy because money is down? Or is there a way to like get money up? And then that will help the happiness meter? Or is there just heart things that you need to work through? On the happiness meter of Why are you so unhappy? Building this suppose a dream business?

Megan Martin 8:04
Well, and I think that’s interesting to talk about, because what if you are happy? If you do this review, and you are happy? I think it’s, it’ll be interesting to hear your perspective on like, Okay, what if we end the year? Well, we are happy, and everybody else in the world, this is like my storyline, everybody else in the world is telling me I need to set goals for next year I need to grow, or else I’m dying. You know, I feel like there’s that business quote, If you’re not growing, you’re dying or something like that, right. And I would also just want to plug in here, like if you do this review, and you find you are happy and you’re making enough, or you’re hitting your number that you want to hit like, it doesn’t mean that you need to turn around and make this gigantic plan for what’s next. Maybe you could just move forward and focus on trying to repeat the process,

Kat Schmoyer 8:51
you know, right? Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that there is something to be said for just setting a solid foundation. So if you’re looking at certain numbers, like maybe it’s like one specific revenue stream, or maybe it’s all of the number like you’re like, I’m just I’m really happy. Maybe it’s a little bit lower than what like the industry quote, unquote, like tells me it needs to be. But if you’re genuinely happy, I think it boils down to like, what do you and your family needs. So if you and your family, like if there’s no friction there, if it’s like, hey, the business can keep bringing in this same amount of revenue, year in and year out, and like our family is great, our family’s needs are met and like we don’t need to worry, then don’t listen to what the rest of the industry says. You keep setting the goals that you know you and your family need. It’s where the friction comes into play where if you aren’t happy, but the business isn’t quite hitting the family’s money need. That’s when there needs to be okay. I know you’re really happy and I know you love what you’re doing. But you also really want to leave your nine to five are you really want to bring your husband full time or you really want to be able to do X, Y and Z in the family life. So we need to figure out another revenue stream or a way to start to scale the current streams whatever It is to make sure that there isn’t friction there.

Megan Martin 10:04
Cat, I would love to hear a little bit more about the customer or client survey process. And I feel like I’ve, I, you know, I’m a huge part of creative I’m like in the brain I like not that it’s my design. I mean, like, I’m always reading your emails, always doing all the things even though I’m like a speaker, and not necessarily attendee or whatever. But like, you always have great surveys is what I’m trying to get to. And I would love to hear a little bit of insight. I’m sure other people would love to know like, what should I ask my customers or my clients in order to get great feedback, not only on what happened next are this past season? But also maybe can I pepper in some like preview type questions to help prepare them for what might be coming next year?

Kat Schmoyer 10:47
Yeah, I think it’s so helpful to send out a survey. First and foremost, I know I mentioned it before, but I just gosh, I get so much insight for my people, when I send out a survey, and I’ve done this a couple of different ways. So like, the easiest thing to do is to make one survey that you’re just sending out to your entire list, or maybe you have like five questions and you know, you’re gonna post them on Insta story, because you feel like you get great engagement, when you do some sort of poll or like question box on your stories, or you could do both, you could do it to the list and to stories. So that’s the easiest thing is like, you know, one survey to everyone, you can break it down. And like I’ve done this with certain products that I have, where like people that purchase my calendars, I sent them something a little bit different, because I had some very specific questions that I just wanted to find out from this audience like they had purchased this product. So I knew they were interested. And now I wanted to know a little bit more. So I kind of looped it in as one. So I do think that can be really strategic for some of you guys that have a variety of different products or services. And you’re kind of trying to figure out where you want growth to happen or goals to happen within that product. But going back to like the quote unquote, easiest thing to do is like one survey for all, I don’t recommend, and I’d love for you to even weigh in on this part, man, I don’t recommend more than like eight questions, you want to keep it pretty short and sweet. You really want somebody to feel like they could open it up and complete it in like less than five minutes. I’m all about multiple choice like so they’re just again, quick. They can scan and like select as needed. But I always my favorite question to ask is an open ended and I say if we were sitting down for coffee, what would you ask me? And this question always floors me like sometimes they’re like off the wall. And like, you would want to know that from me. Like sometimes it’s like, kind of bizarre things in my mind. But if I get multiple of those, I’m like, Oh, more people like want this type of content, or like more people look at me and think this. And that can be really powerful, because we’re all content creators. And so we’re constantly thinking about what else do I need to provide for my people, either audience wise, or then moving into the product side of things, too.

Megan Martin 12:58
I absolutely agree on like length of survey, I wouldn’t do any more than like eight to 10 questions if someone opens a survey, and it’s like 50 questions. Even like 15, though, like, yeah, it feels super long, especially if there’s like paragraph answer. Boxes, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I don’t have time to sit here and write like a novel for you. You know, like, I love the idea of the multi choice. I also love to ask in my I do the open ended question. And I always get like wild responses that I never thought I would get. But also I love to do a question space where it’s not really a question. But it’s like, hey, if you’ve like, had a good experience in any way, shape, or form with my brand, whether that’s reading my blog, my emails, you know, purchasing my products, whatever it may be, like, I put a spot in there for testimonials. And I say, would you share a testimonial with me, and I have gotten great testimonials by doing that from like, even the perspective of if somebody is never purchased from me, but they’ve been a follower or a blog reader or whatever, like, you can use those testimonials in creative ways across your website or on social media. And, yeah, that has been super beneficial for me as a business owner to get testimonials that way and leave that testimonial really open ended for letting them to, to, to decide. Like what they are going to tell me, you know, yeah, and the other question that I’ve done as well as like, so I love how you talked about, you know, doing a survey helps you for when you are going to go to goal set to make sure that you’re doing something that your customers really want for next year. But I feel like most of us have some sort of like idea, or dream in mind that we’re like looking towards already creating and so you can like strategically create a question that’s going to lead somebody to that answer, right. So it’s like what kind of content do you want to see more from me and 21 or whatever, you could do a multiple choice or you could leave it open ended. Or you could position it like I’ve done in the past. For example, when I was heavily focusing more of my content on selling website templates, I knew I wanted to create a new different type of line of templates. But I wanted some a little bit of customer feedback. So I said, Okay, what what do you care most about when it comes to website templates? And that was a question that I strategically made the answers of that multiple choice helped me make a decision for how to make my my next website template line. So I feel like you can also do that strategically, in a way even if you’re not 100% sure how that goal is going to pan out yet?

Kat Schmoyer 15:40
Absolutely. Absolutely. And doing a survey, y’all, it’s not just for your actual paying customers. So I know some of you guys listening, like you might have a very small list because maybe you don’t sell digital products. And maybe you’re just starting to sell digital products. In your, you know, primarily service based still do a survey, like it’s just audience review, you don’t have to think about it as like customer or client review. Audience review. So asking, like what type of content do you enjoy hearing from me the most and do multiple choice again, like Megan said, not only does that help shorten it right? When someone’s glazing over the survey, it’s quick for them to hit it. But you are leading them, it’s the things that you want to talk about. But you’re also want to know which ones do they like most. And so make it a little bit more about your marketing and your content creation. versus thinking about the testimonial side of things, if you feel like it doesn’t fit with who is on your list, or who is following you on Instagram.

Megan Martin 16:40
Love it. Okay, I would love to shift gears for a second and ask you. What about timing? And all of this? So can you share a little bit about when is the best time to do the review? Is it? Do you attach it to your goal setting planning marathon? Or do you suggest maybe doing the review, and then pausing to reflect and then setting a space for goal setting, like tell us about that.

Kat Schmoyer 17:06
I like to do it first and then set time because of that client and customer part or audience part however you want to call it because you’re like, like, if you’re doing it on a marathon day, you’re not gonna have time to whip up a survey and send it out to everybody, you know, and then assess that survey, like that just feels like a lot. So typically, beginning of December is when I’m starting my end of year process. So maybe I’m, I’m tackling a couple of spots, like maybe I’m going to do like time, money and customers just so that I can like get like work through some of those questions, really be intentional about it and get that survey like ready to go. And then I’ll circle back in a week like after I know, I’ve sent out that survey, I’ve gotten some responses. Now I want to review what those say answer a couple of the other questions I have around customers and clients and then jump into like the CEO portion. So I kind of break it up. I’m not a big fan of the marathon day, just because I feel like there are some other moving pieces. And then after I’ve done that end of year process, then I do a day for 2022 or the next year’s you know, goal setting that can be in December, that can be in early January, like it doesn’t have to be by December 31. I feel like we put so much pressure on like, actually right now. But then we’re also trying to like take time off and you know, put up our auto office responders and spend time with our families, there’s so lot happening in December. So in some of the years past, I’ve spent early January focusing on 2022. Because end of December, it was reviewing the year, and now I’m jumping into the next. I

Megan Martin 18:41
love that. And I feel like it just needs to be said that the calendar is just a time. It’s just a construct, like now at this. And that’s the beauty of small business, like you can do your year goals in February or March if you want to like you don’t have to, you don’t have to follow the calendar year as corporations do. But okay, so I love that you mentioned like spacing those two things apart so that you do have time for that customer and client feedback portion of all of this. But can you give us some sort of like timeframe of how long we should expect or give ourselves to do this type of review? I know you said you kind of break it up. But are we talking like over a week period? Like what should somebody expect to put on their calendar for this review process?

Kat Schmoyer 19:26
I would maybe mark off to like two hour periods. Just getting like maybe next week you mark off like a two hour chunk to like get started. If you’ve never done it before, it might take you a little longer because you’re not used to the way that some of those questions are or maybe y’all maybe your QuickBooks is enough today, you know and so the money section you’re like alright, I got some work to do. I need to like get this up to date and I need to spend a little bit more time but I think blocking off like for one week block off two hours and then the week after block off another two hours and just see what happens.

Megan Martin 19:59
Well, and that’s also a great point of you know if things in the backend of your business aren’t organized in a professional way. With that, but I think it’s so smart to split these two things up the review and planning because maybe it takes you all month long to get things in your business teed up the way they need to be. So that way you can make smart decisions. And I think a lot of people are like, Oh, just do that in April, when tax time comes. Exactly, exactly. Don’t do that. Actually take the time right now to get your things in order. That way, you’re going to love yourself in April. But also now you can make smart decisions for the next year as opposed to like, just guessing.

Kat Schmoyer 20:47
Right? Well, like I said, In the beginning, goal setting is the sexy one, like goal setting is what everybody wants to do. I know, everyone but Megan, okay, everybody else wants to have she’s like, okay, Megan. But the majority of us want to go set, we’re excited. Like it’s goal planning day, I got my calendar, I got my sticky notes, I’ve got my power sheets, like all the things ready to go, like, let me figure out what next year is going to be. But if you don’t know where you are right now, you will set very unrealistic goals and then be defeated and disappointed. And that’s not the point. So I am a huge fan of like spend the time now. And the year really well. So that when you do have that day, it really is the most fun day, because you’ve got everything teed up, just like you said, and you got it all lined up, so that those goals are intentional.

Megan Martin 21:40
Well, and so maybe maybe you shouldn’t schedule your goal planning day, like maybe you should schedule your review day on your calendar or your view time period. And then you need to see how much work is going to be involved in making sure your business is teed up and ready to go for goal setting. And so it almost seems like that would be a better way to go about goal setting. It’s like wait till you know everything is is like organized well so that you can make those those decisions and then schedule your goal setting

Kat Schmoyer 22:12
make it like a flex day like I know some friends of ours, you know, in the industry loves to like get the hotel room and like go away for that day. So maybe you have like a flex time and you’re like okay, early January sometime in here. That’s what I want to be able to like really get out of my house and like assess what’s happening. So end of your review is almost like the homework. It’s the prep work that needs to happen. You need to know the money, you need to know customer client, you need to have like done that CEO review. So like have that homework done, so that when you sit down for goals, you really can’t move forward.

Megan Martin 22:43
I love it. To wrap this up cat I would love to hear for somebody listening, who is looking forward towards next year and goal setting and all the things how can you encourage them right here right now to end the year well

Kat Schmoyer 22:59
just end it well, like a lot of guys really set some time on your calendar, like you won’t make the time unless you carve out the time. And that’s just the the busyness of this season this particular month of the year. And so I highly, highly encourage you look at your calendar right now and carve out some time to work through the end of year review and hopefully the worksheet and there’ll be links below it makes it really helpful to just work through those questions like you don’t have to sit there and stare at your business and think like what do I review first? Like I’m going to walk you through step by step and then just carve out the time to actually do it.

Megan Martin 23:38
I love it. Well friends I hope you have a wonderful and have review session yourself. Make sure to grab it Kats worksheet underneath this podcast. It’s linked below and yeah, don’t jump to 22 yet, do a review sit down put it on your calendar and we hope and I know cats worksheet is going to be helpful but I hope this episode has been helpful for you. And we cannot wait to catch you in the next conversation.

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