What Story Do Your Numbers Tell You?

Every year I’ve done somewhat of a review of my business for the last year. Usually, it’s revolved around revenue, including my most profitable service or program revenue streams and my highest grossing clients. I also plan what programs I’m going to offer in the next 6-12 months, and plan my marketing and launches around that.

Smart business indeed.

Well, as the maximizer that I am, this year I put all of that together and added a few pieces.

Here’s what I have to say about doing the business review. Sometimes, you can be afraid to look at certain things in your business, either because you perceive failure or because you would rather hide your head in the sand.

I’m here to tell you that the numbers have a story to tell, and that story isn’t always a scary one, no matter what fear you might have about knowing the truth.

For example, last year, my revenue pretty much mirrored that of the previous year. At first glance, that does not look good. One of the pieces I added to my yearly review was to look at my success for the year. Well, that included my noting that I had shifted business direction somewhat drastically and almost completely removed one of my largest revenue sources, as it was not in alignment with my purpose.

Here is the real story the numbers told… services and programs that were more in line with what I wanted to offer actually kicked into high gear. Removing what looked to be my most profitable revenue stream did not actually hurt my business (which is why I had put that decision off for so long). So, my annual revenue being the same two years in a row – just that statement – does not tell the whole story.

So, what’s in my yearly review?

Actual revenue from the year before – All year, I track my income according to services, individual programs, and products. So, for the yearly review, I just have to run a simple report from my accounting program. (Yay for simple and easy!) I rank revenue according to largest income source to smallest. Along with the numbers, I also calculate the percentage, because sometimes seeing the numbers a different way tells a different story.

Projected revenue for the coming year – I took last year’s actual revenue and used that as a base for revenue goals for the coming year. Looking at the fact (the story) that one revenue stream was 55% of my entire services and programs, I decided that that was not smart business! One’s business should be more diversified so that if something happens, you don’t have all your eggs in one basket.

Top grossing clients – I ran another report to see who my top grossing clients were. This information can be helpful just to see what people buy, but the bigger reason is to bring in the Pareto Principle, where 20% of your efforts typically result in 80% of the outcome. So those top grossing clients are where you should be spending your efforts and time.

Successes – I am happy to report that my Successes section was much larger than my Challenges section. I can’t stress enough how important this particular piece of the Yearly Review is. I’ve noticed that I keep adding to it as I think of things. I love positive thinking!

Challenges – This section includes just the facts, ma’am. No judgment. This is another place to bring in the story, because sometimes stories are just facts – without the embellishment and perceptions we might attach to them. So, for example, I will go out on a limb and share with you that my subscriber numbers decreased during the year. That is just a fact. I’m not going to attach anxiety or fear of failure to that fact. AND I’m continuing to work on changing that fact.

Thoughts – This section is to note what comes up after reviewing the year, the numbers, and the stories. This includes things like feeling very happy with my new direction, as well as noting that last year my revenue streams were not diversified enough.

Notes for the coming year’s planning – This section is a work in progress. Right now, it includes some broad thoughts, like “I’m hoping that the new schedule I’ve implemented will help me get bigger projects done.” This kind of note may be perfect, or I’ll adjust as I go through the year.

Focus for the coming year – Again, like the Notes section above, this section could be a bit vague. I’m happy to share with you that my three foci are focus (no pun intended), self-care, and financial abundance.

What is the story that your numbers (and review) tell you?

Want to create powerful content that meets your market’s needs? Of course, you do! Because when you write from your soul, you connect more deeply and successfully with potential clients and your community.