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  • Evaluate Your Business in 2013 Before Planning 2014

    Evaluate Year photo from ShutterstockAs the year comes to an end, entrepreneurs look ahead to the new year. However, before setting new goals, they’ll do an end of the year review which will give them insight into what worked and what didn’t to plan for 2014. Now is the time to take stock of your business, not just financially, but also overall to determine what strategies to keep, which to tweak and what to stop doing all together. Here are some tips to doing an end of the year evaluation:

    Finances

    Ultimately, running a business is about making a profit; however, reviewing your finances is more than figuring out how much you made and if you met your income goals. You’ll want to look at expenses, as well. Did it cost you more to do business this year? Were there unplanned expenses? Look at your overall financial picture compared to last year and your 2013 goals to assess how you did.

    Marketing

    Marketing can eat up time and money. If it’s not resulting in sales, it’s wasted time and money. Evaluate the marketing tactics you used over the last year to determine which resulted in sales. Don’t assume that marketing efforts that once worked will continue to work. Tracking marketing results is something you want to do on a regular basis throughout the year. At the end of the year, you should have an idea of the methods that are generating the best results and those that need to be tweaked or eliminated.

    Customer Service

    Evaluating customer service starts by determining if you met your brand promise. Did you deliver quality products or services to every customer? Even the best companies fall short sometimes in delivering on their brand promise, so the next part of assessing customer service is to review complaints and the action you took to address them. Were you responsive or dismissive? Were complaints resolved? Finally, the end of the year is also a good time to survey customers about their experiences doing business with you, as well as get feedback on what you can improve.

    Once you have an overall sense of how your business did in 2013, you can use the results of your assessment to set new goals and plan for 2014. Your evaluation should help you identify areas of strength to maximize, and areas of weakness that you’ll want to change or eliminate in 2014.

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    Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She speaks regularly on career-related topics including telecommuting and home business.

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