(Article by Laura Biewer, founder of Notary Symposium, owner of At Your Service Mobile Notary, and NNA Training Instructor).
WHY should you take the time to give yourself a review?
We are already approaching the halfway mark for 2018. If you were to evaluate your progress, where would you start? Did you establish goals to be measured during 2018? Have you made time to grow your business or are you spending all your time dashing from assignment to assignment? Developing a simple plan that holds you accountable can make a significant difference in seeing your business grow, and do so incrementally, so when you are a one-person office, you can keep pace with delivering more than you did before.
I know this is a long read, but in a nutshell, the best reasons for giving yourself a review are:
- To verify your choice in clients; are they profitable? Being busy doesn’t always equal being profitable.
- To set goals for identifying new lines of business and to prepare for what is trending now (Hybrid signings, esignings, using phone apps for assignments)
- To determine if you living up to your brand? Do you know what your brand is?
- To identify new skills you may need, to make your service more efficient, attractive to clients, and meet client objectives.
When we became our own boss (for those of us who are self-employed), who do we have to look over our shoulder? Evaluating our performance? Most small business owners view success only as profit — but that could be detrimental to your business. Are you listening and responding to customer feedback? Are you keeping pace with changes in your industry? Are you running your business efficiently? Are you working on your business or only in your business?
The 10 steps for a Self Review
(grade your own business performance)
Define what you had set out to achieve for the year (or relevant time period). All businesses focus on sales, so start at the bottom line and go beyond it. For example, were you looking to cut costs, deploy technology, or create processes that would make your business more efficient? Did you want to diversify or launch a new location? Did you commit to working more on your business than in it? Establish both quantitative and qualitative goals and objectives.
Examples of categories to evaluate could include productivity, knowledge growth, customer service, and new product and service offerings.
Start with your receipts and bookkeeping, but also include any relevant third-party analytics and data from any systems and software you use for your business. This could be anything from customer surveys and email marketing, to social media performance and product-specific sales data. Your data and feedback (step 4) will bring clarity to your evaluation categories.
Data may tell the main story, but people provide the color commentary. There’s nothing more powerful than hearing feedback from your customers, employees, and third-party vendors. You can create simple and free anonymous surveys using SurveyMonkey or QuestionPro and send them to people for feedback. You could collect “How did we do” paper surveys and cards by preparing them and leaving them with the signer to mail back.
This may be obvious, but put all of this information on paper or screen. The process will only work if you make yourself accountable to your review.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is a simple and smart way to distill all of your learnings and identify the implications for your business. An effective small business SWOT analysis will pose questions in each of the four categories to generate data that you can use to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats specific to your small business.
See where you stand and determine if you met your goals and objectives. Then you can rate your performance. How did you do? Compare this year to the prior year. Where do you come out?
Make a plan for how you’ll take your business to the next level. This may involve taking online courses, hiring consultants, attending conferences or even working with a business or life coach.
Based on your new strategy and the awareness of what you need to do going into the next year, set measurable quarterly milestones so you’ll be able to track your progress.
It’s not too late to get started.
Even if you only identify strategies during 2018 to implement in 2019 is great; getting started is what matters. Yes, developing the plan now for 2019 so it is all ready to implement in January could be one of your 2018 strategies!
Notary Symposium can help
Attending the Notary Symposium in November is another great strategy to prepare yourself for 2019. If you have not put it on your calendar yet, reserve the date, November 10, 2018 in Rancho Cordova. Symposium Topics such as:
- “Your Personal Safety on a Mobile Assignmen”
- “The alternative to waiting for that Snapdocs text”
- “How to start a mobile Livescan business”
- “What to do when the law doesn’t say!”
We have confirmed our new speakers and will announce them in our next email. In the meantime, I hope you find value in this topic and hope to see you at our Symposium event.
Always, at your service,
Laura J Biewer