December is almost upon us and the new year is around the corner. How did your doula business do? Do you take time each year to reflect upon your business and take stock of what worked and what didn't? Do you compare your earnings from last year with previous years to assess how much you've grown? Do you take the information you've gathered to help you create a game plan for the new year? If you do all these things, that's fantastic! If you don't know where to start, read on. I'll give you a nudge in the right direction.
Elements of a Year-End Review for Your Doula Business
In order to know where you're going, you have to look at where you have been. Taking time to look at how your business did over the current year will help you to assess whether you met goals, and it will help when you sit down to set goals for the following year. Here are six elements of a year-end review that will help you form a clear picture of how you did last year.
Crunch the Numbers – How Many Clients?
Recording the number of clients you had for the past three years will help you see how did and how your business is growing.
Here is an example of a three-year summary for a birth doula:
The following is an example of a three-year summary for a childbirth educator:
Get a Reality Check – Your Bottom Line
How well did you track your business’ income and expenses? If you have not kept good records, now is the perfect time to gather all your receipts, bank statements and deposit records. Take the time now, before you dive into the new year, to see how your business did this year. Here’s a sample spreadsheet with last year’s performance:
Reflect and Record Your Wins
If you have a list of goals for the current year, take a look at them and see if you met them. Write a narrative that touches upon the following:
- Big goals or milestones you successfully achieved
- Business skills you learned or mastered
- Certifications you earned
- Training workshops you attended
- Awards or recognition you received
- How do the above achievements relate to your overall business strategy?
- What is your biggest accomplishment?
Evaluate Your Contribution to the Birth Community
Were you involved in your area's birth community this year? Write about groups you were involved with, organizations you volunteered at, and ways you contributed to your professional community.
Assess Your Strengths and Talents
This is no time to be modest. Think about the strengths and talents that help drive your success, and list 3-4 of them. For each item, provide specific examples of how you applied each one to your business this year. When possible, use feedback from your clients and colleagues in your examples. Identify any strength or talent that is unique when compared to your direct competitors.
Reveal Your Areas of Improvement and Opportunity
We could all brush up on or learn a new skill. What two areas did you intentionally work on this year? What opportunities arose? Provide specific examples and include feedback from business peers and clients when applicable. Identify any area that you want to continue to work on next year.
A Gift for You to Help You Review and Plan
A few years ago, a fellow Hypnobabies instructor, Vanessa Manz, shared a planning spreadsheet with me that covered the above points. I made some adjustments and added a couple of worksheets to the Excel file, and I am providing a blank copy of it for you to download and use for your own business. It includes a Year-in-Review, a worksheet to enter last year’s income and expenses, a Business Development Plan for this year, and a worksheet to forecast this year’s income and expenses. This document will be most helpful if you have experience using spreadsheets, since there are some cells that automatically calculate, and you might want to adapt the spreadsheets for your own use. Click on the box below to claim your copy.
Additional Areas to Examine as You Review Last Year's Business Success
The Year in Review file that I shared covers the basic areas of your business, namely financial and operational. It asks you to review your income streams for this year from your birth business and a take close look at what worked and didn't work. You may also want to make adjustments of your own to include:
- Additional Income Streams – Other products and services you offer and your earnings or number of sales/clients
- Social Media Metrics - Number of followers and level of engagement, and how it increased over the course of the year
- Website Analytics – Metrics from Google Analytics such as the number of visitors to your website, Ad Word campaign costs and effectiveness, primary keywords that led people to your site, or the origin of referrals (organic search, paid search, social media channels).
- Ponder Upon Lessons Learned - Not everything you attempt will be a success. Perhaps a service you offer is no longer in demand, or you tried a new marketing campaign that didn’t draw in many leads. Write about what did not work, along with what you learned from those experiences.
Planning Next Year's Success for Your Doula Business
Take the time to reflect upon your business successes of the year. It will help you as you prepare for next one, your best yet. Next time, I’ll talk about how you can plan effectively for next year.
If you already completed a review of your year in business, did you have any information that I missed? If you are planning to do a review for your business, can you think of anything else to include? Come and visit the Inspired Birth Pros Facebook Group to add your comments.