It’s the start of a new year, and many of us are busy looking to the future, making resolutions, and planning for the coming months. But, we should also take time to look back, reflect on the past year, evaluate our successes and challenges, and learn from both our wins and our losses.
While it’s helpful to engage in this kind of reflection on a regular basis, we know that’s not always possible. If you haven’t yet performed a comprehensive review of your business, there’s no better time than the start of the new year to do so. Here are a few areas to review, questions to ask yourself, and what you can learn from each one.
Your Overall Sales
Looking back at your overall sales—and specifically when those sales happened—can help you better forecast your sales in the coming year. And that allows you to plan for everything from seasonal hiring to the amount of shipping supplies you buy.
Your Income vs Expenses
The more you know about these numbers, the better you’re able to make small adjustments to your business to help increase your net income. Check out the Performance tab in Seller Hub to evaluate your margins and other vital stats, and read this article on which numbers matter most.
Your inventory is the backbone of your business, and without the right inventory (and the right amount of it) you’ll struggle to reach your goals. Taking a critical look at what you’re selling, how you’re sourcing it, and where you’re storing it can help you identify any potential problems that could affect your bottom line.
Your Buyer Feedback
Feedback from buyers can point to problems that might not be obvious at first. If you consistently receive the same feedback—good or bad—consider it a message about what buyers care about most. For example, if several buyers have received broken items, it may be time to rethink your packing. Or, if multiple buyers tell you they love your one-day handling time, you may want to offer it on all your listings.
Your Pricing and Your Competition
Buyers know they have lots of options when it comes to purchasing items, both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. It’s important for sellers to be aware of what their competition is doing—and how they can be a buyer’s first choice.
Your Business Operations
If you think you’ll need seasonal help next year, mark your calendar now for next year’s hiring date, and create a training manual for the new person so you can onboard them quickly. If your eBay business is taking over your house, consider creating a dedicated workspace now, so that you can stay organized during busy times.
Social media can be a powerful tool when used correctly—and a big waste of time if not. If you’re going to invest your time in promoting your business, make sure it’s time well spent and that you are seeing a benefit from your efforts. Look at your most popular social media posts and see what commonalities they have and how you can recreate any successes. If you have business pages on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, you’ll have access to analytics that can tell you which posts were most popular, and what time you should post.
We know this checklist is a big one, and it’s not one you have to tackle all at once. Spending just an hour or two looking at the past year can provide valuable insight into your business, and help you formulate a plan for the coming year.
Are you performing any year-end reviews for your business? Tell us in the comments.
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