Why Christmas is the perfect time for an end-of-year review

Growth and strategy

30 November 2017

December is the time when many of us sit back and contemplate the past year. It’s a universal year-end pastime – think of the countless TV review shows and articles about what’s happened in the last twelve months.

Why not carry out your own business review of the year this Christmas? Yes, you may want to kick back with a tray of mince pies, but with clients, customers and colleagues taking time off, it gives you some breathing space to take stock.

Income and outgoings

Start by looking at your annual profit and loss, which will provide a clear indication of how your business is performing. If anything concerns you, investigate further. It’s an excellent opportunity to give your business expenditure a thorough health check. With the tax return deadline of 31 January looming, be ahead of the game by knowing your figures now.

Year-on-year figures

How did the last twelve months compare with previous years? If 2017 didn’t perform as well as 2016, dig a little deeper and find out why. It may be something obvious (emergency building work) or external factors (the weak pound), or something you have more control over, such as advertising.


As well as their total spend, look more closely at your customer base. If you offer a service (building, gardening, hairdressing), it’s easy to tell whether you retained, lost or gained clients. Try to pinpoint the cause (loss could be increased competition, gain could be improved marketing). How does your customer database or email subscriber list compare with this time last year?

Website performance

Tools such as Google Analytics give great insight into online customers and website performance. Investigate stats such as visitors to your site, and look at your conversion rates. If you’ve run online advertising campaigns, check out your best performing keywords, and prune any adverts that aren’t working.


Christmas is not the ideal time to carry out staff reviews. However, January is, so start planning them now. Look at your staffing budget: was it significantly lower or higher than previous years? Look back at rotas: did they work well, or were there periods when you were over or under-staffed?

Make the most of your time off and have a good, close look at your business and you'll be ready to make some new year's resolutions. (And you can still eat the mince pies – just try not to drop crumbs on your ledgers...)