It’s Time to Review Your 2021 in Business!

Year in Review

Don’t look now, but 2021 is almost over. 2022 is nearly here! And as we approach the end of the year, now is the perfect time to look back at what happened in your business over that time. That gives you a chance to not only reflect on what has happened, but to position yourself for the future. If you understand where you are and where you want to go, you have the best chance to chart the right course to get there. 

So what should you actually do for a year-end review for your business? We have a few different steps you should take to get a comprehensive look at the past 12 months. 

Review Previous Goals 

The best place to start is with your plans from the beginning of the year. Did you come up with a list of goals you had for 2021? You may have written out specific milestones and achievements you were expecting for this year. Or if you didn’t write them down formally then, you can always put yourself back in your mindset from then: what did you expect to do? 

As you look back at those goals, how did they turn out? Which goals did you accomplish, and how did those achievements fit into the big picture for your business this year? 

At the same time, you should also look at which goals you didn’t accomplish. What happened in those instances? Why did you not achieve them? Are they still goals you have moving forward for next year or beyond? Alternatively, they might no longer be relevant, or they might not longer fit into your vision. Deciding what to do with past goals that have not been crossed off yet gives you a head start on your plan for the next year, too, in addition to an honest assessment of what happened in 2021. 


Of course, your plans from a year ago only tell part of the story. A lot of things can happen over the course of the year, whether you plan them or not!  

As part of your review of the year in your business, consider looking at the things that transpired. Where did you generate wins over the course of the past 12 months? What we mean by that is, what are the things that you did well, or things that went the right way and worked out? 

Sometimes these will be big picture strategic questions. You might have launched into a new market, or introduced a new product or service offering. Or it could be that you delivered a great customer experience, and really focused on reaching and maintaining a high standard. And don’t forget to take pride in the quality of your work: sometimes the win is knowing that you delivered a job well done, that will reflect well on your brand moving forward. 

On the flip side, you can also look at where things didn’t work out. What did you try that didn’t work? Where did you fall short? How can you treat those as opportunities to improve in the future? 


Another way to look at what has happened in your business this past year is to think about what has changed. Go back to the beginning of the year. What were you doing? Where were you focusing your time? 

Now fast forward to the present. What are the things you are doing now, that you were not doing then? What are the things you’re spending your time on now, compared to then? Are there some items that have grown in importance and time commitment? Are there items that were not on the list at all, and have now been added? 

At the same time, there will be some changes the opposite direction. What are things that you have stopped doing, or that you are doing less of?  

And as you review the way your business has changed, and your time management has changed, consider how these changes happened. Were they conscious, strategic choices? And are they changes you want to continue, or even lean into, or do you want to take a step back now if you’re seeing things you didn’t realize or that you can see are not helping the business? 


Finally, take an honest look at your company’s culture, values, and mission. How have they changed – either explicitly or unconsciously – in the past year? Has their been any drift away from your original mission? If so, then you either need to reorient yourself and the business, or adjust the mission to encompass the current trajectory. 

Is your company still upholding the values you believe in? Are there additional values you would like to shine through? Think about this from the perspective of both employees and customers. Whether someone is inside the company or only dealing with it as an outsider, those values should be clear, and reflected in the entire experience. 

Your yearly review isn’t just a fun exercise in nostalgia or walking down memory lane; it’s an opportunity to situate your business by understanding where you’ve been, where you want to go, and how you can get there. We wish you luck in the rest of 2021! 


GoSmallBiz offers small business consulting, CEO advice, and an extensive online learning center for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The mission of is simple – to improve the lives of its customers and give them a better chance at success. The GoSmallBiz business specialists have hundreds of years of combined business experience in both private and public companies, and represent all major industries and professions, including CPAs and specialists in finance, sales, marketing, HR, IT, and operations.