This is our final post for 2014. We'll be back to weekly postings on 5 January.

The entire Word Factory team joins me in wishing you a wonderful close of the year, and a healthy and productive 2015.

White Christmas at Shortlea

Maximizing the Close of the Year

I always take a few minutes out of the pre-holiday flurry to do a quick retrospective of the year -- how many assignments did we complete (for instance, we produced 263 pieces of content for Staples), what processes worked for us (a few Agile techniques had a huge impact) and what do we need to improve (would like to do better on time management on the consulting side), how did we do managing our margins. I don't do a fancy dashboard, though you certainly could. But I do go back through our financial reports, project backlog and process notes to glean the most valuable information to take into the next year. I also check off my strategy map to see how I did on goals for myself and the business.

I'm not a continuous improvement guru or anything, but I do think it's important to look this stuff over so I understand what contributed to our sustainability, what kept us from being more successful, and to develop action steps for the New Year to address both. I also take a few minutes to thank the folks who helped us achieve over the year and to pop a cork in honor of the accomplishments I'm proudest of.

And this year, I'm sending a 3-question survey to our vendors and freelance writers and designers to find out what they liked most about working with us and what was most frustrating. I'm interested in adding their perspectives to my own. We'll see what happens.

All this probably seems like standard operating procedure if you work in a corporation. But for small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers, this kind of look back isn't necessarily a regular part of the operation. I highly recommend it (even if you only do it internally).

Take a few minutes this week to look back on your year and set one positive intention for 2015.

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