Samantha Pratt Lile

How To Create an Effective End of Year Business Review

How To Create an Effective End of Year Business ReviewHow To Create an Effective End of Year Business Review
“If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” ~Maya Angelou

With the end of 2019 rapidly approaching, business leaders have likely started to plan for the year ahead. But to know where you’re going, it’s important to look at where you’ve been.

It’s a fair assessment that entrepreneurs are naturally more prone to plan for their futures than to evaluate their pasts. Year-end business reviews allow them to jump-start the new year with solutions to prior issues and strategies for continued growth moving forward.

Think of an effective end of year business review as an executive summary for the entire year. What were the key takeaways? The presentation should include high-level information such as an evaluation of goals, achievements, rates of growth, obstacles and setbacks, future goals and financial data. While it might be easier to simply list all of the year-end parameters in a single, lengthy report, that type of presentation is unlikely to impress audiences — regardless of whether they're clients, employees, management or investors.

It goes without saying that the business review will be created for naught if nobody pays attention to it. Instead, it's important to create a visually appealing presentation to not only grab the audience's attention, but to retain it, too. Beautiful.ai’s free PowerPoint alternative makes creating business presentations easy so they're always on-brand and professional. Themes can be customized with specific fonts and color palettes, as well as company logos, so each slide automatically mirrors the others.

Of course, even an impressive and cohesive visual presentation can bore audiences if it doesn't include valuable information. Traditional PowerPoint presentations filled to the brim with numbers, statistics and bullet points can put even interested audiences to sleep. So, avoid death by PowerPoint and make your annual business review “beautiful” by including the following key elements.

Download the free, customizable End of Year Business Review Template here.

Company Overview

A high-quality annual business review should feature an overarching summary reflecting the big picture for the company. The business summary might highlight the brand’s founder, co-founders, business leaders and other decision makers, while also summarizing the company’s product offerings, including any digital editions, intellectual property rights and international business ventures. This is also a good place to talk about the company's mission, values, and overall culture. It sets the stage (literally and figuratively) for the information to come later in the presentation.

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2019 Business Goals

Before the year’s goals can be evaluated, audiences need to know what they were. The second portion of the year-end business review should summarize the year’s goals. The list of goals can be obtained from the prior year’s annual review (if that's available), but keep in mind they may have been modified or updated throughout the past 12 months. Explain what each goal was, and why it was chosen (its importance), before you dive in to the results.

Beautiful.ai’s free presentation software makes creating a list of goals simple. Just add a common header to a carousel slide, and add each goal to its own sub-section.

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Accomplishment of Goals

It's important to celebrate a company’s successes. Once you've mapped out what the year's goals were, you can talk about if and how you accomplished them. No annual business review could possibly be complete without featuring the year’s highlight reel. What goals were accomplished, and what were the missed opportunities, in the previous 12 months? What can be learned from the company’s successes?

Likewise, what challenges did the company face, and what can be learned from missed opportunities? To keep audiences engaged, we animated the bulleted lists, so the items automatically appear in succession.

We recommend trying our animated bullet points, or the timeline or diagram templates to tell your story. Simply enter your content and our Smart Slides will do the rest.

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Key Performance Indicators and Results

Numbers tell a big part of a company’s story, and they are a vital piece of the annual business review puzzle. After all, how can anyone ascertain a company’s performance without analyzing some type of data? This is where key performance indicators (KPIs) and results come in to play.

Here you will present data on the company’s performance in the form of financial statements, rates of growth and retention, customer satisfaction metrics and any other data that supports the business' story over the past year. KPIs are an easy way to assess performance throughout the year, so you should know exactly where you stand when it comes time for the end of year review.

Creating infographics using Beautiful.ai’s templates makes data visualization simple. Just add your data into our Smart Slides and watch it automatically align into timelines, bar graphs, pie charts and much more. Not only will audiences stay more engaged, but the data will be more digestible.

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Opportunities for Next Year

Once your annual business review has covered the company’s performance over the course of 2019, it’s time to start paving a pathway through 2020. A round-up of upcoming company goals is a key element to any actionable year-end review. Objectives from the prior year might remain in place, if they weren't met, or you may shift your goals based on accomplishments, failures, or changing market conditions.

By sharing your new objectives, you're holding your team accountable to work towards them. To that end, once you've defined your goals for the upcoming year, it's time to explain how you and your team plan to achieve them. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

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2020 Execution

It’s not enough to simply create a list of goals for the upcoming year. You must also share how those goals will be met. An effective end-of-year business review should include a plan of execution for the upcoming year. What processes will be put in place to meet next year’s goals? What budget will be allocated to implement these plans, what team members or resources are required, and what's the estimated timeline?

Of course, even the best-laid plans do tend to go awry. Part of planning the execution of goals is anticipating what obstacles might be encountered along the way, and planning how to overcome those hurdles should they occur. 

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When using Beautiful.ai’s presentation software, there’s no reason a company’s business review should ever become just another cookie-cutter report. The end presentation will always be clean, concise and attractive to audiences regardless of your design skills.

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha is an independent journalist, editor, blogger and content manager. Examples of her published work can be found at sites including the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Buzzfeed.