September 02, 2023
Boost your business with a 30-minute weekly review
If you're like many creative business owners, your days are probably a swirling mix of client calls, artistic creation, invoicing, and, if you're lucky, a few minutes of downtime to catch your breath. I've been there—wading through the seemingly endless heap of stuff to do and not enough time to do it.
Today, I want to share a simple ritual that helped my business tremendously and made dealing with all the tasks and to-dos more manageable—a weekly review.
I found that by taking a little time each week to take inventory of results-based priorities, I was able to take my business from something that robbed me of energy to something that filled me with it.
Here's a look at how you can fast-track your success (both within your business and personal life) with a 30-minute weekly review.
Setting yourself up for success with a weekly review
For most creative businesses, your work and reputation can put clients on the books, but if you don't have a strategic eye on your financials and operations, you're setting yourself up for feast-or-famine syndrome.
And trust me—you don't want to leave your company's success up to random referrals, spray-and-pray marketing techniques, cosmic alignments, or "good vibes."
You need to manage, measure, review, and repeat. But where do you start?
Introducing SMART goals
Before you can put any time into a weekly review, you must know what to focus on. It's imperative to not only set goals but also measure their performance.
That's where SMART goals come in. SMART stands for:
SMART goals aren't just a clever acronym—they're a proven productivity methodology. They help you convert your strategies into time-bound tasks with measurable outcomes.
For instance, if one of your actionable insights is to increase customer engagement, your SMART goal could be to "increase the click-through rate of my home page by 15% in the next four weeks."
A few other actionable insights to track with SMART goals include:
- Client retention
- Revenue tracking
- Project profitability
- Product conversion rate
- Social platform engagement
These are just off the top of my head, but the list goes on and on. Pick the metrics that matter to you and your business and review them weekly.
The main takeaway: An actionable weekly review is only as good as the metrics it aims to improve and the SMART goals you set around it.
But there's another thing you need to do that is just as important as metrics and goals—being honest about your output.
Honesty is the best policy
Here's a scenario you might have encountered: It's the end of the week, and you're reviewing everything you achieved. The to-dos are all checked off, and you're feeling good. You feel productive. But were you?
Just because you thought you were "busy" all week doesn't mean you completed anything that actually propelled your broader business objectives.
When starting out with weekly reviews, being honest with yourself about what got done is essential. Start with these three questions:
- Did you simply "check things off a list," or did you make progress in your business?
- Did you prioritize things that benefit you or your clients? Or did you prioritize things you knew were easy to check off a list?
- Did you make things that help you make money? Or did you spend time on vanity tasks that don't move the needle?
Over time, you'll learn to set more reasonable SMART goals, but until then, hold yourself accountable by doing an honest review of your accomplishments and work towards setting the bar higher in the coming week.
By doing so, you'll find your unique threshold for getting things done and set more realistic goals in the future that actually move things forward.
Time management strategies for effective reviews
Although weekly reviews are incredibly important, nobody wants them to feel like a second job. Finding a way to weave these into your workweek is the best way to ensure they get done.
Maybe it's the Pomodoro Technique (my favorite), where you work in 25-minute bursts, or it's time-blocking specific hours for deep dives into your metrics. It doesn't really matter which strategy you pick—the point is that a well-managed review should be both thorough and efficient. That's the sweet spot you're aiming for.
Once you have a few weeks of reviews under your belt, you'll start to see the results. By the end of a few months, Warren Buffet would be proud of the compounding effects you'll achieve.
Weekly reviews can help achieve a better work-life balance
Let's face it: For many of us, our businesses take up a significant chunk of our lives. Work-life balance is something entrepreneurs often struggle with.
Weekly reviews can help provide the balance you're looking for by establishing common threads that improve both your professional and personal life.
For instance, if you're reviewing your goals and notice that you'd have to increase your workload significantly to achieve them, maybe it's time to revisit your delegation strategies.
You set a SMART goal to find a VA to help, which will likely yield dividends in other aspects of your life. Delegation becomes more natural, freeing you up to do other things. Win, win.
Is your weekly review helping? Tracking ROI and growth measurements
We've walked through some examples of setting up your weekly review, and hopefully, they encourage you to take action. But, as with most things in business, ROI is the yardstick that helps you gauge the real result of your weekly review.
Sure, you're feeling all zen and strategic post-review, but how is it trickling down to actual impact?
Ask yourself questions like:
- Am I scoring new clients?
- Has my engagement rate on social shot up?
- Am I meeting my revenue targets?
Once you have answers to your questions, track them in Notion or a spreadsheet so you can watch them over time. It might help to make a dedicated section in your review template labeled "ROI and Growth Metrics"—this ensures that you don't merely glance at these indicators but actively integrate them into your strategic planning.
Tracking metrics like the ones above is a factual testament to your review's efficacy. Even softer metrics like reduced stress levels or increased morale—though not directly quantifiable—can indirectly indicate a positive ROI.
The difference between success and stagnation often comes down to management and measurement in a business world that's always changing.
A weekly review isn't a luxury; it's a necessity that allows you to assess and re-align your goals and tactics on a regular basis. By adopting a weekly review ritual that employs SMART goals and specific metrics, you move from simply reacting to circumstances to strategically planning for progress.
The data you gather isn't just numbers on a spreadsheet; it's the feedback you need to iterate, improve, and evolve. This practice won't just improve your business; it can also bring a much-needed sense of order and balance to your personal life.
If you want to navigate the complexities of running a creative business, make the weekly review a non-negotiable part of your schedule.
"The best way to predict your future is to create it." - Peter Drucker
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the biggest advantage of having a structured weekly review?
A structured weekly review serves as your business' health check-up. It's where you evaluate the vitals—revenue, client relationships, employee performance—and get ahead of problems before they escalate. It brings clarity, focus, and intentionality to your operations.
Can a weekly review actually impact my personal life as well?
Absolutely. A weekly review isn't just a business-centric activity. It's a 360-degree life assessment tool. By dedicating time to review both your professional and personal goals, you build better habits, maintain work-life balance, and grow holistically.
How can I ensure that the time I spend on weekly reviews is actually productive?
The key lies in actionable insights. Your review should conclude with a list of specific actions for the upcoming week, aligned with both short-term and long-term objectives. If you find yourself with actionable takeaways you can implement immediately, you know the review was worthwhile.
Can weekly reviews replace quarterly or annual reviews?
No, but they complement each other. Think of weekly reviews as your tactical play-by-play that feeds into the broader strategy you outline in quarterly or annual reviews. Consistent weekly reviews offer real-time data that can make your quarterly or annual planning sessions more accurate and effective.