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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

9 ways to evaluate mid-year business successes and pain points

These crucial factors will contribute to the organization’s ability to thrive and make the necessary improvements, year after year.

9 ways to evaluate mid-year business successes and pain points
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

Taking a mid-year stock of your company’s latest goals, accomplishments and challenges in the industry is a typical process that every leader and their team must engage in to enable the establishment to survive.

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But why wait until mid-year? Planning ahead of the assessment season to find innovative solutions that will push your company’s growth—whether you’re experiencing an economic downturn or the business is booming—is the best way to move forward!

Here are nine items that leaders from Fast Company Executive Board always like to consider in their efforts to help the company continue to meet its objectives.

1. ACCURATE BUSINESS FORECAST

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For us, the most important factor is the accuracy and forward tracking of the business forecast. Quarterly—and every day, honestly—we’re looking at the over or under of how we’re performing against the financial forecast. It helps us understand what projects need to be altered and prioritized to continue towards pacing. – Jan Bednar, ShipMonk

2. EXPANDING COST FACTORS

When the company is expanding, I always look at expanding costs. It’s easy when you’re hiring quickly, clients are all paying, and everything is working to let costs expand disproportionately to your growth. It’s a balancing act, and you don’t want to stifle growth by constraining spending, but you need to be aware of exposure when there’s a contraction. – Austin Vance, Focused Labs

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3. DATA ANALYSIS 

It’s essential to have an honest, fact-driven review of your current status and see what your real chances of achieving your end-of-year goals are. Be frank, analyze data, and don’t let the assessment be clouded by feelings and perceptions. Use your historical performance as a sanity check and create the plans according to your current performance, not your expected one. – Bruno Guicardi, CI&T

4. REASSESSMENT OF COMPANY GOALS

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As you do your mid-year check on company goals, one of the most crucial factors to consider is what has changed both internally and externally. Company goals are interdependent on its environment, and sometimes it makes sense to rethink your goals to fit the current situation. If you don’t check in on your goals, you may drive to a destination that will not serve you or your customers. – Tony Martignetti, Inspired Purpose Coaching

5. MARKED ACHIEVEMENTS

I make a list of goals at the beginning of the year. At the mid-year point, I revisit that list and look to see how many I’ve achieved and what’s left on the list. If I am well ahead of the game, I may add to the list. – Laura Kerbyson, Laura Kerbyson Design Company

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6. KPI MEASUREMENTS

Defining and aligning to your top-level company objectives are critically important. As you work through your and your organization’s operating cadence, it’s important to manage those weekly or monthly KPIs. At the midway point, organizations need to ensure those original objectives are still the right KPI metrics and pivot if needed. Focus on finishing, then starting a set of new objectives – Craig Jones, StarCompliance

7. BUSINESS OBSTACLES

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If you’ve spent too much of Q1 and Q2 down in the weeds, then mid-year is the time to get altitude. Move up a level so you can really look at the big picture. Doing this will help you take stock of where you and your team are moving the dial on projects and where you’re running into obstacles. It can also help you make important decisions about talent management and set goals for the coming months. – Camille Preston, AIM Leadership, LLC

8. PROFIT MARGIN

We only have three goals, anything more than that is a to-do list. Our goals are our franchisee’s success, our revenue, and our profits. We don’t wait until the mid-year to look at our goals, because they are always top-of-mind, and we are constantly looking at our lead measures to determine what other actions need to be taken to achieve our goals. – Ray Titus, United Franchise Group

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9. YEARLY BUDGET

Anchor the discussion on the financial plan for the year and if possible beyond one year as well as the KPIs cascaded to achieve the plan. At that point, the mid-year check-in is about the team’s ability to hit the plan given the data, trends, and shifting conditions. The outcome of the mid-year should be to confirm or adjust the plan and to confirm or adjust the KPIs to execute the plan. – Paola Doebel, Ensono

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