December 16, 2011
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office (or are currently doing that while also starting/running your food business on the side) then you’re well aware of the annual performance review time period. It’s that time of year, usually when the office halls are decked with holiday cheer, where you’re hauled into your supervisor’s office and held accountable for all you did and didn’t achieve in the past year. Even if you’ve been a stellar employee, performance reviews often get your heart thudding as you anticipate the worst.
Just because you’ve left the so-called confines of corporate life to strike out as an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you should abandon everything corporate and performance reviews are one of those things you might consider keeping. Granted, when it’s just you and…you…running your business then performance reviews may not seem that worrisome but the reality is that taking some time to honestly critique your performance in the past year will help you become a better entrepreneur. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about business goals here (those will come later!) but instead the personal goals that you as the “employee” of the business had for yourself and whether you measured up or not.
The truth of the matter is that as entrepreneurs we’re often doing everything all at once which means it’s easy for one of two things to happen:
- Important long-range planning can get neglected in lieu of putting out the immediate fires;
- In that long list of things you try to accomplish every day, those tasks you like least (in my case, sales!) gets pushed to the bottom while you focus on the things you enjoy doing or are good at.
Unfortunately, to build a strong company we have to force ourselves to be better at the things we’re weaker in or plan to hire someone who can take over those tasks for us. So this is where the performance review comes into play. Sitting down and honestly assessing how you performed for your company will give you an idea of areas that you personally need to grow and learn or may help provide real clarity for you that you do need to hire someone to fill a void. While you’re mulling over your performance, go ahead and set specific goals for yourself such as “make five sales calls per week” that you can hold yourself accountable for next year. Making performance reviews a habit will not only help you grow into a better entrepreneur, but it will also help lay some groundwork for any current or future employees you hire.
It should be noted that while performance reviews are a holdover from your former corporate life, as an entrepreneur there’s no need to put on a suit and go stand in a cubicle while doing your performance review. It’s perfectly acceptable to do it on a beach with an umbrella drink in your hand. Or at the very least, in your pjs with a bar of high-quality (handcrafted!) chocolate!