Write an informal annual report for your business this year

Publicly traded companies and nonprofit organizations write and distribute annual reports to stakeholders and interested parties, but those are not the kinds I am talking about here.

I’m talking about an informal annual report for you — or your business.  It could be a blog post or an internal document.  It’s simply a chronicle of achievements and activities from the past year.  It can be a document you either develop on your own, or in conjunction with your partners and staff.  This “annual report” is a tool for looking at how far you have come, and for deciding what goals to set in the future.

Do you take the time to do that now?  If not, why not try it this year?  Your effort does not have to be elaborate.   I have written an “annual report” and published them on this blog every year that I have been in business.  The 2011 report will be published next week.  It’s my way of celebrating the progress of my company, and being transparent about our business operations.  Also, all year long, I know I am going to write this annual report.  So I am very good at taking pictures and documenting our successes throughout the year.

How to Write Your “Annual Report”

There is no right or wrong way to write your company annual report for the purposes I am talking about.  The only wrong way would be not to write and save anything at all.  It really is fun and a feel-good activity.  Here is how I do it.

Client Work

I review the past year’s projects and billings.  I look for patterns, then I report on our business activities.  I talk about the kinds of projects we worked on, and I mention current and new clients.

Acknowledgements and Thanks

The “annual report” is a perfect way to say thank you to all the people who keep your business going: from employees to partners, from vendors to referrers.  And don’t forget to thank your clients, of course!  We also thank our supporters in social media — including our blog subscribers, video viewers, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers.  Expressing gratitude should be a regular part of your marketing outreach and business operations.

Pro Bono Work, Donations, Mentoring, Community Service, Committee Work, and Corporate Volunteerism

You will probably be surprised, as I am each year, at how much you contribute to your profession and your community.  Document that service!  It’s important.

Professional Affiliations and Development

Staying connected and current is good business hygiene.  Those benefits trickle down to our clients.  So we make a point of identifying how we kept our skills sharp and networked.

Speaking Engagements, Recognition, and Awards

Crow a little bit at the end of the year.  I do!  You’re entitled!  All year long, I know I am going to mention recognition and speaking engagements in my annual report, and it keeps me motivated to make my best effort.

Add whatever feels right to you.  And if you can publish it, so much the better!  It keeps you accountable for making your best effort.  Good luck, and let me know if you decide to try it this year.

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on December 18, 2011, in Annual Reports, small business marketing tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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