Annual reviews for entrepreneurs? Heck yes. Bring on the feedback!
It’s great to be queen of your own business. We get to call the shots and conquer the world the way we want to!
But it’s not easy being queen… And sometimes I’ve found myself missing the built-in opportunities to receive feedback that would come with a more traditional gig.
Back when I worked in the corporate world, I knew that at least once a year, my annual evaluation would be an opportunity to hear from my boss about how I was doing. It may not have always been fun, but finding out the good, the bad, and/or the ugly was always helpful. I could analyze the past year, and begin to plan my continued growth and learning for the year ahead.
Unfortunately, the nature of going solo means that entrepreneurs don’t receive feedback like this automatically — but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to gather the same kind of input from the people we value and trust.
It’s completely a personal choice whose feedback we want to solicit. In my experience, it’s helpful to consider input from any of the following groups:
Even if you’re a one-woman show, you likely depend on other professionals to keep the wheels turning. Do you outsource certain tasks or services to freelancers, peers, or advisors? These industry pros can provide valuable feedback on your communication skills and style, your timeliness in setting and honoring deadlines, your management of their workflow, and your attention to detail. If you happen to have employees on your team, their feedback is just as important. Employees have a unique perspective on your work and your business and can provide you with insight into your skills as a manager of both people and projects.
Whomever you count as your family (spouse, kids, and anyone else in your set-up), it’s a good idea to seek feedback from these important people in your life. The time and energy you spend on your work as an entrepreneur likely affects your family members more directly than anyone else. Seek out their thoughts about your stress level and its effect on your health and happiness (as well as theirs). By getting their unique perspective, you may be able to find some of your blind spots. After all, no professional achievement is worth the damage that comes with neglecting an important personal relationship.
The people you serve through your business can be a rich source of feedback as you work to grow or refine your skills. What do your customers believe you do really well? What else would they like to see from you? What could you do to make their lives easier, and how can you best fulfill those needs? By seeking customer feedback, you show them that you value them more than their dollars and cents, making them more likely to stick close during lean times.
There’s no question: Whether you’re going it alone or heading up a team, running your own business is a constant exercise in professional and personal development. We need it to be able to accurately gauge our performance and identify ways to improve.
Seeking out feedback from the people you trust will help keep you and your business growing.
About Emily D. Tisdale, Founder & CEO
Meet the brains — and heart — behind LEAP for Women. Emily is LEAP’s guiding force, committed to supporting women entrepreneurs at every stage in their journey.
She loves LEAP because:
A resident of Indiana, Emily prides herself on being a transplanted Hoosier and enjoys watching Colts football and spending time with her husband and their two children.