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Closing Out the Year, Celebrate Your Gains

BrainTrust Director of Business Development, Morgan Lee Stanley, recently led our team through our annual planning day, starting with a SWOT analysis. We reviewed the data from our last planning meeting, going over the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats as we’d identified them last go-round. This exercise was encouraging and eye-opening. We were pleasantly surprised to see that our strengths were still in play, with a few new added; we’d eliminated some of the weaknesses but had new awareness of others; we’d vetted and released some of the opportunities, acted on others and identified new ones; ridded ourselves of a few perceived threats … and recognized a new one. What a year!

The SWOT analysis is a standard business practice, and very helpful for women business owners. And there’s a dozen reasons we all need to do them, but this year I was struck by something I’d never noticed before: the way a SWOT can reveal your progress as a woman entrepreneur.

Perhaps the reason for this renewed appreciation for SWOT was because my friend John Sharpe had recommended the book Gap vs. Gain. If you’re a woman entrepreneur, you’ve gotta’ read this. I realized that I often live in the “gap” where, no matter how much we achieve as women in business and how much progress we make, I lament the gap between our goals and our “actuals.” It’s the classic glass-half-empty syndrome. I focus on the negative instead of celebrating how far we’ve come. And that practice robs me of joy and appreciation for our team and our amazing progress.

For example, we grew revenue of our woman-owned company by 159% last year. What CEO isn’t thrilled with 159% growth? Uh … this one … but only before I read Gap vs. Gain. Our plan was for 300%. And before I read this book, when I reviewed the numbers, I would have gotten caught up in the gap … the huge gap between 159 and 300. Instead of appreciating the AMAZING growth, I would be lamenting the damn gap. Sigh.

Instead, this past year we were able to reflect on some remarkable progress. In one year, we revamped our client onboarding process for our peer-membership group, discovered two new vibrant revenue streams, created systems and processes to set us up for the future, re-launched our client portal, had our first annual BrainTrust LIVE event with 250 attendees, celebrated loudly as 11 of our members were finalists in the Nashville Entrepreneur Center NEXT Awards, SCREAMED AND SHOUTED as the two biggest honors of the annual gala went to our clients (still celebrating Meg Epstein and Amy Green!); and most importantly, watched as many of our clients experienced explosive growth!!

The point is this: There is so much gain to celebrate and honor. As we close out this year and make plans for the next year, take a breather. Do your own SWOT and bask in the gain … the progress you made. Because you did that. And you and your team deserve to find joy in what you accomplished. Look how far you’ve come … and then plan how you’re going to tackle those 2023 goals with joy and ferocity!

BrainTrust is a peer-to-peer membership organization for women business owners. Still in its infancy, the BrainTrust process is yielding amazing results, with members reporting growth at 5X the rate of non-members. If you would like to know more about BrainTrust, we invite you to our next Lowdown event where you will learn how and why the process works and what it can do for your business.

Learn more about BrainTrust, attend a Lowdown.

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