Just as an employee might perform a self-evaluation before a performance review, a small business owner can conduct a self-assessment of his own performance and that of his business. A self-evaluation is designed to help you take an honest look at what you have accomplished in a specific time period and what you need to do to improve performance and productivity moving forward. Ending on a high note is a way to harness a positive and optimistic outlook moving forward.

Outline Assessment Criteria

Decide what you want to weigh or assess as part of your evaluation. You might opt to measure pre-established goals against outcomes or rate yourself and your business on core competencies. Consider evaluation categories like expansion of market share, increased sales, new product launches, employee training programs or customer service initiatives. Develop a written form to help you with the process and include space to highlight major achievements, significant challenges and goals for the coming year.

Be Honest

There’s no sense in conducting a self assessment if you aren’t honest. Resist the urge to overinflate achievements or overlook challenges. Be quantitative where possible, rather than general. This helps you make educated determinations about what you need to do to improve performance and productivity in the coming year. Be specific in what went wrong, what went right and the catalysts behind both triumphs and failures. Do your soul-searching and critical analysis in the middle of the assessment so you can end on a positive note.

Set New Goals

Use your self-evaluation process to set new goals for the coming year. You may opt to build on previous or current successes or chart new ground. Be specific in stating what you want to do, how you will do and how you will gauge your success. Consider including input from staffers and managers for this part of the evaluation, particularly if they will be instrumental in helping you achieve collective business goals.

Save the Best for Last

After you weigh and assess the hard facts and figures, evaluate your business and personal performance on intangibles. Consider the satisfaction of your employees or the positive impact your company has on the local community. Take stock of programs and initiatives you introduced to help employees develop professionally, continue their educations or advance in the company. Consider the reputation your business has for quality products or services. This approach helps you refocus on why you became a small business owner in the first place.