Preparing for the new year, I spent some time reflecting on how 2019 was a year of tremendous learning and growth for our company. We had some really high highs – and some low points too – but ultimately, everything we experienced was pushing us in the right direction all along.
In 2019 we set out to grow our company’s revenue by 50%. It was no easy task, but having read Built to Sell by John Warrillow, we had a guide for thinking big. We used some of Warrillow’s concepts to help us think about what specifically needed to be checked off our list to become a company that might be ready for sale 10 years down the road. This was a radically different way of thinking for me as an owner, and this “thinking bigger” mentality helped us shape the 4 main things we accomplished in 2019 that enabled us to reach our growth goal.
Accomplishment #1: Streamlined Tasks Through Processes and Documentation
Our proposal process seemed like a one-off each time, making each pitch to a prospective client cumbersome and time-consuming. To alleviate the repetitive reinvention of the wheel, we developed a system that took our clients from discovery to proposal in a one-week timeframe. We also tightened up the tools we use to keep track of our customers’ marketing activities and created a program that tracks and reports on results every 90 days. In doing so, we streamlined how we do business, ensuring we are checking all the boxes for each client every time.
Accomplishment #2: Brought Specialists on Board to Round Out Our Team
This past year we brought on another marketing strategist, who complements my own expertise and was also a former CMO. Together, we craft our clients’ marketing plans, providing a deeper prospective and more robust final product. We also identified gaps in our offerings and brought on the right people to fill them, including a second designer, social media specialist, new web designer, and writers. With specialists in each area, our clients are tapping into a brain trust of marketing expertise that gives them results.
Accomplishment #3: Productized Our Main Offering to Provide the Best Solution Each Time
Owners of small and mid-size companies often come to us looking for an email campaign, a new website, or a new logo. These things are tactics a company might employ as part of their marketing program, but without the marketing plan in place first, we found ourselves spending unnecessary time trying to piece everything together in order to deliver those tactics.
So, in 2019 we decided that EVERYTHING must start with a plan. Once we crafted the foundation – the company’s value proposition, differentiation, target audience, competitive analysis, and ideal channels – we had a clear means each time by which to build and execute outreach.
Our plans are also developed from an owner’s perspective. We work with each client as if we were developing a plan for our own company. We ask the hard questions, help owners work through their limiting beliefs about business growth, provide them with data to make good decisions, and support them every step of the way.
Accomplishment #4: Learned from Our Mistakes
Just because we had the people, product, and process on the right path didn’t mean there weren’t any setbacks. We had various situations present themselves during the year, causing us to re-evaluate and get back on track.
Here’s a peek behind the curtain of a couple of situations where we learned from our mistakes:
In one instance, we didn’t stick to our proposal process which ended up confusing a prospective client. This tricky situation proved that the process is king and reminded us to trust it. Every time. It also provides more predictability at the outset, and creates a better experience for our clients.
In another instance we said yes to implementing various marketing tactics for a customer without a marketing plan in place first, which resulted in no measurable results and ultimately, a lost customer account. Going forward, we start everything with a plan—that provides the best direction every step of the way.
As we go into this new year, our mission remains crystal clear: to help small businesses flourish. We are still our customers’ virtual marketing team, but as business owners ourselves, we apply the same owner’s perspective and care to your business and your success by finding the best ways to maximize your spending and bring you efficiencies.
By tackling the bigger business questions and then revealing the keys that will bring more business your way, you can rest assured that the right actions are being executed for measurable results. We’re excited to see what this year has in store as we continue to grow and help more businesses thrive!