First, I want to extend my gratitude to the clients we have worked with through the years. To ALL of you, I say THANK YOU! I take what we do and how we serve our clients very personally, and I am proud to call you my friends, partners and colleagues.
At the end of a decade in business, I have learned a few things about owning and running a business. In honor of the last 10 years, here are 10 of those:
1) Always remember the “why” of your business or organization. It’s easy to get distracted, side-tracked or worried as you face challenges and opportunities, but taking a moment to remember WHY you do what you do will keep you centered and focused as you make decisions.
2) Fill your team with people who care about your why! Skills, talent and knowledge are important; equally important are passion, enthusiasm and dedication.
3) Stay focused on your target market. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. It’s o.k. if everyone doesn’t buy from you – you don’t want everyone (really)!
4) Don’t sweat the natural ebbs and flows. Recessions happen. So do recoveries. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted or deterred by negative chatter or temporary setbacks.
5) Take time to work ON your business…not just in it. And make your own business a client: for example, if you own a spa, take time for spa services; if you own a PR/Marketing company, take time to market yourself; if you are a plumber, take time to fix your own pipes. The cobbler would have been more successful if his children had worn shoes!
6) Be consistent – in your service, communication, invoicing, branding, messaging…everything.
7) It’s o.k. to look around at what others are doing, but just long enough to learn. Don’t get distracted by comparisons, and don’t imitate anyone. Learn from others, but be yourself.
8) When it comes to new ventures, new approaches and new ideas, avoid the extremes of 1) analysis paralysis and 2) randomly throwing spaghetti against the wall hoping that something will stick. The sweet spot is in the middle with smart risks, strategic planning, steady progress and consistent efforts.
9) Always say thank you.
10) Have fun! Working hard and having fun are not mutually exclusive as you run and grow your business.
Bonus lesson: always proofread! Good writing, grammar and spelling build trust and credibility.
I also want to thank my team members over the years, specifically: Natalie (my original right-hand person, who relocated to Nashville several years ago) and current team members Coleen, Laura and Jessi. Being part of a PR and Communications business can be unpredictable, fast-paced and full of deadlines. You meet these challenges with good humor, good ideas and a dedication to a job well done that is not easy to find.
Happy New Year and Many Successes to All of You in 2014 and Beyond!