What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become by achieving your goals.
2017 was the year where we learned the most (so far). We had set the bar high coming out of 2016 and we organized our entire workflow to hit our numbers, work with the right people, hire the right team members, and (most importantly) give ourselves enough time to work through our landmarks. Here are a few things we picked up on this year that helped us expand our business and kept us focused on our goals:
1. Respond to every message and comment on social media
At the top 2017, we promised to spend more time on our socials and actually engage with our audience and our customers. Most of our staff are pretty introverted and value their privacy, but we decided 2017 would be the year to jump into the design community via our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media interaction has helped us find great clients, understand our customer's brand and ethos, hire team members, and connect us into the global conversation of design and photography. The demand for media companies to produce content and document the whole process (in order to produce even more meaningful content) is fueled by apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Even if you have the best content, if you're not posting on your socials, no one will be able to find you or understand your vision. This is why we respond to everyone who messages us, comments, and "@s" us. Whether we like it or not, the methods in which we communicate are constantly changing – tomorrow, Twitter could roll out a feature that changes the entire landscape of social media as we know it, therefore it is imperative to stay on top of your socials because it is your reputation and a channel of communication. PS – Be sure to follow us on Instagram: @creativesqueeze.
2. Just Ask
So many businesses are crippled by the fear of asking. Here's the obvious truth: if you're in sales, you're already making yourself look like a fool. There is no way of making yourself look better as you're trying to sell your service or product– you just have to ask everyone you want to work with if they're interested, and when 95% of people and/or businesses say "no", you make adjustments so that they will eventually say "yes". This is something we picked up early on in 2017 as we were figuring out how we could work with top tier industry creatives and professionals. It literally just came down to the simple action of asking whether or not people needed help and/or wanted to work with us. For us, it was about really showcasing our current clientele on our website and socials, so when we people looked us up, they could see who we've worked with and how much attention to detail we put into every single project. Most of our customers know we are featured on SquareSpace as specialists, so they'll assume that they too can do what we do for websites, given the variety of tools SquareSpace offers. This was one of the biggest reasons why clients were saying "no" when we approached them, but after we started showcasing our work, people began to understand what makes us "specialists" and why we might stand out from someone that is just getting acquainted with SquareSpace. You can check out our SquareSpace Specialist page here.
3. Timing is Practical
This lesson proved crucial as we hired more staff and began to take on more projects. Creative Squeeze is a pretty small team, so any change within our infrastructure can really dictate our workflow and the quality of work we do. At the end of 2016, we were a bit worried because the work wasn't coming in at a consistent rate, especially during the holiday season. Looking back, it made sense that we buckled down and planned out our goals for 2017 – that moment really set up the framework for the company we are today. We learned that Practical Goals + Practical Timing actually go hand in hand – taking on projects too soon (or finishing them too late) can prove detrimental if your team isn't ready take on the work load. In the same context, setting goals that are too ambitious (or not ambitious enough) will leave your business stagnant because you will be spending a disproportionate amount of time underperforming toward that goal. For 2018, we are looking to streamline our clientele and marketing efforts so we can deliver the best website and branding projects we are capable of. To us, it's not always about having the most clients– it's about having great quality work, outstanding customer service, and innovative branding strategies.
These three elements stem from the way we organize our goals into yearly milestones. However, we're not bound to this process – we constantly want to push ourselves to start planning immediately by having the foresight to adjust to the climate of our industry. In the same way, we encourage fellow entrepreneurs to start planning today, while everyone starts to leave work early and close up shop during the new year, get a head start so when 2018 arrives you'll be more than prepared.