Just finished writing our Business and Strategy Plan for 2008. It feels like only a short while ago I'd done that for 2007 - where has this year gone? Are we really in the last days of this year already?
It seems 2007 has sped away, looking back it's almost a blur.
On the other hand though I know that so many good things have been cramped in this year: so many encounters, so many discoveries, so many aha moments, so many sighs of happiness and contentment and even successes, it is hard to keep count. But I'll try anyway, because IMHO looking back gives you a new focus or perspective for next year.
January - apparently filled with books, books and more books. I must have written a dozen reviews on marketing and business advice books that month! The sentence that stills stands out for me came from George Silverman's book: "The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing"
“Shortening the decision cycle by making the decision easier for the prospect, by focussing on their particular decision roadblocks, bottlenecks, friction points and rough spots.
It’s one of those ideas that is simple, obvious, compelling and almost totally ignored, both in theory and practise”
February - THE most mind-boggling discovery I made this year happened in this month reading (yet) another book: Now Discover your strengths. It totally changed the way I thought about many things, including myself. One of the results of this profound discovery was a new (personal) blog: Stop Start, ponderings on growing and growing pains, as an outlet for my rather confused state of mind ;-)
"Mentally we grow also, sometimes fast, sometimes slow and sometimes we have growing pains. We have grown so fast we've grown out of our comfort zone. So we stop until the overstretched boundaries become our new comfort zone.
Then we start growing again.
We grow with a stop/start effect"
So, thanks once again Kent, for recommending the publications of the Gallup Organisation.
March - Deadlines and success in business stands out for this month, still think those two items are related somehow. It was also the month that a post from Liz stopped me in my tracks and had a proper rethink on a particular attitude I displayed.
"At that moment of realisation I deliberately counted the many blessings this person bestows upon me and I felt ashamed of wanting even more blessings.
Treat blessing with respect, be in awe of them.
Don't "count on" them, just count them and be grateful."
Thanks again Liz - it prevented me from overstepping the boundary.
April - even more deadlines that month. Preparations for and the executing of manning a stand at the largest Business-to-Business exhibition in Kent. Boy, were we busy! Not just of making sure everything was there and on time, but also busy with the focus of our business - trying to leave a legacy (warning, links to the longest post I ever wrote!).
My favourite sentence in this article must be "We are talking about legacies that make life better for those who come after us, not about our own fame or recognition, but about helping others."
If you translate that into a business vision, statement, hedge-hog concept it is that same part where 'making meaning' comes in.
May - the month of Sobcon07 with that unexpected but lovely phone call from both Liz and Kent, the month of tags and memes (I've counted 4!) plus new business focus, creating a mix between self-service restaurant and candle lit diner (eh, for wooden flooring?)
"Imagine one building containing two restaurants: one 'self-service' and one 'candle lit diner'. Both restaurants are served by the same kitchen.
Meaning: same quality products; differently presented, differently served and hence different total price.
At the moment our 'restaurant' has candle lit tables, but the sign outside states: self-service possible."
June - more discoveries through the publications of Gallup Organisation "Go put your strength to work". Revelations even, recognising that those tasks that play to your strengths/talents can make (business) life so much more rewarding in many unexpected ways.
"Because if you don't know as company what your strengths are (hedge-hog concept), and if you don't know how to play to those strengths constantly how on earth can you make clear (brag!) to your customers/clients/patrons/buyers what makes it worth buying from you, staying with you, even tooting your horn as ambassadors?"
Is was also the month that I dared to ask to help a dear friend to reach his own goals - another fine result of finding strength.
July - looking back it feels like it was a steep learning curve in regards of 'teaching' - something I'd never done before really. The result was a new blog for my friend and a new realisation of two-way-traffic. Oh, and a Gold Wheelbarrow award!
"He taught me most I know about running and growing a profitable business and his blog is on 'how to' - it is pretty easy with the right guidance, right tools and the right attitude to implementation - closing the Knowing-Doing Gap in the most simple and effective way.
Richard C can tell you, show you much more about this.
Give him my regards ;-)
August - the month of a quadruple birthday party and when I 'got babies' (blog-babies that is): the launch of our blog workshops - more teaching, more fun, more blogs! And this Kiss2 blog ended up on the W-list: a list of Outstanding Women Bloggers. How about that!
Personal Integrity: why a list - not for equality fighting, but to honour the women 1% outlaws of culture - and I'm with Tully - one of my turtle friends: "make it about brilliant women bloggers who deserve to be recognized. Recognized because they are brilliant and provide value to the blogging community - not because they aren’t men."
Ton, my ‘sparring’-partner, for willing to ‘go-it-together’
Mike, the real web-wizard.
Lesley, my confidante.
Pete for changing some of my ‘Double Dutch’ phrases into proper English ones.
Richard, friend and mentor. For giving me confidence, but mostly for keeping me sane during difficult times.
October - Kiss2 blog 1 year old! (The blog that ended up in the Top 100 of Business blogs, wow!) The start of the last quarter of our financial year and 'gearing' up the marketing efforts. One of those efforts really made the 'discovery' of January's Shortening the Decision Cycle very clear. Plus Steve Roesler started his amazing series on Creating Change and Smooth Transitions.
"The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination"
November - a truly amazing month business wise. Normally it starts to slow down, but not this time, oh no! Best every month (again, because September had been our best ever month, which then was taken over by October as best ever month!). Also introduced my
And I enrolled in the Teaching Sells course - if only I could find more time for that ;-)
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
December - what to tell about this month? That the sales kept on coming? That we started fully on the preparations for next year: 5th Anniversary of Wood You Like? (Stay tuned for many more posts on this subject, the cooperation between various great business persons made my life so easy in regards of this!). Still amazed by our ongoing strong business results I made a remark (after landing a large order through only phone and email contact, 1.5 hours work in total for me) that 'earned' me a slap on the wrist:
It's never 1.5 hours of work - you put in far more effort each month promoting your business than most people do in a year! So you deserve it. at £15 per hour, say, that has paid for a month's work!!
OK, I understand where he's coming from and I stand - happily - corrected. (Who wouldn't with a 66% growth in turnover?)
What I learned most from 2007 (which makes it my contribution to MZM-Group writing Project: blogapalooza too) is that learning, discovering and sharing knowledge/experiences creates such an grateful environment - not just business wise - it really creates a happier, complete and 'richer' life. Almost, or even more than, Givers Gain.
Why do we always reflect, reminisce on things gone by at the end of a year? To me it's taking stock of what I've learned and it gives me a clearer focus for next year - years.
And it is the time to acknowledge those who meant so much to me this year - in any which way:
Bring on 2008!