Every year around the anniversary of our business, I write about what we have learned and how we will grow in the next year. This is a way for me to reflect and plan for the future as well as hopefully inspire someone along the way. I thought this year’s story was going to be harder to write, but it turns out when I looked through my journal, I had actually wrote several versions of the same piece. This is where timing the edits and publishing come into play… you can giggle here – I did.
I believe this was one of the hardest years of business because it was the most productive. We accomplished so much in a short period of time because of a clear plan and vision. However, even with a clear plan, I managed to add to it and launch a Print Edition (which was never in the plan for my company). Some of our audience wanted it, so we delivered it. When you’re growing a community, you can’t leave people out – so our team is working to engage people through their preferred medium. I am very proud of the success my team has had this year, and I am usually very good about celebrating the little wins along the way. This year at each stage of growth, I don’t think I was fully aware of the moments of accomplishment. I think this is mostly because we are not finished… As I look back trying to understand the joy of accomplishment, I have realized it feels different this year because as we work through the tasks there is more and more to do. This is a good thing! I recently posted “It takes Hustle” on Instagram. I truly believe in order to accomplish our goals, we must adapt with our customers and the industry. Focusing on creating, innovating, and taking advantage of opportunities as we see them.
As Heidi Zak said in Southwest Magazine, “Disruption fuels business solutions.” This is true at every stage of our company. Change is a valued part of our business. We want our work to make people think differently. Whether it is implementing social media into their marketing plans or helping others learn about innovative technologies to help their plant run more efficiently, we are about changing minds and influencing others to build a better future. We have big goals. One personal goal I have is to be an encouragement for women in industry, marketers, engineers, operators, and entrepreneurs. I see that the needle is moving, but there is still much to do.
I also became aware of new threats this year. As my team grows, I am very protective of their work and the ideas we have cultivated together. As many of you face ‘copycats’, we too have threats who like to copy us. Though flattering, we must also take steps to protect our work.
As my fellow entrepreneurs understand, the plans may be in place but the tasks and personnel are ever changing.
Luckily, I have a great team. Sometimes I think they can read my mind! I have made it a point to build a team that believes in the mission of connecting the Industry, improving workforce, and building better systems. We also put our customers first. We do all we can to support the client. No matter if it was “in the plan”, we go above and beyond to make sure the client has the needed support to accomplish their goals.
It is our 7th year, and we will keep pushing for change. We will continue to push for change and happily create disruptive and innovating ways to drive our industry forward. You may be thinking… why do you think you are driving the industry forward? The answer is because I listen. I am actively studying the behaviors of people and how they engage with others, on and off line. Influencing by doing. Teaching by Learning. Studying by Researching. Growing by Listening.
Here’s a couple things I have learned that may help you in building better programs:
- People care about what others post about them and their companies.
- Engineers are active on social media and can be extremely effective once they understand the plan and purpose of the medium.
- Building a community is easy. Like-minded people want to be connected, but we often need a leader to encourage each other to participate.
- Be Genuine – Be You. There is only one ‘you’ and that is what makes you interesting.
- Most people will let you in if you show you care and can be trusted.
- You will have a favorite platform on social media. It will change as you change. I loved LinkedIn when I was first building my personal network. I still love it, but my new favorite is Instagram because I am focused on really understanding the end users’ needs. This can’t be found if I only talk with people in suits from 8-5.
- True relationships will last. I laugh when I think it may be like the 7th year itch people talk about with marriage. After 7 years, you will know if it’s a good relationship. Hopefully, you see we have changed with you and are still able to adapt and be helpful to our most faithful clients.
This reminds me of a TedTalk I have been living by for a couple years now.
- Face Your Fears – I believe I have done this for the most part.
- So what?! What’s the worst that can happen? Well, if you have ever launched something new, you know faith is a big part of it!
- This is my favorite and probably the one that helped me the most from the beginning – “If they don’t like you, they just don’t know you yet.”
So… I challenge you to get to know the person on the other side of the table. Whether you are an operator looking at an engineer or a man being managed by a confident woman. I challenge you to think… why do I not like their perspective? Is it just because you don’t understand? Take time to understand and build something great!
What have you been doing the past 7 years that you are most proud of? Please share! I want to hear from you!