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1. People are still the hardest part of business. We said goodbye to a couple individuals this year that I’ve always looked up to, and will always look up to. I know they’re better off following their passions, but it was still hard to let them go. It kept me up at night; I would think about it throughout the day, the thoughts of a changing team consuming me entirely at one point. But change, like Thanos, is inevitable. You can’t stop it.
Caring about people isn’t a bad thing. Crying over people leaving your company is human. You can’t control people, nor should you attempt to try. Amazing people are on a journey, the more amazing the person the more amazing the journey. I just hope to connect with them again in the future.
This next year, our team is poised to do some amazing things. I’ve never been more confident in our video, photography, social media, and website departments. We’ve added processes and heads of departments to make our operations more efficient. It’s the gentle balance of creating as few rules as possible to allow the team to do their best work without restrictions, rules or silly policies meant to control people.
2. We are not a launchpad. We are a visionary company. I used to think our role in the Canadian business ecosystem was to create leaders and send them on their way. A place where creatives could come to do work, but also work on their side hustle. The better the launchpad you create, the more you have to say goodbye to teammates. We realized this year that that is a terrible business philosophy. It’s much smarter to create a company that grows people but also evolves alongside your people. I hated watching people leave. It was time for a change.
Instead of a launchpad, we’re a visionary business. A business driven by a purpose that isn’t singularly focused on revenue generation, but is instead trying to change an industry. A business that cares about what we do in the marketplace and our community. A company you can brag to your Mom about*. We aren’t there yet but we’re working on it.
*I’ve always said the best businesses are built on the concept that your Mom would be proud of what you’ve built. My Mom doesn’t care about the money I make, the power I have or the lavish lifestyle some folks focus on. No, my Mom cares about impact, helping people and making the world a better place.
3. Believe in what you do, even if it takes a long time for it to work. We worked with several companies in Ontario and Manitoba for the first time this year. People found us on Google, knew someone in our network, and boom – you’re working in another province. It can take years for your strategy to work; a content strategy using your website to sell works, but it takes time. When it does work though, it works really well.
People Google things every day. Working with a company in another province all because of a Google search is pretty amazing. You don’t need to be the best – you just need to be uniquely worth talking to! That starts with believing in what you do. If you care dearly about your industry, your craft, and your customers, word-of-mouth will spread.
You don’t start believing in what you do by creating a visionary company – you create a visionary company by believing what you do.
4. Care about something. Start something. This year marked the second year of the Build Love project. Another family helped with an unbelievable renovation this past summer. More community involvement, more media involvement; the Build Love energy has taken Regina by storm. The interesting thing is when we pitched clients this past year, many would bring up our involvement in Build Love as a deciding factor.
Caring about your community is a positive signal to potential customers that you’re going to be around for a long time.
The more you are embedded in the community, the better the odds you have of lasting a long time in your chosen market.