What Did Your Letter Say?

On January 2,  I gave you an assignment. I challenged you to write a letter to yourself about the year ahead. You were supposed to give it to a friend, and have them hold it till now. Did you do it? What did you write about, and how did the year turn out?

In my letter, I wrote about big plans for 2011. I expected us to grow our sales by 50%, add two members to our team and launch an updated website by mid year. I planned to take another vacation out of the country and finally retire the Volvo, exchanging it for a newer car (but still a convertible!).

So how did  I do?

The Team: Hello, Goodbye, Hello, Goodbye

We have a number of new staff members, but not all of them came to us the way I expected.

We lost our “boy band” when Jay and Taylor both left to chase new dreams this summer. And with their departure,  a piece of my heart. They were hard to replace, and we still haven’t found the right person for our business development role. Fortunately we found Jenna, who has definitely added her own spice to the mix at Roundpeg. Her experience at Angie’s List has brought a sense of order to our team and a fresh feel to our designs.

We gave two of our interns slots at Roundpeg — Sharayah joined the team as a production artist in June. She helped us make the transition from Taylor to Jenna. Still a full time student, the pressure of trying to work and finish her degree finally caught up with her. She left as the fall semester was wrapping up. And then we were lucky that Peter dropped into our life with a mix of writing and design skills. He is truly our secret weapon with the ability to switch from writing to design and back again.

So when you are done tallying the score card, we are the same size  we were a year ago, but we are interviewing candidates for a web coordinator role and expect to have it  filled by the end of January.

Our Website:  All Grown Up

We launched the new design as planned this summer, and I love it. The new look is exactly what I wanted: sophisticated, but still fun. The grown-up design has allowed us to present a favorable impression to companies who might not have given us a second look in the past, but it still features photos of the animals and the occasional odd event. I have held back from making any major design changes since launch, but I am sure to start tweaking again after the first of the year.

Vacation and Travel

Lots of travel this fall as I gave presentations on social media to groups around the country. I was tired of airplanes as the year wound down, but not too tired to spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii. Officially still the US, but definitely another world. My son came from Tokyo and my daughter joined us as well. I came back tan and relaxed. Exactly what I hoped for in my vacation.

Sales up 25%, but Revenue up 75%

What I learned this year, was that I didn’t have to sell more, I just needed to sell more profitable projects!  With that foundation in place, in 2012, I plan to sell more too.

And the Car

My eleven year old Volvo has been sent to its resting place. And though it took me several months to figure out what I wanted, I finally made up my mind. On nice days, even in January, you will see me cruising around town, with the top down  in my Volkswagen Eos.

And now, 2012

Did writing the goals down make a difference in the year’s outcome? I believe it did. On a regular basis I reflected back on what I had written and adjusted my activities to move me closer to that goal. Later today I will be writing another letter with plans for 2012. What will it contain? You will have to wait till next year to find out!

 

  • Anonymous

    Congrats on a great year! It’s always helpful to have those nuggets in the back of your mind– or at the front– to draw inspiration from as you’re slogging it out.

    So here’s an assignment for you for this year: Instead of making a list, write out a couple of paragraphs as if you were making a journal entry on that day in the future. Be as descriptive as possible, adding nuance and flavor to the narrative. Focus on the things that are important to you and be specific. Then revisit that on day in the future.


    December 30, 2012
    It’s cold today; much colder than I remember last December being… I’m sitting in Starbuck’s typing this on my new MacBook Air (which I love, by the way!) and thinking about the year. What a ride! I got a call in January that caused me to start thinking differently about the direction of the business. Chasing that thread a bit, we decided to…

    There’s a great article about the power of visualization and how to create a company vision here:

    http://www.inc.com/magazine/20110201/creating-a-company-vision.html

    I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

    Happy New Year!

    /Jim

  • http://profiles.google.com/lorraine.roundpeg Lorraine Ball

    Thanks Jim, that is a good idea.  I believe in visualization.  Roundpeg is exactly the kind of business I always wanted, down to the cats in the office and a lifetime supply of Diet Coke in the fridge.   I will be working on my letter later today. I imagine you will be as well?

  • Ben McCann

    I Love Roundpeg, I wish I could have my cats in my office, I guess I will have to get my own building before that happens, I just make an effort to work from home more often.

    2011 Started out as one of the WORST years ever, but ended up as one of the BEST years ever.  With a lot of ups and downs personally and professionally.  I am looking back on the year and I am so THANKFUL and GRATEFUL for the relationships that I have with people.  People are what kept me going when the going got tough, and people were there to celebrate the mountain top moments as well.

    I feel like I learned a lot this year, but the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.  That is precisely why I surround myself with PEOPLE that I know, like, and trust to know the things I don’t know that I don’t know.  The only constant in business is Change, I am just glad that organizations like roundpeg exist to help people manage that change in the right direction, especially when it comes to marketing their business.  Keep up the good work Roundpeg, I am Thankful and Grateful for our relationship and agreeing with you that 2012 will be the BEST YEAR YET.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lorraine.roundpeg Lorraine Ball

    Ben, Good luck in 2012.  The year will be what you make it!