My biggest business lessons learned in 2013

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by Dana on February 6, 2014

reviewAs you’ve heard me say before, it is critical to do a thorough evaluation of the past year before moving on to setting goals for the current year. Once you identify what went well and what didn’t, you can get clear on the lessons you want to carry forward with you. In this week’s success strategy, I thought I’d give you an inside look at my personal biggest business lessons learned in 2013 and how I am integrating them into my plans for 2014.

Lesson #1: Small things, done consistently, generate extraordinary and consistent results.

This is a big one! We’re an impatient society–used to instant gratification and immediate results. But to achieve real, long-lasting success in any area, it’s really more about taking the right actions, consistently, day after day, even when you don’t really feel like it…

It’s like planting a garden…You must plant the right seeds in the right kind of soil, nourish them and allow them to CULTIVATE before you can enjoy the finished product. But if we’re getting real…that cultivation period can feel loooong…When you start out in your business, you feel like you’re doing all the right things–networking and following up, writing regular content-filled blog posts, sending out a weekly ezine, posting daily on social media and more–but you can’t really tell if anyone is paying attention. Are they reading your posts? Are they curious about working with you? Anyone…Bueller??? Bueller???

It can be frustrating when you don’t immediately see results from your efforts. But trust me: Stay the course! You’ve heard it before…An airplane uses most of its fuel on the takeoff. It’s the same in business. You have to build some momentum…and that takes time. But here’s the great thing…Once you do build that momentum, the “compound effect” kicks in (just like with compound interest). It will seem like all of the sudden, you turn a corner and opportunities start coming in from every direction. Two great book recommendations to drive this point home even further are The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success & Happiness by Jeff Olson and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy (highly recommend both!!!).

What I’ll be doing in 2014: Keep on keepin’ on doing the right things that have worked for me and take advantage of the momentum I created in 2013.

Lesson #2: You must LOVE what you’re offering.

Truth be told…I’ve offered programs and services in the past that I wasn’t truly excited about…just because they seemed to be what my peeps wanted. Big mistake! Those launches flopped. Why? Because I wasn’t energetically aligned with them. The programs I was super excited about? Super successful! What I learned was that when I am aligned with my programs or products and truly bursting at the seams to share them with others, that energy is magnetic! It’s like a magical pixie dust gets sprinkled on my promotion  and people respond far more enthusiastically to the offer. And even better than just getting more sales–I get to have so much FUN creating and delivering the content!

What I’ll be doing in 2014: Only offering programs, products & services I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! (Be on the lookout!) 

Lesson #3: Always look for a way to work smarter.

For the first 12 months in my business, I busted my butt! I worked crazy hours and was exhausted. I knew I couldn’t continue that way. So I stopped and began to ask myself the following question about EVERY one of my business activities: How can I make this easier and more fun? The result: My business feels easier and more fun! I’m not done yet…It takes quite some time to refine each and every process and system in your business, especially since you still have customers and clients to service at the same time. But I’m just taking one at a time (see lesson #1). A great read on improving your business systems is Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less by Sam Carpenter.

What I’ll be doing in 2014: Continuing to focus on improving my processes, systems and tools–one by one. 

Lesson #4: Live my message.

Ok, I’m going to bare some of my warts here…I’m a marketing coach, yes? I encourage my clients to keep their marketing messages up-to-date, their websites fresh, etc. Well, once things started getting busy in my business, that’s exactly what I was most focused on…my clients’ marketing materials. I let my own website get a bit stale…knew my contact database needed some attention, but thought, “I’ll get to that later”…had received a number of testimonials from clients and customers, but hadn’t added them in to my materials…you get the drill. So I’m investing the first part of 2014 in refreshing my own arsenal of marketing materials.

What I’ll be doing in 2014: Revisit my own marketing foundational elements and CLEAN HOUSE!

Lesson #5: Sometimes the best way to improve your business results is actually by focusing on the areas of your life that aren’t directly related to your business.

As I mentioned a few times above, my work/life balance got a bit out of whack in the early days of running my business. As a result, there were areas of my personal life that needed attention–my health, my personal relationships, my house, etc. The more I began to focus on those things–getting more sleep, exercising again, eating better, taking my supplements daily, committing to a monthly date night with my husband, purging and getting organized at home, connecting more regularly with my intuition/diving guidance–wouldn’t you know it…my business results boomed!

What I’ll be doing in 2014: Prioritizing daily habits to take care of my body, mind, spirit and relationships.

Lesson #6: Commit to ruthless prioritization.

I admit it…In the past, I’ve suffered from bright, shiny object syndrome. I want to do EVERYTHING…But I can’t! As I’ve progressed in my business, I’ve tracked my data and can see which activities tend to yield the best results for me. For example, Facebook is by far my best social media platform for seeing an ROI, I convert really well at live and virtual speaking events and building strong relationships with my clients and strategic partners has yielded me great results in the form of referrals, joint venture opportunities and more. So these are the areas where I should invest the most time. Likewise, it’s important to look at where I’m investing my money. In the beginning when I launched my business, I invested a ton in educational programs and products and group coaching–to get myself up to speed on the latest marketing trends and build my community. Now, based on where I’m at, I know it’s more important for me to invest in support staff, systems and more personalized coaching.

What I’ll be doing in 2014: Regularly reviewing my commitments and expenses to ensure that I’m investing my resources (time, energy and money) in the critical few things that will move my business forward.

Feedback?

I’d love to hear…Which of these lessons resonated most with you? What were your biggest a-ha’s from 2013? Please share in the comments below…

{ 4 comments }

Bola February 6, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Dana,

Well said! I can certainly relate to all 6 points particularly #6. This girl needs to focus and prioritze.

Dana February 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Excellent, Bola! The first step is identifying the issue. :)

Beth February 7, 2014 at 10:36 am

Lesson #4 was a good reminder to go back and review my website and incorporate the shifts I made last year (not huge but nonetheless important!) and I’ll be reading the book in Lesson #3….I’m in system mode too!

Dana February 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Awesome, Beth! Be sure to let me know what you think of the book… :)