Writing a letter to myself has become an annual event. I sit down at the beginning of the year and visualize what the year will be like. I think about both business and personal goals as I write a letter as if it was the last day of the year and I had achieved everything I envisioned. I usually write this after I have finished working on my annual marketing and business plan.
I opened my letter this afternoon and it was interesting to see how much of the year I correctly predicted. There were also some surprises along the way which forced small and large adjustments in my path. How did I do?
We started the year with plans for our 10 year anniversary. I envisioned a low-key evening with friends, clients and employees past and present. The celebration was exactly what I had hoped it would be.
Roundpeg has changed and grown, but as I looked toward 2012, I didn’t expect many more changes to our brand. I was wrong. Thanks to the talents of our team, the brand is subtly more grownup. Our marketing materials have a cleaner, sleeker look. The voice is smarter, wittier and more passionate. The subtle improvements to our website reflect a more professional organization with an extraordinary range of talent.
I had envisioned 2012 would be a year to put our emphasis on refining our processes, jettisoning projects that didn’t fit our core, and raising our prices to match the higher level of service we hoped to provide. It was a lot easier to write about than to do. These changes had me letting go of some long-time customers because we really no longer did what they needed. It also meant letting go of services that had been a part of Roundpeg for a long time but which didn’t fit our new model and didn’t make sense for our customers.
The hardest part was raising our prices. But several working sessions where we compared the service level we now deliver and the costs associated with that service level finally got me to take a hard look at our pricing. If I wanted to continue to up our game, it was a change I needed to make.
The changes have moved us to a business model with fewer but bigger customers. This was one of the things that surprised me, and I’m still getting used to it.
It wasn’t only our business model that grew up this year; my team did as well. I expected Allison would spread her wings a bit this year, but she really took off. She has made keynote presentations around the state and has taken over several client accounts, freeing me up to do more sales-related activities. Jenna and Peter run their projects with just the occasional feedback from me, and yet each design still has that distinctive Roundpeg feel. And both Allison and Peter have taken over the training sessions, so students wandering in for a workshop, are never quite sure who will be teaching the class. But they always know they will learn something new.
With the addition of Whitney in March and Tamre just a few weeks ago, the team is exactly what I envisioned a year ago. We have a mix of skill sets and personalities which means it is always interesting, if somewhat chaotic, in the little white house. I am glad that Rebecca is still here to bring a little order to this mix. No vision of our future would be complete without her.
The Personal Side
I had planned to work on me a bit this year, with more travel, more art and more exercise.
The trip to Spain and Portugal was exactly what I thought it would be. Ten days of new food, new experiences and very little work. The annual trip is now one of my favorite parts of the year. And with a mature team, it’s easy to let go for a week or so.
The unhappy surprise of the year was a stress related injury as a result of this year’s mini marathon. It took a toll on my summer walking and training for the Monumental in the Fall. Thanks to physical therapy, I am back walking with my friends on Saturday mornings (come join us – 4 – 6 miles and breakfast), but I don’t think I will be training for another Mini any time soon. But I joined a gym to replace some of the outdoor walking and I weigh 5 pounds less than I did a year ago.
Over on LorraineBall.com, I decided to reconfigure the site to become a personal blog to showcase my photos and love of art, travel and food. I like the look of the site and enjoyed sharing my photos of travel and dining adventures and life around Indy.
Goodbye and Hello
I didn’t expect to say goodbye to two office pets, Maybee and Bonnie, this year. I assumed they would be here to celebrate the end of the year with us, but that isn’t how things worked out. We miss them, but are also happy to have added Truman and Penny to life at the ‘Peg.
So What’s Next?
I don’t know what’s next; I haven’t written that letter yet. Have you written yours?