There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. Hindu Proverb
Be Better in 2012
2011 is just about over, and as I look back on what type of year this has been, where it began and where we are today, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. It has been a phenomenal year for me both personally and professionally.
Looking back, here are some of the highlights of 2011 at Peralta Design:
• Grand opening of new office space in Shelton CT
• Kicked off new projects for:
- Scholastic Books
- AOL Kids
- Warren Buffet’s Secret Millionaire Club
- Goldie Hawn’s Hawn Foundation
- By Kids For Kids
• New clients for 2011 included:
- IP Navigation Group
- Nucor Steel
- Florida Dept of Citrus
• We hired new staff and forged new partnerships
In short, my design company has grown physically and has also surpassed 2010’s gross annual revenue. 2011 was a great year and we thank all of you for your business, support and friendship!
From a professional standpoint, 2012 is already looking great as we are poised to launch two new websites for clients on January 3, 2012. We are starting the year with a BANG!
Despite the success we’ve had in 2011 and the bright future we predict in 2012, I still feel we can do better as a company, and I know for sure that I can do better as a person, on many different levels. As I look back, I see the areas where we may have fallen short and have outlined a plan of self-improvement for 2012 that will help not only help the business grow, but more importantly will help me grow as a person.
In that spirit, I wanted to share my personal goals for 2012.
Here are the Top 10 Ways to Be Better in 2012:
1. Always Stay Positive (ASP)
I owe a lot of 2011’s success to staying positive, even when faced with negative situations. Be a part of the solution, not the problem. I’m also a firm believer in the Laws of Attraction and if you take a negative or defensive tone in your business dealings, you will not attract more business. This year I will not carry any baggage, especially when I’m wrong – in 2012 I will promptly admit it, make amends where necessary and keep it moving. Keep it positive.
Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”
2. Negotiate Better
Be assertive and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, or what you think your services are worth. The best contracts are win-win and imply fairness to both sides. Your clients have to feel that they are getting value, and you have to feel that you are being appreciated. If you go into a project and it doesn’t feel right, or you ‘bended’ in order to close the deal, you will end up harboring resentments towards the project, the client or both.
3. Mentor More
This year, as my business grew, my workload increased and our services expanded. That meant I had to hire talent. I also mentored a couple of interns. Over the summer, give some young college student, in my case, an aspiring graphic designer an opportunity at your firm. Our summer intern was unpaid, but we’ve also kept a paid intern in the studio year ‘round. Do we REALLY need an intern? No, but does it help alleviate the workload? Yes and No. The real purpose of having an intern around is to ‘give back’. To teach, to mentor, to help someone who is up and coming gain some professional experience in an ever-increasing competitive market. Do something good and help a young person. Know some good candidates? Send resumes our way.
4. Hire for an Entry Level Position
Sounds crazy to suggest that you should hire in an economy that still encourages you to do less with more, right? But the reality is that if you have enough work for one, you have enough work for 2. The benefits of hiring help are many. You can ‘build a team’, tackle bigger projects, attract larger clients and expand your services. Start out by bringing someone in 2-3 days a week. We expect to grow the business this way in 2012.
5. Promote Better
Nobody likes a showoff. This year our goal is to utilize and harness the power of social media to better engage with our clients and customers. Instead of simply posting recent works and bragging about new awards and client contracts secured, we’ll work to encourage feedback from our fan-base, more testimonials from our clients and let our client’s media coverage and success measure our effectiveness as an advertising agency. I’ll offer more tutorials, more ‘how-to’ blogs and create more informational content that can actually help while promoting our design, branding and marketing services at the same time.
6. Listen Better
Often times I find myself in conversations where I am admittedly simply waiting for my chance to speak, or I blurt out something completely unrelated to the topic at hand. I have found that friends, family members, clients, and staff may in fact only want you to listen. I will work towards being “present” and “in the moment”. Another thing I’m guilty of is starting to speak before the other person has finished. I need to sit and wait my turn. In 2012 I will learn to be more patient when someone is speaking to me (and when I’m on a conference call with clients as well)!
7. The Work/Family Balance
In 2011 I found myself being too busy too attend school events but able to take days off to go play golf. When I did make time to be with family or attend family related activities, it was often with the added distraction of my iPhone. I wasn’t really there 100%. I’m guilty of this at dinners, at movies, at sporting events, etc. The problem with being your own boss or being an entrepreneur is that you can get into the trap of “always working”. An EAP article linked below states: “Balancing work and family has pay-offs for children, home relationships, and everyone’s future happiness. Recognizing this can help you keep balance in mind.” In 2012, I will keep balance in mind.
Recently I completely went off on a client over a misunderstanding that stemmed from an errant text message that I completely misinterpreted. Though the phone seems to be going the way of the Do-Do bird, solely relying on text messages and emails as a way to communicate will leave some very serious and potentially damaging lapses in what was meant and what was understood. In 2012 I will pick up the phone and speak or when possible meet in person, visit client’s offices or have more meetings at our offices in order to foster better communication and stronger relationships.
Earlier this year I blogged about how important to any business owner or entrepreneur to stay plugged in and within reach. Well for 2012 I’m going to do better about unplugging from technology. My mind already races a mile a minute and it doesn’t take much for me to be distracted with my own mental noise during any given moment. The fact that I’m constantly checking my Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and email accounts doesn’t help me connect with those closest to me. I do owe a lot of 2011’s success to the ability for clients to basically hunt me down 24/7 to the disdain of my family, that is. In 2012, I may read your email on the weekend, but it doesn’t mean that I will respond before Monday. I’m even planning a “no-technology” weekend away with my wife where I swear I will leave my iPad and iPhone behind. Good luck with that.
10. Eat Right & Exercise
Those that know me, know that by this time of year I am basically a garbage dump when it comes to what foods I put into my body. Though 2011 marked the year that I began to utilize smart phone apps like LoseIt and RunKeeper to track my fitness and weight, 2012 will be the year that I do even better with my own personal health goals. In just a few days I will be starting my annual Master Cleanser 10-day fast to detoxify myself and purge all the toxins that came along with 2011. Its an annual ritual that helps to not only clear my body, but it does wonders for my brain and my thinking in general. It marks a new year for me and a fresh start with plenty of fruits and vegetables and minimal meat intake (until Thanksgiving of course).
I hope that you can identify with some of these goals for 2012 and I wish you a prosperous and healthy New Year!
15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations
Ten Tips for Negotiating in 2012
7 Powerful Tips To Becoming a Better Listener
Balancing Work & Family
Tips on Unplugging from Technology