2019…Own It!

As we enter 2019 and watch 2018 pass by through our rearview mirror it is a good time to sit back and reflect on the year.  With the beginning of each new year, we start off on a new.  A reinvigorated spirit.  We think about what we need to do better in our business.  What we need to do more of, less of, differently, and keep the same.  Just like in our personal lives we set new years resolutions to get healthy, exercise, quit a bad habit, etc. For most, we are lucky if we get to February with our new year’s resolutions.  Why is that?  Do we automatically set ourselves up for failure before we even start?  Do we set expectations too high, in our business and our personal lives?  Why do most of us not follow through with our resolutions?  I know I am no exception.  

I typically don’t set resolutions.  I never have really.  Sure over the course of my years I have gone on a diet, vowed to exercise more etc.  At the beginning of this year, I wrote down what I was grateful for, where I wanted to see my business at the end of the year, and most importantly keep a positive attitude.  I started the year out good. I think I made it to March, but then I let life, and outside influences, get the best of me, which in turn let the negativity start to creep in.  Once you let that happen, it is EXTREMELY difficult to push it out.  I still struggle to not let the tiniest negativity creep in.  I am my own worst enemy when it comes to that.  On remembering to be thankful I did my best to appreciate what I have and not always wanting something else.

My business isn’t quite where I would have hoped it to be.  I did do more business this year than in previous years.  I made a vow to put my business first and to quit putting it in second, or third position.  I have a bad habit of putting too many things on my plat.  As a result, my business suffers.  So, making my business a priority and is THE goal for 2019.  I have joined a networking group to help with that.  I plan to continue putting all my focus on my business in 2019.  

Today, it is extremely hard to be happy with what you have.  People on Social Media are constantly posting their fancy trips, dinners, vehicles, toys, and on and on.  Yes, it’s just only a fraction of their lives they are showing, but for me it makes me feel inferior.  More appropriately I let it make me feel that way.  First, the only person doing that to me is myself.  Second, I do not know what that person’s life is like.  They may have an extremely stressful job and are miserable.  They may be dealing with personal demons or family issues.  The list goes on.  It is crazy to be wishing your life away.  Wishing you had what someone else has.  Because the truth is, their life may be better, same, or worse than yours.  Until you are at peace with your life, you will never be happy.  You can still set goals and work to improve your life, but do it for the right reasons, for yourself.

Then you come across people that bring you back to reality.  They help you see that your life isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.  It is quite a sobering experience.  You also encounter people who offer you help, when you are down, with no expectations of getting anything in return.  A wise friend of mine always tells me…”You will be given what you need.”  It was difficult to at times; however,  I experienced what he means several times this year.  When I thought I was not sure how I was going to make it, an opportunity came along to help me get past that situation.   

I believe businesses resolutions can be the same way.  As business owners, we sometimes set these unrealistic goals for our businesses.  Goals that are nearly impossible to meet; therefore, causing the owners stress.  I have never been a goal-oriented person.  That doesn’t mean I do not have the ambition or want to succeed.  It just means I like to live in the moment and do what feels right at the time.  Not only that, I always thought goals were something to work towards, not something that MUST be met.  Sure, it is great if you exceed the goals, but that shouldn’t be the goal.  Should it?  

In business, the obvious goal should be to want to have a better year than the prior year.  Who wants to do worse?  Doing better doesn’t necessarily mean making more money.   Sure, that should be the underlying goal, but doing other things can have an indirect result to your bottom line.  

How well are you treating your customers?  Is there room for improvement?  What are you doing to show you appreciate their business?  No matter what business, customers have thousands of other choices, but they choose your business.  So, should you not do something to show your appreciation?  It could be something small, or large, but do something.  What products are you offering?  Is it something one could get elsewhere?   Are you supporting local businesses?  If not, why?  Would you not want other local businesses to support your business?  I think there is a specific weekend, in November, where the public is encouraged to support local businesses.  Sure, the big businesses get all the glory and media attention, but small business is truly the backbone of America.  So, why not participate in any local initiatives to grow small businesses in your community?

Marketing, advertising, branding, whatever you want to call it, everyone has different opinions on what the definitions of those terms mean.  Either way, they are an essential part of a successful business.   To me, they simply mean, how are you getting your business name, brand (Identity), mission, out to your customers and the public?  Have you looked at your website lately?  Is it up to date?  Does your logo appropriately convey the image of your business?  Have you revisited your social media presence?  You don’t have to be on all platforms, just the ones that make sense for your business.  The ones that garner the most followers, likes, pins, tweets, snaps.  

In 2018, we have become such a sensitive, rude, and out of touch society.  Our society needs more acts of kindness, more business that care about customers and that care about their employees.  We have become such a throwaway society.  If businesses showed their employees that they do appreciate them, then employees would not be so easily replaced.  If your business provides quality, honest, trustworthy service, your customers will continue to come back, no matter what your competition is doing.

So, I challenge you in 2019 not to just do a New Years Resolution for yourself and your business, but to think how you want to make your part of the world a better place in 2019.  What are you going to do in your business, and in your life, to make you stand out?  How are you going to pay it forward, help your community, or another business without expecting anything in return?  

As much as I am determined to make my business grow in 2019, I still plan to do things to help people and businesses. That has always been and will continue to be, our philosophy at On The Level Marketing, plain and simple.  Because if you help, without expecting anything in return it will come back to you in more meaningful ways than could ever imagine.

Happy New Year to all of you and I wish you a prosperous 2019.  

Geoff Cummings is President|Founder of On The Level Marketing & Consulting, LLC.  Successfully helping businesses with all their marketing needs by branding their businesses and keeping marketing simple and straightforward.  

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