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Last week Craig and I got together to figure out where we want to take NorthIQ in 2018 and beyond. We sat down and wrote out our “starts, stops, and continues”, and then used those as a framework for what we were going to work on this year.

This is a great exercise that came out of years of “Agile Project Management”, and something that we should do more often than just annually. We came up with more than a dozen things, and had a lot of overlap between the two of us.

Some of the ideas go against the type of people that we are, Craig both bristle at needless process and don’t like doing things like “time tracking”, but we both came to the realization that we need to embrace process and track time in order to continue growing our business.

One of the things we both agree on is transparency. We think that our business journey is not unique, but that it can serve as an inspiration for others. What we do, the lessons we’ve learned, and the things that we continue to learn, seem to be universal. To that end, we’re sharing our “Start, Stops, and Continues” with you here.

Start

Start putting process around stuff and productize it.
We have some amazing things that we do, but we don’t have a great process around each one of them, so every time we do something we basically start it from scratch. By productizing more of our offerings, we’ll be able to consistently, and quickly iterate on them and do them for more people.

We also need to formalize what these things are, and create some demo examples of them so we can show off the cool stuff we do.

Start tracking all time / Communicating better.
We don’t have a great idea of where all of our time is going, and while we are pretty good about tracking our client time, there is a lot of “admin” time that we’re not tracking.  Tracking all of our time, even if just for a few months, will give us a better guideline for what we are doing.

We love Basecamp, and we need to use it even more for better internal communication by tracking all of the work we are doing inside of Basecamp.

Start Structured Prospecting Activities
The best thing we do for our clients is find them new leads. So far all of our leads have found us, and we’ve done very little outreach. As we grow in 2018, we need to start reaching out to people and getting them to know who we are, and what we do.

Start Building a Plan for our next SaaS
Manage Comics is a success now and has some momentum. We’ve got the plans for a new SaaS, but we need to build a marketing and operations plan to make it a success.

Start Bragging
You know who’s awesome?  We are, but we don’t tell enough people about it. That needs to change.  We have had incredible results for our clients, including one client who saw 400% growth in their leads since we started working with them.  Let’s brag about that!

Stop:

We turned a lot of our “Stops” into “Starts”, because often a stop is just a poorly worded start.
Stop doing low value, high effort work
There are a few things we’ve done just to pay the bills, but they are things that are not part of our core competencies. When we do these things, we’re never fully happy with the results, and they take much more effort than they’re worth.

Stop ignoring our gut instincts
The only times we have been burned have been times that we’ve ignored our gut instincts on things. We need to recognize this, and stick to our guns. Sometimes short term money is not worth the long term implications.

Continue

Continue content marketing / Continue Blog Posts
I think this is one of the best things we did last year, for 2018, we need to focus on this and turn it into an even bigger draw.

Some things we want to build for 2018:

  • Content Calendar
  • A conversion path to generate leads
  • The NorthIQ 3 I system on the site
  • Write more about how to improve your company’s marketing maturity

Continue Manage Comics
One of our biggest successes in 2017, and in 2018 we need to put more focus on it, and build out our 2018 Road Map.

Continue Service Focus
We’ve made it so far by providing ridiculous value, and one of the dangers as we get bigger is that we’ll be unable to provide as much value. We need to keep this as the core value for everything we do.  Provide ridiculous value (maybe even plaid levels of value).

What are your starts, stops and continues?

We’d love to learn more about what other companies are doing to start, stop, and continue in their business.  Let us know what you are going to be focusing on this year!

Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.