At the beginning of 2018 we set out The NorthIQ Goals for 2018. Our business has a June year end, which means we technically were in 2019 by July…but for the purposes of the blog we consider January 1 – December 31 2018 to be the calendar year.
We set a number of goals to hit, and for the most part we did quite well, but we didn’t achieve all of our goals…and part of that might have been that we were being too aggressive, while some of it can be due to the fact that as a fairly new business we are still figuring out how to optimally do things. Our philosophy so far has been to build things, refine them, and then figure out how to do them repeatedly. We’re doing a great job at building and refining, we’re now in the phase where we need to repeat them.
Craig and I have both worked for companies that dogmatically stuck to unrealistic, aggressive goals. Sticking to goals despite logic dictating that they no longer make sense demotivated us, and didn’t encourage us to do our best work. In a number of cases we actually did the wrong thing in order to hit an unrealistic target to please “the powers that be”. One of the things we’ve decided with NorthIQ is that we would do the right thing even if it goes against our business goals.
A good example came in the summer when we realized that in order to hit our goal of 52 blog posts in a year, we would have to post things that we weren’t convinced were good. We chose instead to put the blog on hiatus for a month to build up a good backlog of posts, and we finished the year out strong with some of our best posts.
Double Revenue in 2018
C: we did really well, but our goal was ridiculously high. We saw 50% growth in 2018. A couple of things made what we were doing hard, specifically around our value proposition. The first three months that we work with a new company are critical, and we undervalue what we charge during those months. In many cases we have to undo years of bad work from other marketing firms. This takes a lot of time, but by month 4, we can work on optimizing our systems which takes much less time, but is far more rewarding.
Market our services better
B: We know who we are now, we need to promote ourselves better. We figured out what our niche is in the 2nd half of 2018, and now we have a clear path. The big challenge is finding time to market our own products and services. We have a lead automation system, but we don’t use it much. We are currently putting a major focus on this.
Continue with Content Marketing
B-: We set some ambitious goals, and we didn’t quite hit them…but we did some phenomenal work. We started using our own content in our pitches, and have begun working on some cool new stuff. Plus, Hot Buzz!!!
Successes in 2018:
- 39 Blog Posts on NorthIQ
- 4 Video Blog posts for HotBuzz
- 29 Blog posts on Manage Comics
- 1 Magazine Article in London Inc. – “Managing the Books“
We have 12 posts in draft stages for NorthIQ, and Manage Comics has an additional 4 posts in draft. That’s a healthy amount of content ready to be polished and released into the world!
Support Manage Comics
A+: We supported the heck out of Manage Comics. At the beginning of 2018 we had 3 paying customers, today we have 32, and we add about 3 new stores a month. It’s not super fast growth, but it is steady and will grow over time. We have noticed that when we put focus on Manage Comics, we are sell more subscriptions (who saw that coming?). We made a ton of updates in 2018,
Hire two employees in 2018
B: We hired, but we didn’t hire right. We did indeed hire two employees in 2018, but we currently only have one still with us as 2019 begins. Ashley is terrific, and we will use her as a template for the types of people we want to hire. Yes, we want to hire cool people who want to do awesome stuff, but we also need to hire people who want to do the same stuff we want to do. If there is a lack of alignment there, then you’ll never fix the problem.
Create the NorthIQ Values and Beliefs Document
A+: We did it. Twice even! Our first version which we posted here What Do You Value was good, but far too complicated. We had six different values, and they were not specific enough. Some were tactics, some of them were strategies. In our second version we really revised it. In NorthIQ Values – Revised, we whittled our values down to four items.
- Work with Good People and Good Companies
- Quality over Quantity
- Provide Ludicrous Value
- Have Fun
Productize and Streamline our business
D: not nearly where we need to be. It took us a long time to figure out who we are, and what we are. Now that we know, we are working on how to make what it is that we do more efficient, and we’re looking at ways not to do the things that don’t fit into our business vision.