2016 was the first full year in business for NorthIQ Business Solutions, and it was a good one.  We learned some great lessons, got certified in a few different areas, and are ready to do even more awesome things in 2017.

How was 2016 Overall for NorthIQ?

We did well. We built a solid client base, found some new companies to work with, and launched four websites with one ready to go in the next couple of weeks.

Additionally, we built digital strategies, created comprehensive marketing plans, and built our first complete brand identity guide for a company.  We also built a very cool Kiosk application for Trojan Technologies.

On the Manage Comics side of the house, we made some significant updates to the site, and have a plan in place for 2017’s road map, which we will be looking for ways of funding.

Manage Comics didn’t grow because we didn’t market it, it is still in the “hand selling” part of its growth, and we didn’t dedicate enough time to making that a reality.  The one thing we still need to figure out is how to make this practical for offline stores as well as online stores.

What Went Right in 2016?

A lot of what we did went right, and some of it got us great visibility.

  • Worked with awesome clients to build great websites
  • Built an amazing Digital Strategy for a client that got us rave reviews
  • Relaunched NorthIQ website as a one pager as we figured out what we were doing with the site
  • Posted 5 blog posts on NorthIQ.com
  • Attended the Archangel Conference
  • Participated in the first Networking in Cars event

Worked with awesome clients to build great websites: We launched five websites, one offline application, one online application, and did a bunch of cool one-off projects.  By the end of the year we had another website ready for launch.  That’s a great amount of work for a small team.

Built an amazing Digital Strategy for a client that got us rave reviews: We built a digital strategy for a client that had them raving about the work. They loved what we did, how we articulated their value proposition, and how we nailed who their prospects were.  With this project we really figured out the questions to ask that got us the information needed to build out a comprehensive strategy.  This means that we now know where to go to find their users going forward.

Relaunched NorthIQ website as a one pager as we figured out what we were doing with the site: We relaunched the NorthIQ website as a 1 page site to hone in on what we needed to deliver. This was great for much of 2016, and will give us a solid base to build upon.

Posted 5 blog posts on NorthIQ.com: We posted five blog posts in 2016, and while that’s not a ton of QUANTITY, we made up for it with QUALITY, we researched each post, and arranged them around a topic.

Attended the Archangel Conference: The most successful thing we did in 2016 was attend the Archangel Conference.  This was a one day conference that included Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin, and several other notable speakers.  Brian did sketch notes of each speaker and posted them on Twitter and Facebook.  This resulted in over 1000 likes and retweets over the next week.

Participated in the first Networking in Cars event: In November we participated in “Networking in Cars”, and I was paired up with Meoldy Gilmore, Ryan Regidor, and Yodez Magodez.  Our live stream: “Networking in Cars with Ryan Regidor, Glassroots and Real Estate with Mel.” has had 1500 views to date, and was incredibly successful.

What Went Wrong in 2016?

  • Not enough Prospecting
  • Didn’t promote our own work
  • Didn’t promote the “Kickstart Guide to Small Business Marketing”
  • Don’t have a good list of services
  • Didn’t fully articulate what we do in a meaningful way that differentiates us

Not enough prospecting:  We didn’t go out looking for new work often enough, and instead got bogged down in the day-to-day of our regular work.

Didn’t promote our work: We didn’t update our website enough, and we didn’t do enough sustained marketing of our own brand.

Didn’t promote the “Kickstart Guide to Small Business Marketing”:  In October of 2015, during a 1 week period, Craig and I wrote and launched the “Kickstart Guide to Small Business Marketing”.  The title was horrible (a lot of people thought it was about “Kickstarter projects”, but the content was excellent and needed to be expanded upon.  Our first idea was to launch it, and update it over the next six months.

We didn’t do that, although we do have “The NorthIQ Small Business Marketing Guide” that is ready to go.

I have a draft of “The NorthIQ Small Business Marketing Recipe Guide” that I am working on, the subtitle for it is “10 Marketing Projects You Can Implement in a Day, with Step-By-Step recipes”.  This will be our big Q1 product release.

Didn’t fully articulate what we do in a meaningful way that differentiates us:  For some reason we haven’t embraced what makes us unique. We have decades of experience, and we’re an intimately small shop. We create custom solutions for each customer, and we don’t rely on cookie cutter techniques.  We’ve got a massive network, and can pull in people who are way more skilled than we are when we need to. In short, we are internet Super Heroes, and that’s what we should be promoting ourselves as.  One of the things I love most about our logo is it looks like a super hero symbol, and I want to really leverage that imagery this year.

Goals for Q1 2017

I don’t want to look too far out into the future, by keeping things tight with what we’ll do for the first three months of 2017, we should be able to finish these items and then start looking at the next three months.

We need to double down on our own marketing, we need to promote ourselves, and continue to do great work for companies like Timber Block, Trojan, and Well Nation.

  • Beginning this week we will release weekly blog posts, with an accompanying video and podcast on NorthIQ.
  • By January 6, we will rewrite our business plan
  • By January 6, create a brand identity for NorthIQ
  • By January 13, we will reach out to businesses in the London area offering a free 1 hour consultation
  • By January 31 we will join Tech Alliance
  • By January 31 we will relaunch the NorthIQ website focusing on our services
  • By January 31 we will be booked for 2 speaking gigs in London Ontario
  • By February 1 we will launch weekly updates for Manage Comics
  • By February 1, our NorthIQ mailing  list will reach 100 companies.
  • By February 1, launch our weekly NorthIQ Facebook Live Chats
  • By February 15 our Manage Comics mailing list will reach 100 companies.
  • By February 22 we will book our first Manage Comics one-on-one webinar
  • By March we will book double the revenue that we booked in Q1 2016
  • By March 30 we will schedule our first webinar
  • By March 30, we will revisit our goals for the rest of 2017, and revise our business plan accordingly
  • By end of April, our mailing list will reach 1000 companies.
  • By end of April we will relaunch the NorthIQ Small Business Marketing Playbook