I know, it's a rather cynical title...but it would be a bold lie for me to feel anything short of relief that 2012 is finally coming to an end.
Most of this comes from a personal standpoint. I lost someone very close to me the first week of the year...and things just seemed to keep going downhill from there. For some reason, most of our friends and family had the same experience this year. Although the world didn't come to an end, it sure felt like it came close a few times.
Since this isn't a personal site, I won't go into more detail. However, there are certainly some business lessons that can be taken from this.
There are many seasons we go through as entrepreneurs.
Sometimes sales pour in even on days we don't get out of bed. Every marketing campaign clicks, employees are efficient and happy, and your customers are raving about you everywhere they go.
Other times it feels like you couldn't sell water in the Sahara. Your employees are angry, cheques are bouncing, and the only customers who answer your calls are the ones who are asking for a refund.
I've come to learn that these seasons will come and go...sometimes regardless of our efforts. It was probably really hard to sell a house in the 80's (at least here) with interest rates in the high teens. It wouldn't matter if you had invested thousands in slick advertising, gave the best customer service, and paid your staff well. It just wasn't going to be easy. On the other hand, in the past few years, you could put together a business with no revenue stream, and people would invest millions on hope alone.
That's not to say success and failure isn't within your control too. With so many people starting new businesses, you have to really stand out from the crowd. Look back on previous results, and always push toward that next plateau.
This is always the time of year for reflection. We make resolutions that rarely last the first week...mostly because they are vague and hard to achieve. "Make more money" or "get healthy" aren't good resolutions. The same applies to your business. It's very important to take some time to reflect on 2012. Find out where you excelled, and where you came up short. Where do you want this business to be in 5 years? Are you taking the right steps now to get you 1/5 of the way by this time next year?
For many reasons, I am really looking forward to 2013. I know there isn't any significant difference between 11:59pm on December 31, and 12:01am on January 1. It's all something we have arbitrarily decided is a major event, but I still put a lot of stock in the idea of a fresh start.
I can't wait to put 2012 behind me, and push forward. I have a lot of big goals for 2013, both personally and for my business. I know I'd really like to see some big changes here on the site. Will I achieve all of my goals this year? Probably not all of them...but I intend to put in the work to make them happen. If some of them fall short due to uncontrollable circumstances, so be it. All we can do is our best, and remain resilient in the face of adversity.
I'd like to wish all of you a Happy New Year. I'm looking forward to working/talking/emailing/succeeding with all of you in 2013, and I hope you all find great success in the new year.
As always, feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions.