One thing I love about the start of a new year is the sense of new possibilities, fresh starts and the hope and desire to actively improve and grow.
I am a type “A” sort of person. Every new year I sit down and write out new goals for myself. I break them down into categories such as faith, family, health and business and then I prioritize them. I keep this list as a flagged email in my inbox and throughout the year, as I clear out my inbox (which really does happen from time to time!), I review my goals to see how I’m progressing. I am embarrassed to admit that this email often has well over a hundred goals in it. Which is very optimistic of me in terms of actually being able to complete them all in a year!
This new year, looking back on the 15 years I’ve been in business and the reality that I have year old triplets under my roof, my perspective of what is important is a little different and I thought I would share some of my goals for 2011.
1. FAMILY AND FAITH
This has to come first. Even above work. A close friend often reminds me, “be careful how you define success”. There are many adages that express the reality that our faith and our family should be more of a priority than how we earn our living. It does not take a rocket scientist to look around and see that families, relationships and faith are under attack and struggling. With 5 boys to raise now, spending quality time as a family and growing together spiritually is a huge goal for me. To this end we have an exciting, maybe even epic trip planned for this summer that I will share in a future post.
2. BE HEALTHY
Last year was physically tough for both Cathy and myself. I endured Hyperparathyroidsm disease and then underwent surgery in May. Cathy, of course, carried and delivered 3 babies at once, which is pretty tough to beat in the physical exhaustion competition. 🙂 Needless to say that out physical goals have not so much been about how we can improve our marathon time (neither of us have actually run one), but more about just feeling and being healthy. I have found that being a graphic artist does not keep you in as good as shape as say being a carpenter does so being half a mile away from the Alaska Club and visiting it regularly is incredibly important.
3. BUSINESS GOALS
I know tons of companies say it, but we really mean this! We are a small family-run business with a core team of employees and contractors. And speaking for them as well as myself I can say that we truly strive to serve each and every customer to the best of our ability. If we say we are going to do something then we make it happen and if for some reason we find we are falling short of this, we communicate this with our customers. Of course, mistakes can happen but you can count on our willingness to go that extra mile to help solve any issues that may arise with courteousness and efficiency.
I think it is critical that all of us are passionate and excited about the work we do. One of my all time favorite quotes is by William Wallace – “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” I am blessed in that I happen to love what I do for a living and the team I work with. And I’m always looking at how I can continually grow in my passion for design and this industry so that I can better serve my clients and, quite honestly, so that I can have joy in my work.
GREAT CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
After 15 years of running this company, one thing has become abundantly clear, the relationships we forge are one of the most important aspects to our continued success. Don’t get me wrong, we need our talent and to be able to offer great skills, but this has to be paired with a great working relationship with our clients. Our business has steadily grown because we have slowly added new customers that hear about the good work and services we have provided their peers. One of the goals I have for 2011 is to take time to further grow the relationships with the customers we have the honor to serve.
For a couple of years now, we have used an automated phone attendant – you know – press 1 for this…press 2 for that…and so forth. This year we have discontinued that system and from now on we will be using just the traditional phone lines and an answering machine. This will obviously save us some monthly costs, but more importantly, it is more true to the smaller family business that we are. So we are again attempting to answer the phone when we can and if not, to quickly call or email back. Our missed calls now automatically forward to our email as a voice message so that we can respond even more quickly. We are truly striving to simplify our processes and services to ensure that we provide the best service possible.
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my goals and thoughts for the new year. Mostly, I want to share a renewed commitment on our part to focus on the things that have continued to bring our customers back for 15 years now.
On behalf of the Sundog Media team and my family, I wish each of you a successful and blessed new year.