The new year has dawned – and as usual, it will be full of challenges, surprises and hopefully growth in our personal and business life. Thinking back about the beginning of Rietmark, way back in 1997, I once again realise how much the business landscape has changed.
Saving the Rietmark ads on floppy drives and stiffies (you remember it still?), faxes as one of our main office tools, and mobile phones still in it’s infancy. With time developed the internet, e-mail communication and the monthly updates of our printed booklets on our own website.
Starting and running a business in 1997 was very different from today. But 22 years later, Rietmark advertising is still going strong, with even more services, such as printing and signage. Below follows some of the actions, attitudes and resolutions we embraced over the years. Hopefully you find some inspiration!
Your business can’t grow if you don’t. Attend trade shows, read journals, take seminars, hire a consultant to teach you new skills. Your brain is your most important business asset – use it and add to it.
Keep priorities straight.
It’s easy to keep busy being busy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive. Make a list of those few items that make the difference between succeeding and failing, both in business and in life. Put your energies there. Don’t let unimportant squeaky wheels get all your attention.
Stay in touch with former clients.
We all focus our attention on the projects at hand, but former customers are one of the best sources of new business. Find an easy way to communicate with all your customers, past and present, at least two to three times a year.
Be technology savvy.
Use technology to streamline and improve your business. Search the internet to find tools for bookkeeping, HR, record keeping, project management, product sourcing, etc.. These days there are various free cloud services to assist you with various aspects of your business.
Know when NOT to use technology.
Technology is not the answer for every problem. Be open to the right solution for each problem, whether it’s technology or paper and pen. Every day, find time to turn technology off and interact with your customers, staff and family. Make time to get in touch with yourself.
Back up data.
Hard drives crash and computers have breakdowns, usually at the most inconvenient and busiest times. Make it one of your resolutions to move all your files to the cloud, for automatic backups.
Take time to think. It’s easy to get so busy we stop thinking about our business. So regularly, ideally every day, stop and think about what you’re doing, what you’re saying, how you’re saying it. The busier you are, the more important it is to pause, catch your breath, and reflect.
Hire more help.
Sure, it takes time and energy to train employees, and money out of our pockets, but evaluate whether you might actually make more money if you had someone to take over some of your non-income producing tasks.
Help employees to grow.
Help employees grow by letting them make decisions, do things their way, and sometimes make mistakes. In the long run everyone takes ownership of the growth of your business.
Finally, let’s all find ways to have our businesses help others. Let’s make it a year in which we add to the wealth of our beautiful country, not just in monetary terms but in terms of kindness, sharing, lending a hand, and giving others opportunity.
Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
Miemie Theron @ Rietmark