So, its officially the end of 2018 and it's been a roller coaster of a ride. Many ups, ups so high I was afraid of the ride down, and lows that reminded me of what a great place we live.
1. The years of the free ride on Facebook ended. Our organic reach hit an alarming low > we knew it was coming and facebook is a business after all, we all can only give away so much for free. In an effort to increase positive interaction with the platform, business reach hit a low, with personal and group pages getting additional reach and business pages being limited.
So, when life changes, business strategy changes, you have 2 choices, be a shark or be a fish.
2. The year of giving. This year I wanted to give even more than I ever had, but not just in money to charity, or old clothes and food, I wanted to teach a man to fish, rather than just give a fish. I gave away more learning, teaching and time than I have ever given. With all of that, I taught people to fish and I was there to help them pull the line. It has been wonderful to see so many people engage and learn to get online in a comfortable way. I spoke at Okotoks Business Association, YYCSocialBreakfast, McBride Career Group and charged nothing, was paid nothing... It was worth it. Stay tuned in 2019 as I plan to give more.
3. Competition changed, but my way of seeing it changed more. This morning a great person said to me, during a talk about competition, that the energy negativity and worry has around competition makes it fail, makes it difficult. (I won't quote her incredible words, as I would hate to slaughter them). We cannot change that we will have competition, but if we spend time focusing on their business, rather than our own, we won't ever get ahead. We are all individuals, when we own what we do great, and focus on that, we can always succeed.
Competition is healthy, there are no ways around it, it created honesty and integrity within us and our business, makes us push a little harder and be more innovative. Competition is healthy for more than just our business, but also for our future and our clients.
4. We are all responsible for our community. We can speak quietly and hope someone is listening or we can speak loudly and hope we make a change. Not just as a business owner, but as a member of the town.
5. The town sucks but sometimes I suck too. I fought, got angry, lost my cool and spent time wondering if I had made the right decision. The Town made errors, yes, many errors, and make buying a commercial space to be an unwelcoming event in a place where they are trying to attract business. The processes are unclear, the communication is unclear and some people in the front line are unclear of the process, making it even harder for business owners. While I may have shaken the hornets nest, the politics in the town can be stronger than one person. I would rather lose opportunities because I stood up than be silent when something needs to be heard. I have lost opportunities because I spoke up, but I like to think it was in exchange for chances that change will come.
6. I still hate video. I know its a trend and only going to grow, but I still think my voice sounds horrible on video so I may need a plan B. Yes, video will still continue to grow, SEO, search and social will continue to be strong... I will have to learn how to love my voice.
7. I'm flipping the table. I know chatbots will be a thing, they already are and that we will continue to see automation but I am planning on going a different route for as long as I can. I want to take it back to something we loved, customer service, personalization and attention. Wish me luck, as I get busier, it can be harder but I want to go back to a simpler day and balance out the online and offline worlds.
8. If you build it, they will come. I love having a space, it amazing how many friendly faces stop by and say hi. I no longer feel alone at home, isolated or tired of seeing the same 4 walls all of the time. I get to collaborate, have coffee, hear music in towne square (circle) and be a part of our community. I love the people that have come to use the space and rent the boardroom and I have the best group of people renting spaces with me.
What will 2019 bring... gosh, I wish I had more of an idea what 2019 will bring, every year amazes me. I hope for a stronger economy, while still keeping our passion for giving. I anticipate change with our Town > I hope they start hearing us and making changes and finally, I hope to see incredible collaboration and ideas emerge from our local businesses.