February 12, 2024

This year, we mean business.

2024: the first year I can safely say I’m done with fluffy resolutions but rather a determination to breakthrough and to create a shift in our business. This year, we mean business.

‍I believe that to achieve real growth, you need to identify gaps, weaknesses, harsh realities and drive determined through those. My hope this year is that everything we do is considered, measured and in line with our overarching strategy.

‍But growth is also not always defined by numbers. There is development that can’t be specifically measured. The intangibles. Bottom line is important, but so is our happiness and the way we do things, how much more skilled we are, how much stronger we are as a team. We’re ready to really grow personally and professionally.

‍But I’m done with toxic positivity.

‍Far too often, we read about how “delighted” we are, how “amazing” everything is and of course, there is room for that too! But, as business leaders we need to share our experiences openly and honestly and be real, so that we can grow together.

The people who inspire me most are those who uncover the harsh realities of business and speak about them openly. I am so much more engaged when I see business leaders being real; that is where I find answers to my most burning questions.

‍So here I am, being honest and letting you know where our focus lies this year:

1. You’re only as good as the work you do

If we’re not attracting the right brands and we’re not seen in the right places, we can’t continue to do great work. We’re currently developing an in-depth sales strategy, with plans to recruit a Business Development Manager in the future to support us with this. This also includes time-out to focus on our own business promotion across social media, blogging, events, awards, networking opportunities and more!

2. It’s ok to fail

Sometimes we catch ourselves in lengthy discussions about “what if” scenarios. We’ve been afraid to fail, and it means we’re reluctant to take risks. In 2024, we’re reducing our meetings and moving forward without the individual worry of making a mistake. We don’t make a habit of failing, but if we do (or when we do – it happens!) we talk openly and collectively to identify what went wrong, document it and make it better, together.

3. Data is queen

The age-old agency struggle: analysing our internal data – our billable hours, our resourcing, our schedules. We’ve onboarded to Productive and one month in, it’s already a game-changer, and I recommend it to any agency owner!

4. Debrief, debrief, debrief

We’ve incorporated a new Debriefing session after every project to help us assess our performance, but also to assess how the project made us feel, and what elements don’t serve the business well (whether that’s as profit or as people). This will help us be more selective about the work we take on and how we deliver that work too.

5. Performance

We’re completely revamping our performance marketing offering. We’re developing 6 and 12-month action plans for all our retainer clients and ensuring that our KPIs are measured and controlled against that plan. We’re also introducing a new internal performance monitoring framework, so that there is full transparency with our team’s performance and a clear reward structure. Shout out to HR consultant, Mark Mason who’s helping us with this!

6. Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity

I’m reading Agencynomics by Gallagher & Hoole, which explains that agency owners should never do any of the financial legwork, so this year, we’ve onboarded with a new accountant, Malone Accounting Services and moved to Xero within the past 6 months – and it has been a journey, to say the least! We wanted a collaborative relationship with our accountant that would help us see the bigger picture with our finances, and we have achieved that – thanks Aidan! I have more freedom to understand the figures and to set processes in place to ensure there are no nasty surprises during the year (everyone loves a VAT return!)

7. Growth, defined

We have analysed our services and identified new growth and improvement areas. We are investing heavily in team training and CPD plans for everyone to continually upskill and deliver best in class service for our clients. Watch this space!

8. Help, where it’s needed

We’re a full-service agency with a team of six. We can’t do it all, and we’re not shy about our fantastic freelancer network who still support us on projects from time to time – we’re looking forward to growing this network this year.

9. Culture

I’m a big believer in watching the team grow and supporting where they want to go both personally and professionally. Aligning strategy and culture, our Brand Communications Strategist, Charlotte has adopted Culture as part of her role, with an annual culture calendar in place, and regular check-ins to sense check the team vibe.

10. We’re only human

Running a business is tough. Life is tough. I’m a mum of three, my husband and I both run businesses, and I want to be a successful businesswoman. But I also want to be a present mum. Family comes first, and this is an ethos I share with the team. We have realistic expectations, and that’s important for our work-life balance and mental health.

‍In summary, I am “delighted” to say that our team is “amazing”, and I am “excited” about the year ahead. Positivity breeds positivity, but it’s important to be realistic about the journey.

A healthy balance is the perfect recipe for success IMO. Let’s go, 2024!