As we close out 2013, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the year past and share some lessons learned.

To our longtime, new and hopefully soon-to-be clients, we extend a heartfelt thank you and happy New Year! We appreciate your loyalty and trust, and are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside you in growing your business.

As we look forward to 2014, our firm has much to be thankful for. Notable is celebrating our 10 year anniversary and partnering to launch our 40th startup venture. These are very special milestones made possible for two reasons. First, we are lucky to partner with trusting, loyal clients who seek impactful ways to grow their businesses. Second, we have a dedicated team with a relentless focus on continuous improvement and innovation – in their own practice and on behalf of our clients.

It’s incredibly humbling and rewarding to work alongside people with such great passion, energy and commitment to grow their business. Like you, we look to improve everyday. Our office motto is “we can do better.” How do you get better every day? By learning from what you did yesterday and what others are doing around you. That growth mindset is what helps us produce higher quality results for our clients.

Below, we have compiled some of our lessons learned throughout the year to help you keep moving onward and upward in 2014.

Lessons Learned 2013

Work on your business, not in it.

My mentor once told me, “You need to find ways to consistently grow your business, not just when things slow down.” We advise our clients on this regularly, but I know how hard it can be to think about business tomorrow while doing business today. I make it a point to set aside regular time to think about strategy and plan for the future – even when we’ve got a full pipeline of projects.

Act entrepreneurial.

No matter the size of your organization, you can take steps to foster an entrepreneurial environment. How? Encourage debate and support calculated risks. Next, monitor and evaluate the results of those experiments so they inform your next move. Innovating after careful consideration will move your business forward.

Be a student.

Yes, this means you’ve got homework to do. You know a lot already, but new preferences, technologies, and markets develop daily. It’s critical to your success that you’re in the know. Get coffee with the smartest person you know. Read publications within your industry. Explore new developments in other fields to spark new ideas. By continuing to learn you can ensure you and your company remain relevant.

Know your strengths.

You’re good at a lot of things, but what are you best at? Get better at it. This doesn’t mean you can ignore your weaknesses. But to stand out in a crowded market, you have to be the best at something. By knowing, improving, and promoting your strengths you can be a market leader.

Move away from the pack.

It’s tempting to let your competitors drive your market positioning. After all, they’re what you have to worry about right? Not exactly. You should always know what they’re up to, but you should be primarily focused on clearly communicating your value. That’s what your clients want to know, and that’s what will help you stand out in your marketplace.

Best wishes and look forward to working together in the new year!

What are the lessons you have learned? Share in the comments section below.

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