Each year at this time of year, I take time to sit down and review the year that passed before me personally. I’m a strong believer in the process of setting goals, and it’s only by reviewing your previously set goals that you can ascertain how you truly fared against them. Therefore this is a process I undertake every year.
Why do I bother blogging about this? Even if nobody ever reads this post, the act of writing it has encouraged me to do the good work of reviewing my year and setting some new goals for 2010. That said, I always receive e-mails and comments from people who either seek advice or have advice to offer based on what I post here, and that’s a good thing to me.
So how did I fare in 2009? This time last year I set myself some goals to travel, and I certainly met those (and more!) with trips to Houston, Dallas, New York, New Orleans, Orlando, Munich, Dublin, Edinburgh and more!
I set myself a goal of growing the business – and thanks to a merger we are now at seven members of staff and growing!
I also set myself a goal of looking after my general health and wellbeing a lot more than I did in 2008 – and I’m the first to hold my chubby hand up and say I failed to reach that goal by some margin in 2009. This has to change in 2010. There is an old saying that makes me laugh but is very serious, “Being Dead is bad for business”…
Here’s my review of 2009 broken into “the good”, “the bad” and “the ugly”:-
- I celebrated 5 years of being together with the GG, a relationship with the most patient and supportive woman I’ve ever met.
- I was closely involved with Microsoft in an amazing Windows 7 Ignite roll-out that saw a fun trip to Munich, Germany, and a full blown Video Crew visiting our office for an experience I’ll never forget. The subsequent Windows 7 videos featuring usstill keep surfacing!
- I hired a fantastic office manager who re-affirmed my faith in the ability to hire great employees.
- My company worked hard and passed its Accredit UK accreditation in Network Design & Infrastructure. This was the culmination of almost twelve months of work systemising, automating and putting processes in place around all aspects of our business, and the decision by the Assessor to pass us with flying colours for this IS0 9001-esque certification was a vindication of that hard work.
- I enjoyed a trip to Texas devoted entirely to spending time with my best friend and enjoying our terrible unspeakable and unfathomable passion for Pro-Wrestling. It doesn’t get much better than Wrestlemania!
- I visited Washington, DC during Cherry Blossom Season and got to see a truly interesting City with some fabulous friends.
- Whilst in Washington, DC I got to visit WOM Slam, made a bunch of new friends who I’ve remained in contact with, and realised that the reason I don’t enjoy business networking events is because I’m not attending the right business networking events!
- I got to present not once, but twice at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans. What’s more, the GG joined me on the trip to New Orleans and we had a blast with our friends in the SMB Community!
- I got to take the GG to visit my favourite place on earth, New York City, and enjoy a pub crawl with her around Greenwich Village that we’ll never forget!
- I attended my first Baseball game. Honestly, I’m still not sure what was going on down on the field, but it was a fun day with friends and I never tire of asking Baseball expert Dave Sobel to explain the rules to me just one more time.
- I made one of the biggest decisions of my short business owners career, as I agreed to merge Netlink IT with JamesCash.co.uk. The subsequent challenges were that both James and I had to make a quick adjustment to being “a boss” not “the boss”, which was uncomfortable, I had to make the decision to close our Birmingham office for a larger premises in Dudley, and we had to end some valued business relationships with suppliers I really consider friends. However, this was far outweighed by the good – the new company is already growing quicker than expected in a bad economy, I’ve found some fantastic new colleagues, and I’m spending more time doing the things I enjoy in the business than I was pre-merger. Most of all though, I didn’t realise just *how* stressful running a business alone is – post-merger I’ve now got two co-Directors in James and Mark who more than pull their weight and who are very supportive and positive.
- Ma Tubb was very proud of her baby boy (and made sure to tell all her friends of this fact!) as I (almost ludicrously at one point!) seemed to appear in the local press on a monthly basisfor one good thing or another.
- My relationship with my HTG 11 group and the greater HTG Community Worldwidewent from strength to strength. I’m now part of a group of not just fellow business owners, but some very close friends worldwide.
- I was nominated for the Computer Weekly Blog Awardsfor this very blog! I didn’t win in the end, but it was nice to think one or more of the readers of this blog took the time to both nominate me and then vote for me.
- I turned 33 years old, and celebrated this fact in some style with friends and family!
- I had a great trip to Orlando, Florida for HTG and ConnectWise events. As a result of the merger, 2009 was the year I became a part of the ConnectWise IT Nation.
- I finally made time to sit down and do some legacy planning, complete with writing my will. Whilst this might seem a morbid process, it really helped me clarify just what, and more importantly who, are important in my life and what I’m striving to achieve. I highly encourage you to read Arlin Sorensens article on legacy planningas this was the catalyst for me to take action myself.
- Right at the end of 2009 I visited with CompTIA UK, and after just a single day with the group there, I think that I’ve found a group of fellow business owners that I’ll find great value from spending more time with in 2010.
- I’ve had more fun nights out with close friends in Birmingham than I can truly remember, as well as a brilliant night in my hometown of Birmingham with some American friends, a late night in Dublin with the HTG gang, and a crazy Stag-Do in Newcastle with some of the UK SMB Community!
- 2009 finished with a rowdy and great fun New Years Eve party at Chez Tubb where I was in my element, at home, surrounded with a load of my good friends to see in the New Year!
- I was forced to seriously question my on-line activities due to receiving some negative feedback. Positively though, the kind and generous feedback I had from friends during this time far outweighed that from people trying to drag me down. I’m still considering how best to continue in this new on-line world though – more to come in 2010.
- My waistline expanded for the 2nd year running, as much to my friends and families concern, I continued to sell my good health for business success – I suspect 2010 will quite literally be a make a break year for me on the Health front.
- My lovely little cottage in Wigan turned into something of an Albatross around my neck, as I visited it just once, yet kept seeing bills for all manner of things pour through the post during a year when money became tight.
- I had to cancel a trip to Las Vegas with my friends in favour of a big business opportunity – I’ve always wanted to visit Las Vegas, and I’m sure I still will, but it’s the people who keep you company on trips, not the place itself, that often makes for the most fun.
- I watched one of my favourite clients close their doors due to the recession. We only lost one client during 2009, a low number which is good, but it had to be some of the nicest and friendliest people I’ve ever worked with, which is very bad.
- The first Quarter of 2009 was quite literally the worst, in terms of turnover, I’ve ever experienced during my time of working for myself. Thank-Goodness for a small thing called Managed Services and recurring revenue for keeping our heads above water!
- I had to make the decision to dismiss two people in the past twelve months. Whilst on both occasions it was their foolish behaviour that caused the decision to be made, it didn’t make that decision any easier, especially around Christmas time. Looking for the positive, both decisions helped re-enforce my own commitment to my business and doing what’s best for it.
So there we have it – thanks to the global financial recession, many have had a terrible 2009. I won’t pretend that like others financially that this was my best year ever, but upon review I did so many fantastic things, with some many wonderful people, in so many incredible places, it was a great 2009!
Goals for 2010:-
As for 2010, I’ve got some very specific goals (remember to be SMART when goal setting) that I have put together as part of a really useful HTG review process, but to summarise my personal and professional goals:-
- Spend more quality time with the GG – even the most patient woman on the planet has her limits!
- See more of my friends & family by way of activities and events we all enjoy together.
- Create a personal financial budget and stick to it.
- Lose weight and regain fitness levels.
- Read more books for fun.
- Make time to re-visit hobbies I have enjoyed in the past, and to try out new hobbies.
- Enjoy the possessions I already own rather than buying new.
- Discipline myself to do a full weekly sweep of my goals to keep myself focused and on-track.
- Cut down the hours I work, and learn to take more breaks from work for other relaxing things.
- Reduce my own and my households Energy Usage and Carbon Footprint.
- Write blog posts aimed at helping others.
If you know me, do me favour and the next time you see me, ask me how I’m getting on with one or more of the above – the more people who ask me, the more accountable I am, and the more likely I am to strive for those goals to save the embarrassment of having to make excuses!
Here’s hoping you have a wonderful 2010!