There are few things more invigorating than a 2-day off-site annual review and planning session. Although this year we may have had to sacrifice the ‘off-site’ part to the COVID monster to appease its anger (like most other things in our lives), an annual planning session is always good for the soul. Working with our EOS implementor Jon Weening from Tribridge once again, we took a look at the past year and what we want the future to look like at Fireside. As usual, I’m sharing some of this with whoever is interested to see what we’ve been up to and where we’re hoping to go this year.
2020. What a year!
Although most of the world sees 2020 as a train wreck and something to put behind us, we are fortunate to not have to see it that way. We definitely consider ourselves blessed. We didn’t lose a single hour of full-time pay, even though we lost some key contracts for a couple of months while everyone figured out how to move forward and many of the projects in our sales pipeline were lost as people were hesitant to undertake a new venture or risk spending unnecessary money.
During this period, we were able to push through with the cash on hand and the projects we did have on the go, step back and improve some of our processes, focus on learning more about finances; cash flow forecasts, budgets etc and focus on improving our data to guide future decision making. During the summer we also incorporated our business and are now Fireside Inc.
Working from home was an adjustment and has its ups and downs of course. I am a big fan of working together in a shared workspace whenever possible. Call me old school but I feel like the small inconvenience of having to start a Zoom meeting every time you want to communicate in a somewhat collaborative way is a huge hindrance that gets in the way of real creative collaboration and effective problem-solving. Focus is easier from home in some ways, but in other ways, distractions are plenty and accountability becomes a challenge. But, we had no choice so we’ve made the best of it – like everyone else.
Unaware of the massive shift ahead, we started the year with an aggressive income goal for 2020. We planned to put an increased focus on sales and bring in some new projects by getting a few new ideal clients. COVID changed that, and ended up being a blessing in disguise because the step back to work ON the business instead of IN the business was very beneficial. Despite this, we were still able to improve our overall income by 30% over 2019. After adding another team member and a couple of key freelancers to the mix and providing a raise to each employee, each quarter, we were still able to improve our overall net profit by 10 points, more than doubling our net profit percentage for 2019!
Our success in 2020 can be attributed to our focus on our ideal client and the opportunities that suit our core focus and our team’s willingness and ability to go with the flow and roll with the punches so to speak.
In 2021, our goal is slightly less aggressive, with a 25% increase in revenue and holding steady with our net profit. With our cash flow looking good, we plan to onboard a new Digital Marketing leader and a couple of part-time team members to help with workload management and expanding our digital marketing capabilities. This will mean a dip in profits at the beginning of the year as we get the new people settled in, with increased revenue as they allow us to take on more work. We’re looking to take on 3 new ideal clients this year, strengthen our relationships and services with our existing key clients and still fill things in with some smaller projects to get some quick wins.
In the backend, we’ll be making further strides with our financial picture to be able to see profit per income stream, which will really help us highlight areas for improvement and improve focus and start using our cash flow forecast to try to predict the future by running hiring/firing scenarios, best/worst-case scenarios for various decisions etc. We’ll also be improving our scorecard – being strategic about identifying the actions that lead to us hitting our goals and measuring them over time to track our progress and identify issues.
For employees, we’re going to try to look at an incentive program that rewards us for hitting goals and see whether employee benefits make sense for us.
And of course, as always, it’s continual improvement. We’re always tweaking our systems, trying to be more efficient and offer better services to our clients.
Now you know!
Cheers to your success in 2021, however, you choose to define it.