Wow! It’s hard to believe that 2017 is over already. What a year it’s been! I’m so excited that our business is doing well, so happy that we have had such wonderful clients, and feel so blessed by everything that has happened in the past year. Every time I tell John that I feel so lucky with how our business has blossomed and grown, he reminds me about how much work we’ve put into this, but I still can’t help but feeling that we’ve been in the right place and the right time, known the right people, and have just generally been very fortunate in how everything has just managed to work out so well.
There’s so much that has changed over just one year in our business, and I wanted to spend some time reflecting on what has happened. (I also wanted to share it all here because, quite frankly, I love reading the same sort of messages from other small business owners.)
So, without further adieu, here are some of the highlights of what’s happened over the past year.
Staff and Contractors
I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that the most exciting part of 2017 for both of us was bringing John Craig in full time. What this meant for us was twofold:
- First, we were able to provide our customers with some services that we couldn’t while John was only working at MoonSoar part time – more of the big-picture marketing, better project management, and knowledge in online advertising.
- Second, it allowed me to focus more on graphic design, web design, and web development, where my strength lies.
We also had the opportunity to work with a few contractors in both development and translation areas. This allowed us to make the website creation process much smoother for our clients, and I’m hoping to be able to connect with a couple of other contractors in related fields to bring in more value for our clients.
We started 2017 with six major service categories:
- web design
- creative design
- emergency website service
- accessibility consultation
- email design
- analytics reporting
Overall, I think having so many options available was overwhelming, and about as clear as much to potential clients about what we do. We’ve decided to refine a few of them, combine a few others, and flesh out another one so it’s easier to learn more about our services (and the benefits they provide) and to find exactly what someone is looking for. We’ve narrowed it down to:
- web design (including our emergency website service and accessibility consultation)
- graphic design
- online marketing (including email design, analytics reporting, and our new online advertising offerings)
After our client experiences from this past year, we’re also in the midst of creating an often requested strategy consultation and training service, and are considering a general website maintenance package.
We’re also looking at, over the next year, developing a few products that our clients and similar small and medium sized businesses could really benefit from.
The time between Christmas and New Years was spent fleshing out our on-boarding process. We want to make it easier for our clients to work with us, to get information and assets to clients, and to make the review process go more smoothly. We’ve also been working on tweaking and massaging a number of the QA, browser/mobile testing, and accessibility areas of the design and development of websites to make sure we provide our clients with websites that meet their needs.
Over the past year, we’ve looked at a number of Project Management apps, and are currently working with Trello to manage all of our client projects. While it doesn’t have every single feature we would like (*cough* Gantt charts *cough*), it does provide a very easy way to collaborate between our team, our clients’ team, and any contractors that we may have.
What I’ve Learned This Year
One of the biggest things I’ve learned this year is how important it is to get myself out there and meet people. The majority of the clients that we’ve signed this year have been because we met them in person, or because they knew someone who knew about MoonSoar Services. I will fully admit that I didn’t do as much networking the second half of the year as I should have, but going forward into 2018, I’m already looking into different options for regular networking, and am joining an online mastermind group to help with that.
This coming year is going to be good. My big focus for 2018 is to strengthen relationships with our existing clients. I also want to really build awareness of MoonSoar Services in Cambridge, Ontario. I feel like, with the local Gaslight District project that’s around the corner, there will be a lot of small and medium sized businesses that need our flagship service – creating strategic websites that aren’t just pretty, but that actually contribute towards business goals. I want to help these companies grow, and am excited to see what we can do and who we will meet over the next year.