Each year presents itself with its own unique challenges and 2020 was no different, by far. Amidst intense pressure and changes, the learning curve required this year has been staggering. We all do things daily that we never imagined just one year ago. For essential workers like my husband, that involves a more peaceful commute and wearing a mask at work all day. For the work-from-home crowd, it involves considerably less physical human interaction and more video calls than ever before.
Carlson Integrated has been in business for exactly three and a half years today.
The first two and a half were full of the typical bumbling that occurs when one starts a new business – defining, then redefining, then refining strategy; creating roles and processes, and then reallocating those roles and processes to fit client needs and team skills; creating the workspace and the rhythms of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.
In the past year, however, we have grown tremendously. With the challenges 2020 brought to us, it also delivered opportunities in several significant areas. Perhaps some of these resonate with you.
- Technology adoption. With the transition to virtual meetings and collaboration internally, we have utilized more tools than ever before to create cohesiveness as a team. We have incorporated conversations regarding best practices into our team meetings. We share new technologies, attend webinars, make recommendations. Externally, we see clients embracing digital marketing strategies and working diligently to incorporate new technology into their lifestyles. We even helped a client set up their family’s Thanksgiving Zoom call; I love using technology to create meaningful connections!
- Flexibility and adaptation. As we brought on new clients, our suite of services evolved to incorporate elements that had never been advertised, though easily within our skill set. Incorporating new strategies and tactics for our clients has heightened our need to manage workflow and expand core competencies. Each member of my team has grown measurably. Their understanding of our clients’ needs, their attention to detail, and our cumulative ability to execute marketing plans drawing on the strengths of each team member is tremendous.
- Incorporating fun. With the onset of household pressures and e-learning (we are mostly moms of school-age kiddos, in case you were not aware), it became glaringly evident this fall that one of the things missing from our organization was fun. We still move through our meeting agendas in a decisive manner, but we take more time to commiserate and to laugh, now. This is absolutely crucial, and I am awed by the way our team has supported each other through some pretty harrowing personal experiences this year.
- Networking and relationships. It seems strange to admit because we may be an anomaly, but our network of clients and referral sources, and all-around relationships, have grown astronomically this year. I don’t think it’s because I’ve hosted webinars or events (though I have) or because of various leadership positions I hold (though I do), or even because our social media outreach is consistent and intentional (though it is). I think the growth is a direct correlation to the opportunities that have surfaced to network online. I had never done it before, but over the past 8 months I’ve developed the confidence that I can add value to new relationships. That I can hear their stories and connect them with other great people and organizations. That I can answer the phone when someone calls who found us online or was referred to us, and eventually consider them a client AND a friend.
There are a lot of ideas out there as to how 2021 will go. I do not have a forecast, but I do know this: if we continue building on what 2020 has brought us and open our minds and hearts to learn and grow, it will be a really cool year.