Posted by Brandon Copeland
2017 was a big year for me. In July, I took the plunge and started a business I have dreamed about for a long time – Urban East. The move was aided by an already established network in the industry, a bit of funding, and some leads on projects that I managed to line up shortly after launch. I consider my first five months in business to have been a success. Already, Urban East has managed to be involved with a very serious project focused on bringing an innovation hub to the downtown core and has worked on two different municipal heritage projects, Meanwhile I have personally had the opportunity to moderate a panel at a major heritage conference.
All that said, there is still much work to do. With 2018 rolling in, it seems like an appropriate time to evaluate where my business is, where it is going, and what I would like to accomplish this year. I also thought that I might try to analyze what makes a good business goal versus a lousy business goal. In a sense this post acts as a way for everyone else to hold me accountable – while I’m not going to get into ALL of my business resolutions, I do have several that are related to my presence and messaging that we can absolutely follow up on in December to ensure that I’ve followed through. What better accountability than pressure from others, am I right?
WHAT MAKES A GOOD NEW YEARS RESOLUTION
I think that there are three components to a resolution that make it valuable. First, it needs to be measurable and monitorable. This notion very much comes from my background in project management, but it is a pretty standard concept. A measurement provides a way to track progress and determine success. “Make more money” may be a good goal, but it is vague. “Make $20,000 more than last year” allows you to very easily track your success, as well as how close to achieving your goal you are every time you check in.
Secondly, it needs to be actionable. The resolution needs to have a defined way to accomplish it. It can be simple – if your goal is to increase revenue, then the action may be to “sell X number of product”. This makes you think about not just how to accomplish the goal, but how realistic it is to achieve it. Following up on the previous example, if you need to triple your capacity in order to sell the number of product required to "make $20,000 more than last year", then perhaps your expectations for productivity improvement need to be reviewed, or you need additional help and need to consider acquiring it ASAP. After all, there is very little sense in setting an impossible goal.
Thirdly, hold yourself accountable – but also have some idea for a small reward if you succeed. Holding yourself accountable can take several forms; for me, I’m posting my goals publicly so other people can call me out if I drop the ball. In terms of rewards though, that just makes sense. Everyone needs a little extra motivation, and if there is a reward at the end of the line… hey, aren’t we all more likely to pursue it?
SO WHAT ARE MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS?
Personally, I have three goals which I am going to share here in this post. I hope to come back in December and check on how I did.
- I need to capture more attention. I need to spread the word about what I’m doing. To date I’ve had very positive reception when I talk to people, but knowledge of what I am trying to accomplish is very much limited to my own network. To accomplish resolution, I am hoping to write 24 articles and blog posts this year (this counts as #1!). I’m also going to have 100 coffees… or pints… with people. These people can be in my network already, they can be new contacts, or they can be potential clients, but whoever they are I want to share my ideas, and ask them to connect me to someone else who might find some value in chatting with me. Lastly, I want to be involved with speaking at, or moderating, at least three conferences. I had a great experience with the Adapting Heritage conference, and have even had spin-off business inquiries from my minimal involvement. I want to replicate this again.
- In order to continue to grow, I need to be involved with more large-scale projects. Working on Common Ground this year was an amazing experience – so I’m aiming to try and be involved with at least three projects of similar scale. I feel I have the capacity to pursue this, and the financial benefit from this would allow me some room to greatly expand my business.
- I need to improve my productivity. I think this is achievable by being better at starting my day. I am going to start every day by pursuing relevant local news, and reading one motivational article about another entrepreneur. I think this will help me start the day with the right mindset (and gives me something fun to do while I sip my first coffee!) I also think that I would be more productive, and more accountable, if I was working with someone else. With that in mind, my hope is very much that by the end of the year I will have acquired either a partner or an employee, based on where the business is and what it needs at that time.
So there are examples of some of my resolutions, and how I intend to accomplish them. I have other ideas regarding revenue growth, and reworking aspects of my marketing… but those ones are for me. I hope that this quick look at resolutions might help others set some of their own. I also hope it will help you hold me accountable. Check back in December!
Oh, and if you want to help me achieve my 100 coffee goal, please reach out, and let's talk about how to grow business in St. John's through real estate!