What's with the odd title?
Last August, I wrote about my firm's anniversary in Will This Be On The Test? and how COVID-19 had forced changes on everything – people, businesses, social service agencies, and governments. I'd expected we'd be almost completely back to normal in the next twelve months.
Now, the Delta variant has brought back mask mandates, regardless of vaccination status, for everyone in public settings in Guilford County. Even though we now have three highly effective vaccines available to us, large numbers of people have still not been vaccinated – and until we achieve herd immunity, the novel coronavirus has opportunities to mutate into something even more infectious and more transmissible than the Delta variant.
So, twelve months later, here we are, still with significant uncertainty about the course of the virus and its impact on the economy.
As Yogi Berra would say, "It's deja vue all over again!"
Still Learning, After All These Years!
Fortunately, things ARE better for Todd Herman Associates (THA) this time around. Our twelve-month trailing revenue is up 20% versus the same measure last year. Even though we still are not where we were, things are definitely moving in the right direction. More importantly, I'm extremely thankful to be able to write this e-newsletter because I and those around me, both at home and at work, are still healthy.
In fact, THA turned 32 years young at the start of this month! Reflecting over the past year, here are a few business lessons that stood out for me.
- Filling the Pipeline Remains a Challenge – The pandemic lengthened the already-long lead time of a complex sale because in-person group activities only recently resumed, and now Delta may shut them back down.
- Staff Transitions Are Never Easy – Replacing my Business Development Associate (BDA) a couple months ago took time and effort to find, screen, and audition candidates, and onboard and train our new BDA.
- "Directed Marketing" Really Works! – This term – coming from The 1-Page Marketing Plan – means targeting prospects very narrowly, then directly reaching out electronically. LinkedIn Sales Navigator allowed me to find our new BDA!
- Preventing Mistakes Beats Fixing Mistakes – My new BDA made several mistakes because procedures had gaps or did not exist, giving me an opportunity to better document, simplify, and error-proof several key processes.
- Cash Is King! – Years ago, a CFO told me “The CFO’s job is to make sure the business never runs out of money!" Fortunately, THA had available capital to weather things out.
Overall, the past 12 months provided me chances to personally learn and grow, and to strengthen THA. I guess some things do get better with age!
Todd L. Herman