So what did Diane Connor and her business partner, Kevin, decide were their 3 Must Do’s in 2011 to maintain their forward momentum?

1)       “Have Faith In Yourself – and Your Customers”. 

Initially when Diane ran into the problem I wrote about last week with a major client she said, “I thought that we had failed.  But we were responsive and took care of the problem and that’s why they’re still with us….”

Diane learned to trust the strength of her relationships – and will continue to cultivate them going forward.  She recognizes, like many of the CEO’s with whom we work and whom we know, that her customers and the input and support they give are crucial to her business’ success.

“Through the feedback they give us, they’ll also help to refine our offerings which we must do if we’re going to be successful in the year ahead.”

2)      Get an outside perspective – and recognize that we all have something to learn – and to give…

“The biggest benefit to being part of a Think Tank was the great advice and guidance I got from the other CEO’s who are part of my group.  The experience that they brought to the table and the reminder that our service and what we do is valuable – that was a real confidence booster.”

She also got lots of ideas about how to keep her employees engaged and morale up despite the downturn (like keeping keeping them up to speed in weekly meetings on what was going on) and is committed to developing her own leadership skills even more in the year ahead.

“If I don’t grow, my business won’t grow,” she states.  It’s that simple.

And finally?

3)      Don’t give it away

Diane also had a big “aha” after talking with many of their customers.  Turns out that they were “giving away” a lot of what their customers valued in the consulting that comes along with their service.  She and Kevin really didn’t understand that theirexpertise in the area of branding and marketing was a big part of why people did business with them.

Going forward, they’ll be re-fining their business model to incorporate the learnings from the last couple of years.  And making sure that it includes the time and expertise that they bring to the table as part of their value proposition.

As they look at their year-end results, Diane is optimistic – AND has her focus and priorities established. 

“We finished last year 50% ahead of ’09 and we’re back on a growth trajectory.  Now it’s up to us to keep the momentum going!”

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