We learn a lot with every test, win and fail that we go through. Here’s what stood out the most this year…
A couple of weeks ago, a blogger asked me — and several other founders — about the most valuable business lesson I learned in 2014.
It was an easy question to answer, because it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about this month.
A lot of things slow down around the holidays: folks go on vacation, we all take some time to celebrate and unwind, offices close. That’s why it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past year, and to plan for the year ahead.
We’re almost always at ground level, dealing with the day-to-day hustle of growing a business.
That’s why I always find this opportunity to slow down and zoom out so important.
Below, I’ll share my answer to the blogger’s question, and invite you to look back and think about your own growth and learning in 2014. I think we can have a very valuable discussion in the comments.
Here’s the Most Important Business Lesson We Learned in 2014
My response to the blogger (James at Wishpond) was this:
While blogging has been a cornerstone strategy for us for some time now, 2014 was the year we shifted nearly our entire marketing focus to content. We unapologetically culled distractions and got rid of anything that wasn’t generating a return for us (like Facebook), and tripled down on content with guest posting and a second blog focused entirely on customer support. Narrowly focusing our limited resources has helped us execute much better and get an even greater return on effort.
I think the important takeaway here isn’t necessarily that every business should blog, but that you shouldn’t chase tactics just because you’re “supposed” to be doing them. Instead, figure out what the highest-ROI channels and strategies are for your business, and focus completely on doing them as well as humanly possible.
I do want to amend one clarification to my response that I think is important: while your focus should be narrow, it should also be deep.
That is, doing the same thing over and over again (e.g., simply publishing blog post after blog post) isn’t focus. Not the good kind, anyway.
If your focus is on blogging, then you should focus on being the best damn blogger you can be, and that means going deep into everything that can make you a better blogger, including stuff that makes you uncomfortable: promotion, SEO, understanding traffic and metrics, lead generation, everything.
Of all the things we learned in 2014 — and there were many — this is the one that I still remind myself of every single day when I make decisions about what to do with my time. It drives our whole team.
What’s Your Biggest Business Lesson
This post is short, but that’s because it’s not really about Groove.
The reason I wrote this post is because it’s so easy to forget the things we learn and fall back into our old ways of doing things.
My hope is that this post serves as a reminder to step back and think about what you’ve learned this year, and how you’re going to consciously apply it to your business next year.
So with that, I’d love to kick off a discussion in the comments: what’s the most important business lesson you learned in 2014?