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First of all “Happy New Year” to all of our wonderful clients, business partners, colleagues and readers.

Mark and I are looking forward to 2011 with a great deal of excitement – both for what we are planning in our own business and lives, and for how we can help you to grow your own businesses this year.

As many of you know, last year brought us new opportunities mixed with our fair share of challenges. While these, unfortunately, did impact on our projects with some of you, we have also learnt a huge amount from these as well.

When we sat down on New Year’s Eve to review 2010 and set our plans and goals for 2011, we realised that it has in fact been the things that didn’t go to plan that have resulted in the most positive changes. My Grandfather used to say that “Everything happens for a reason and whatever is, is best!”. I often repeat this mantra to our children but it was in the last few months that it has really rung true for us.

Let me explain what I mean and why this is important for you….

The last 12 months has seen massive growth in our business with new products, partnerships and clients. While this has been exciting and invigorating it also brought with it a new level of workload.

Sometimes as a business owner you get so focussed on building your business that you lose sight of your original goals with that business.

From the very start of our first home based business in 2003, our intention (and plan) has always been to build a business that allows us both financial and time freedom. In particular having both the time and money to chose where we worked and when, to travel extensively while running our business from our laptops, and to have the flexibility to spend time with our children (all 5 of them) and their extended families when we wanted to and, importantly, when they needed us the most.

In 2010, family, health and travel all collided with our business workload and commitments. As our business grew we were faced with the challenge of managing this growth while still delivering high customer satisfaction and quality service. The ability to successfully ‘scale up’ is a challenge for all growing businesses but particularly so when it’s only you, or the two of you (in our case) that are the business. When ill health or a family tragedy hit (or both as happened to us), then the juggling game can get over whelming. I wrote another blog post of our particular circumstances late last year and why it’s so important to plan for such occurrences here.

But, as Grandad said “Whatever is to be will be and whatever is, is best”, and we realised that we had two choices when the challenges struck – get over it or get out. Failure is not in our vocabulary and our business is too valuable to us –so we needed to get up and get over it.

Yes we did need to go into crisis management for a time. We did need to explain to our customers that our personal situation may impact their projects and, most importantly, we did need to learn some lessons and re-structure our business to prevent this type of impact in the future.

Out of the challenges we have a new business structure and a new excitement in our business that had disappeared some-what in the craziness of growth last year. This is where it gets exciting for all of you.

First and foremost, to the business owners amongst you, we hope you will learn from our experience and benefit from instigating some of the changes we are making into your own business model. Zoe will be posting more about the tools and systems we are using over the next few months with videos to help you use this technology.

Secondly, we have redesigned our business to allow for rapid growth this year while actually delivering more to our clients. We have already partnered with other companies to provide services and hired 3 new staff for our Social Media Services and Management Team. We are already implementing new technology to streamline our business processes to cut down on delivery times while maintaining our high levels of service but, most importantly, freeing Mark and I up to learn more, implement more and share more.

This will mean that I can focus on Seminars, speaking and training (where my true passion lies), and Mark can focus on packaging our products, quality control and project management – while we both have time to develop new skills.

Social Media Marketing is evolving and, by it’s very nature, requires us to be continually learning and adapting. We intend growing our team of specialised social media assistants throughout the year and training them in all that we learn.

Zoe will no longer be personally managing social media accounts for any clients (beyond the contracts we already have). All work will be under our watchful eyes, but we have discovered we can very effectively train staff to perform these tasks as well as Zoe can. In fact the new team members out type both of us so they are faster at this job and are able to deliver more tasks in the same amount of time. Truly a win-win situation for us and all of our clients.

We will be introducing you to your individual Social Media Assistant when you sign (or re-sign) with our Management services. For those of you that are still considering getting help with your Social Media Marketing, you can see the full range of services we now have available on our www.SocialMediaShortCut.com website.

On that note, we have exciting developments in the re-launch of the SocialMediaShortCut course as a live and recorded event, we will be travelling extensively to deliver Social Media and Internet Marketing trainings and Zoe is finalising arrangements for a 7 seminar series with two of Australia’s top Female Social Media Specialists! (Note from Zoe – Sooooo Awesome! Details to come very soon.)

So to all of you planning your next 12 months – remember to reflect on what was great about last year along with the things you would chose to do differently and do just that!

Make 2011 YOUR YEAR!

And if all this Goal Setting and New Year’s Resolutions talk is getting too much, take some time out and enjoy this song by @RhettandLink :

We’d love to hear your goals and dreams for this year along with the lessons you learnt from 2010 by either leaving a comment here or over on our Facebook Page:
http://www.Facebook.com/MarkandZoe and make sure to like the page if you haven’t already and share with your friends – thanks ;-)

Have an Awesome Year!