It’s a new year, and all of us at Lemonly are already heads down designing beautiful stories for our clients. However, we did step away from our computers at the end of 2015 to catch our breath and look ahead to what 2016 might look like.
I’m a firm believer that you must spend time setting goals and creating a vision for your year ahead. Personally, I do this every year by setting My Four Words for the year (this year, they are authentic, gratitude, communicate, and decisive). To successfully plan for the year ahead, you first must look at the year past.
The past year was full of growth and change for Lemonly. At times we experienced a few growing pains, but overall 2015 was an awesome year.
What worked for Lemonly in 2015:
- New Office — This was a huge change and was harder on everyone than I would have guessed. Change is just hard. A new place means new routines, new desk setup, and in our case, the office move also meant ongoing noises from hammers and drills. Ultimately, the office move was a great thing, and Lemonly has a sweet home for years to come.
- Establishing our Systems and Processes — We invested a lot of time and money into crystallizing our systems and processes in 2015. We completed our 1,000th project last year and now have a well-oiled process to create visual stories that are both compelling and effective for our clients. We’ve maximized efficiencies and created a process where every member of the team knows what they’re doing and their role in the system.
- Emphasis on Strengthening Relationships – Lemonly turned four years old in 2015, and we have some clients who have been with us for nearly our entire existence. In 2015, we worked hard to continually improve the client experience at Lemonly and put a strong emphasis on receiving feedback from our clients. This was recognized by our inclusion on Entrepreneur’s e360 list.
What Didn’t Work in 2015:
- New Office Transition – Yes, the new office appears on both lists. The new office is a win for 2015, but the transition from old office to new office was difficult and could have gone better. I think these transitions are difficult no matter what, but I could have done a better job communicating and delegating responsibilities to the team. Also, I need to learn that development contractors are rarely, if ever, on time!
- Having Hard Conversations – This is an area of improvement for me in 2016. Having hard conversations is well… hard. But it’s part of my job. Hard conversations can come with colleagues, clients, vendors, or even family and friends. I like to be liked and am not a person who seeks conflict. I don’t have to be bully, but I need to be honest, authentic, and forthright in business and life.
Lemonly in 2016
By looking back at 2015 and seeing what worked and what didn’t, a few obvious goals and trends emerged for the new year, and I wanted to share where we’re headed in 2016.
- More Growth – Lemonly has grown every single year, both in revenue and in size (which in a service company is almost in parallel), and we hope to do so again in 2016. The key is that as we continue to grow in every aspect, we must maintain our culture, creativity, and ability to move quickly. This is a fun challenge!
- Adjust to the Evolution of Visual Storytelling – One trend we discuss often at Lemonly is the stretching of visual content on both ends of the spectrum. What I mean is that we continue to see the format of visual content get both longer in the form of immersive visual journalism and shorter in the form of microcontent like GIFs, illustrated quotes, and bites of data viz. We want to stay in Lemonly’s niche of visual storytelling, but we’re excited with the challenge of this evolving industry.
- Do More with Less – Every firm wants to do more work with fewer clients. Our emphasis on relationships in 2015 has allowed us to dive deeper with our clients. We’ve realized the value of getting to know our clients better, their business, their strategy, and their strengths and weaknesses. We’ve helped our clients get better, and they have done the same for us. I’m anxious to continue this trend in ’16.
- Make a Lemonly a Household Name – If you’re reading this on the Lemonly blog, then you’ve obviously heard of Lemonly, but we want everyone to know about the little design firm on the prairie. Through content marketing, speaking, and a few other tricks up our sleeves, we want to create some buzz around Lemonly. You can help us by keeping in touch with Lemonly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Get ready for some fun content!
We’re already 13 days into 2016 (3% of the year). Thankfully, it IS a leap year so we have 366 days to get these things done. We better get to work. Let’s do this.