It’s already the 2nd last day of the year and it’s funny because usually the end of the year does hint that my birthday is fast approaching so it really concludes by life for a certain age and for this year, it’s the age of twenty five.
Let me start off by saying that this year has been a really amazing year.. Truly crowned with Goodness (as declared in church in faith at the start of 2011). The miracles & blessings that God has showered us with have certainly far exceeded our expectations and He just made Himself seem MORE REAL & FAITHFUL than ever before. Amen.
As I was looking through the little blog posts that I posted here, I think it’s evident that my faith in Him has grown even more stronger and why shouldn’t it? When He has left His footprints all over my life!
2011 for our company, Zion Global Marketing Pte. Ltd. has been nothing short of a great year.
1. We ran another successful internet marketing seminar in June which garnered great reviews!!
We had close to 200 participants again and were blessed to receive many written and video testimonials after the event. Sad to say, our video camcorder became corrupt and we lost more than 20 video testimonials left for us for the event. (It was a REAL bummer.)
2. We created and launched over 30 brand new digital products in the form of ebooks, video training courses and digital reports for internet marketers!
3. We launched our first Clickbank product, Affiliate Earnings Booster together this year!
4. We generated a mid 6 figure income for the 4th year running! (Praise God! Now that’s a real feat based on the small, close-knit team we have..)
5. [Only Internet Marketers Would Know] Our products were voted WSO of the Day in the Warrior Forum a total of 12 times (in just 6-9 months I think), generating more than $300k in sales over the same period of time and Calvin’s the Top 5 Most Popular Sellers on Warrior Plus!
We did go through “several bumps” earlier this year but I believe that those bumps helped us become more clear of and redefined our vision, mission and even direction, especially for the coming year. The truth is, Calvin and I did go through several learning lessons this year which caused us time, effort, heartache (sometimes) and even despair.
But at the review that we did yesterday of our entire year as a company, as business partners and as a couple, we had nothing but thanksgiving for God’s guidance in riding us through the storms (lol.. it’s actually not as bad as it sounds)
The important lessons we learnt corporately which I’ll like to share with you:
#1 Importance of Clear Communication
We know of its importance (definitely.. especially after running the business for the past 3-4 years) but this lesson is a HARD lesson that never fails to come up. It’s as though.. we went through Stage 1 of learning how to communicate before and then Stage 2 and now Stage 3.. I like to think that Life has impromptu examinations that cannot be anticipated but you can certainly prepare for it.
– Communication with business partners
When you communicate as business partners, it’s a MUST to set aside your personal relationships (friends, lovers, family etc.) There shouldn’t be the GREY area where you both (or the group) tread dangerously in. Communication should be clear, concise and to-the-point and basically, if you have your own interests to protect or concerns, you should voice it out and do not assume that it’s mutually understandable. (That was a big mistake I made but thankfully, rectified).
– Communication with employees
It could be the fact that Calvin and I are rather inexperienced in employee management and perhaps that’s why it’s an area which we particularly learnt the most this year. Goodness, the supposed GOOGLE inspired office policy of fun, fun, fun then work is DEFINITELY too idealistic especially for small companies that strive on performance (yes, look at the tons of products we launched for this year.. we certainly are a performance-driven company.. haha)
When communicating with employees, in-house or outsourced, you have to be straightforward in your instructions, in your feedback and objective criticism. The mistake I made was I was overly sensitive and concerned about HOW the other person would feel when I directed him/her, when I corrected and when I reprimanded. I didn’t consider that the gravity of the issue outweighs my need of being nice. It didn’t help that the employees we had were of the same age group and that could have created a greater sense of familiarity and thus, developed that strong sensitivity towards their feelings. So when communicating, be objective.
#2 Be VERY Clear of Your Vision, Mission and Direction
When you are clear of the vision and direction you have for the company, you will steer the company towards projects and plans that will support this vision. Once, when Stuart Tan (our personal friend and business mentor) learnt of the projects that we were interested in starting, he asked “Is this aligned with your mission?” and we realized that it’s so important to determine if what you are working on is CONTRIBUTING to building the path towards your goal. If it isn’t, chances are you’re wasting your time.
Also, when you are very clear of these 3 important elements of your business, you will then avoid shiny, golden opportunities (that may seem to have tons of potential & even bring in lots of money but be at the expense of the resources for your other important “vision-building” projects).
#3 Black & White
Everything has to be in black & white. You have to draft contracts and binding agreements to safeguard your business and company against ANYTHING that can potentially jeopardize your company. Calvin likes to say, the closer the relationship, the MORE you should draft a binding contract in black & white, simply because more is at stake and having it in black and white just makes the expectations from both sides legal and transparent.
#4 Always Set A Budget & Prioritize Expenditures
I think we particularly did well this year in this area for planning for our seminars, calculating the monthly costs of the company as well as for our major renovation overhaul. Setting a budget is NOT meant to limit you to a number to work with at the end of the day but it helps you be aware of what the revenue and expenses are. It’s also important to prioritize expenditures, whether for investment, for marketing, for employee welfare.. etc. The thing is, when you know what the expenditures are and for what purposes will allow you to evaluate the value of those expenditures and make adjustments in future.
#5 Hire the RIGHT People for the RIGHT Purpose
This is one precious lesson that I feel any business owner should sit up, listen and READ. Hire the right people. The mistake that Calvin and I made was we were not clear of the expectations of the employees we set out to hire. Moreover, we did not DEFINE their roles nor did we drill down to the basic expectations and key performance indicators.
Worse was.. we tried to make our company revolve around our employees and tried to create work for them to do RATHER than have our company’s direction, vision and mission CENTRAL and have all operations, staff, projects and plans revolve around it. And see if the people we had in the company were the RIGHT people.
The people we had hired were great people with their own strengths BUT we failed to consider the job fit during the hiring process.
Be clear of WHY you are creating a position and hiring. Be clear of what kind of person you are looking to hire. Be clear of the VALUES you want the person to have and if it is in line with your own and your company’s. Do not be swayed by the resumes, the presentations, the first impressions as well as the promises.. Run multiple rounds of interviews. Two is the bare minimum. Go up to 3-4 if needed.
PHEW~ Can’t believe I’m done! I have taken 1 hour to write this far!!
As for US two… the IMLovebirds (this is a cute name that Calvin came up with! I just have to tell!!)….
We made full use of the time this year to play hard and work hard.
We got ourselves a XBOX 360 Kinect! Haha.. and tons of games to play over the weekends… travelled to Hong Kong twice this year because we simply love the people, food and shopping there! We didn’t venture to too many places this year and the past few years simply because we couldn’t afford to be away when we had in-house employees in the office. haha..
Last but not least….
WE GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!
Well… I couldn’t have said YES without this beautiful ring could I? 😛
After 5 years and 9 months of dating, he finally popped the question on his birthday! It’s truly a MILESTONE for the both of us.. and really, whenever I think back of how we started off this journey together, I really really start to tear…
We started dating in University in our sophomore year that was in 2006 and he learned about internet marketing in Nov-Dec ’06.. He kinda forced me to read the IMC guide book and learn about internet marketing along with him. I had zero passion but when I saw the desire he had to get this venture going, I followed. We don’t come from rich families and we decided to stop all our part-time student jobs (he was a freelance sales promoter at Singtel, our local telco & I was a full-fledged tutor teaching 7 kids) and just focused on learning and mastering IM together, with whatever resources & money we had.
Bear in mind that we couldn’t afford a mentor at all!!
To cut the long story short, never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined that 4 years later.. we would accomplish this much for ourselves and our families. If it’s not God working in our lives through us.. I don’t know who is. 🙂
This 5+years together have been remarkable… And I can only imagine our married life together to be 10 times better.. *I hope* hahaha..
We have finally committed to making marriage plans and we’re now in the early stages of planning for our wedding and we have already seen His mark on us that this is His will and the wedding is happening in His time. We’re fully aware that we need our Abba, Father to continue guiding us in this next part of our adventure & journey and we commit this entirely to Him.
This is a moment truly of thanksgiving for 2011 and we will look forward to an EVEN MORE AMAZING 2012 ahead!
Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a WONDERFUL and BLESSED new year ahead and may 2012 open doors of opportunities for you in every area of your life!
Visualize your future because it is BRIGHT and continue working towards the goals you have set for yourself.
More success, joy and happiness to you!