Commit To Making 2018 The Year You Want It To Be

The year is coming to an end, and it’s time to reflect. It’s time to ask yourself: Do I want next year to be different or do I want more of the same? Do I want to grow or stay at this level? Is there something I’d like to work on that could make me a better leader? Are there classes or certifications that could make us a better company that offers better service? Is there a recurring issue in our company that we need to nip in the bud? Is it time to put systems in place?

Asking these questions and reflecting on the answers can bring enlightenment and awareness, but don’t stop at reflection — commit to the change you want to see. Don’t make a resolution — make a commitment. Don’t decide that you’ll try to do something, decide that you will do something.

We’ve heard the greatest minds say this, including our little green friend, Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” But knowing this doesn’t stop us from pretending, does it? It doesn’t stop us from half-heartedly setting resolutions or goals, without any sincere or thoughtful plan for execution. We do it all the time. We say “I’m going to start eating better.” But do we clean out the fridge and make sure that the house is filled with healthy food options? Or do we keep the bag of Cheetos conveniently within reach and justify ordering pizza “before the coupons expire?” There’s a difference between committing to change and hoping for change.

Intention Vs. Determination: What’s The Difference?

Think of a time when you really wanted to do something; when you felt like you’d just die if you didn’t do it. Did you do it? Now think of all the New Year’s resolutions you’ve made and not kept over the years. There was a difference in your mindset and your level of commitment, wasn’t there? What was the difference? One was a determination, while the other was an intention.Dandelion-Growing-In-The-Sidewalk

Intention will get you through the easy times, but when things get hard, you need more than that. You need resolve. You need commitment. You need determination. Intention only gets you halfway there. With intention, if it’s easy you may do it; with determination, even if it’s not easy, you’ll do it, or at least give it everything you’ve got. And really, that’s what determines your success: whether you push through in the hard times.

So put some thought and purpose behind 2018. Think about the changes you’d like to make, the goals you’d like to reach, and the things you’d like to accomplish, but personally and professionally — but take it further. Plan how you’re going to get there and put safeguards in place to help you maintain determination and drive when the going gets tough.

Tips To Help You Succeed This Coming Year

Here are some tips as you head into 2018 with intention and commitment:

  1. Brainstorm and write out some actionable steps you can take to get you closer to your goal. Start small and detailed. Breaking a goal down into actionable steps can take time, but the thought and planning invested up front will pay off greatly over the long run. If you only give yourself big, vague steps, you’ll feel overwhelmed and a bit aimless and unsure of what to do next. Visit this list regularly.
  2. Tell friends and family about your plans and ask them to hold you accountable and provide encouragement and support. We all need encouragement and a little extra push from time to time, but if no one knows what you’re trying to achieve, no one will be there to provide that support and push when you need it. So, share your vision and your plan. Tell your employees, your family, your friends — someone you know you can count on to provide tough love and hold you to your word.
  3. Start and end your day with focus and intention. Whether you write it on your bathroom mirror or just take a moment to think about your goal when you first wake up, you need to make sure it’s front and center in your mind at the start and close of your day. Keeping your eyes on the prize will help you stay focused and driven, day in and day out.
  4. Do it for future you. It may seem kind of silly, but think of the future you when you don’t feel like working towards your goal. Think of, not just reaching your goal, but how that will feel and what it will mean for your life, your family, your employees, and your community. With that in mind, you’ll have an easier time seeing the hard work through.
  5. Celebrate milestones and successes along the way. Don’t just celebrate when you reach the big goal — celebrate all the little victories, too. Taking the time to reflect on the progress you’ve made and enjoy how far you’ve come will help prevent burnout and give you a real sense of accomplishment that you might otherwise lack. Even if you don’t reach your end goal in the time frame set, if you celebrate all the successes along the way, you’ll see how much closer your hard work is getting you to your goal and have the zeal to keep up the hard work.

Are you ready to get started? An old Chinese Proverb puts it this way: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” There’s no time like the present — get to work! Best wishes for a great year ahead. See you in 2018!

Values, Part II: What We Do

In our last post, we talked about who we are as a company, as determined by the values outlined during our company wide culture workshop. This week, we’re talking about the values that define the culture surrounding what we do. If you haven’t read our last post, check it out!

Without further ado, Values, Part II: What We Do.What-We-Do

We cultivate meaningful partnerships.

When asked what we do here at Spark Marketer, we don’t think about securing websites, creating listings, building citations, posting blogs, or managing social media. We do all of those things and more, but our first thought is the relationships we cultivate each and every day.

We work alongside our clients to help them achieve greater success and extend their services to more people within their communities. Our goal is not to do just the bare minimum, and the phrase, “that’s not my job” is a four letter word here in the office.

Instead, our goal is to partner with our clients, go alongside them as they navigate their way in business, and do everything we can to help them. We seek to become an integral part of our clients’ marketing and operations and help them succeed.

When our clients have questions, even if it’s about supplemental marketing services or business decisions, we want to be a resource and a help. Why? A success for our clients is a success for us – whether it’s a marketing success, a business success, or even a personal success. We win only when our clients win, which is why we strive to build long-lasting partnerships, grow with our clients and their businesses, and help them reach new heights. This brings us to our next “what we do” value…

We invest in people and their dreams.

Here at Spark Marketer, we realize that every person has his or her own individual dreams, and we’re all about creating plans of action to help others achieve those dreams.

One of the best things about working at Spark Marketer is that we get to know our clients and their dreams and goals for both their businesses and their lives. Once we know these dreams, we align our efforts and personalize our approach to marketing to help them reach their dreams faster. When you know that the work you do for a client is getting them closer to their goals and allowing them to pursue their dreams, nothing you do is a waste of time. It’s all rewarding!

Whether we’re encouraging an employee to develop her artistic talents or helping a business owner realize his dream of expanding his business nationally, starting a non-profit charity organization, putting his kids through college, or changing the world by providing spectacular customer service, we work to provide the support and encouragement needed to make dreams realities. We firmly believe that by helping those we work with and for reach the goals they’ve set for their lives, we can help make a larger, more meaningful impact on the world around us.

This culture of support and encouragement starts at the top here at Spark Marketer. Taylor and Carter are always willing to invest in continuing education and training for employees when there is a desire to grow and learn. Interested in AdWords? No one’s going to stop you from exploring that path. Why? If you’re doing what you’re passionate about, you’re going to be happier and you’re going to do a better job. All of these investments strengthen our company and our partnerships, and encourage better service for those we serve and those our clients serve.

So, now we’ve defined what we do, but how do we do it? Stay tuned for our final culture segment, Values Part III, How We Do It.

Keeping Your Vision Where You Can See It

No one starts their own service business because they’re lazy or looking for the easy way out. No, when you made the decision to go out on your own, you knew you’d have many long, hard days ahead of you. But even knowing that, the amount of work required can be overwhelming and downright despairing at times – especially if you lose sight of your vision, the vision that got you excited and motivated to start your own business in the first place. Here are some tips to help keep your vision front and center and your focus sharp during the late nights and hard times…
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You’re Surrounded!

Think back on your first break-up. Everywhere you went, everywhere you looked, you saw or heard something that reminded you of the Ex. And all that did was make it harder and harder for you to forget about him or her and move on with your life. Well, when it comes to maintaining focus on the vision you have for your business, it helps to use this method for good. Plant things around your home and office that remind you of your vision and your business-related goals and dreams, and that stir up excitement and drive within you. For example, you could:

  • Write out your 5 year goals and pin them to the wall in front of your desk.
  • Write your mission statement on your bathroom mirror.
  • Fill a white board with words you’d like customers to use to describe your business.
  • Keep the first dollar your business brought in framed on your desk.
  • Tape an appreciative letter from a customer to the dashboard of your truck.

There are so many ways to make your surroundings one giant vision board. Whether you buy into The Secret or not, having your vision and your goals written out and in plain sight, day and night, will help keep your mind focused on where you’re going, your eyes open to opportunities along the way, and your feet taking the next steps to get you there and keep you going.

Stop & Celebrate

One of the best ways to prevent burnout and discouragement and keep your vision in view is to take the time to celebrate those times that you win, reach a goal, or take the next big step. Whether you choose to simply verbalize the win to the rest of your team, give yourself a little treat (like dinner at your favorite restaurant), or reflect on what it took to reach that goal or take that step, taking a moment to acknowledge progress is critical and can give you the energy and focus to keep going.

Read & Listen

Remember, you’re not the only business owner that has struggled with the issues that keep you up at night. Make a point to find others who have faced some of the same challenges and listen to what they have to say about overcoming and carrying on. That can mean having a lunch date with a mentor, reading a leadership book, or listening to a podcast like Guys In Trucks. The point is: you aren’t alone, and your goals are attainable! Don’t lose sight of the reason you set out to do what you do – keep your vision front and center. With focus, drive, and hard work, it will pay off!