2021 was an interesting year. It was a year we thought we could put 2020 behind us. We kind of did, but not really. Mostly we have just adapted to life throwing changeups, personally or professionally. I’ve been fortunate to have an opportunity to witness the resilience of many people and their individual companies. Though they may not realize it in the heat of battle they are absolutely thriving in the face of these challenges. Someday they will look back and wonder how they did it and be proud. But for now, every day has its new challenges to be faced.
As I’ve met and worked with these various companies, I have put some of the lessons into the blogs. I try to keep them relatively short in sympathy for the reader. Truthfully, most of the topics are fairly complex and this shortness can only touch on the concepts. People are smart though and can make their own way if given a nudge here or there. So that’s what these blogs have become. Concepts more than a cookbook.
I’ve also been fortunate to be joined by some brilliant practitioners who have shared their concepts and nudges from a different perspective than I personally have. Any meal is more interesting and nutritious when it is both balanced and has variety. And then there is dessert. I have been allowed to play a great deal of competitive tournament poker, one of my retirement goals. I can’t help but find parallels between two of my passions, poker, and business, as I’m waiting to be dealt into a hand at the Wynn.
Here is a compilation of the ten most-read blogs from 2021. It’s interesting to see what people find interesting and in what order. I thought I’d share.
10. Professionalizing your Benefits – This is one piece inside a collection of blogs that are focused on companies that have made it and become real successes but are now growing and must professionalize to keep the show going. You can see the whole series here.
9. Intellectual Property in Government Contracts, an interview with Mike Martensen. – Understanding IP rights and usages in government contracts is an art. I’ve worked with Mike for over 10 years, navigating those waters.
8. Know when to Hold em, Know when to fold em. – Trying to decide when and how to sell your company is such a personal and individualized decision. I know I chose “Hold em” so many times when the crossroads came.
7. Your company is Successful! Good job. Now what? – This is the intro to the series I mentioned above. You must change gears when you get over the initial hump of “are we going to make it”. There are things you need to professionalize to sustain that success.
6. The Enterprise Value Staircase. – This is just a fun explainer video I put together in whiteboard format to show what things create value in your company. And what things you can do to increase that value quicker. Mostly, I just wanted to make a whiteboard video. It was fun!
5. Tax implications from selling your business – an interview with an expert, Jenna Zhou, who has assisted in many such sales, including mine.
4. Let it Go to Let it Grow – an interview with Kate Ripp – This is a fascinating time in a company’s life. It is a true inflection point and factor in whether a company continues to grow or plateaus. Founders must develop leaders outside themselves. Kate is an expert in mentoring companies on doing this at various stages of growth.
3. Idle thoughts from the World Series of Poker – I have always wanted to participate in this massive poker event. It is, in fact, a series of over 100 different tournaments, culminating in the one people see on TV, the Main Event. I spent two weeks in Vegas and had plenty of time to think non-poker thoughts. As always though I tie them to poker. For fun. But also for truth.
2. 6 Things I wish I knew early in my own businesses. – there are always many mistakes. Many come from exuberance, passion, and just the excitement of pressing forward. Maybe that’s the best way to learn. I know I did. But maybe it’s also good to not make all the same mistakes others have made too. 😊
Not overly surprisingly, the by far most read and engaged blog this year was about culture and what makes that up. It makes sense. It impacts every single person, founders, leaders, managers, employees, everyone!
#1 What does a successful Company Culture Look Like? – I have been involved in all sides of this conversation for decades, in every role I mention above. I do have specific thoughts on where to focus. Those two areas for me are engagement and recognition.
In the end, everyone’s journey is different. That’s why I have never been a big fan of self-help books. Most seem so built for a set of circumstances that are no doubt, often different than yours. I even roll my own eyes when I write advice to others. Your road is your own and you have your own mistakes to make. And successes! It’s a scary path starting and running your own business. But enjoy the sights. You get to see things many don’t.
Here’s to that path continuing to unwind in 2022! Contact us here if you’d like to chat!