Blog: 2022 In Review: Our Best Year Ever At Exceptional Thinking

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2022 In Review: Our Best Year Ever At Exceptional Thinking

2022 – In Review

December is flying, the freezing weather is here slightly earlier than usual, and we are looking forward to our Christmas breaks and spending time with family & friends, eating far too much and having the odd glass of sherry or 12.

We are also looking ahead to 2023 and what opportunities are out there for us, where we are going to see growth, spend our marketing efforts and bolster the team, but before we do that – we are also looking back on one of our most successful years as a business, ever… what we have learnt, what we have done well, what we have done not so well – along with some of the achievements along the way.

2022 was a year like no other.

Despite what the media has been telling us for the entire year – uncertainty, recession, downturn, redundancies etc… this year has seen record growth for not only our business, but some of our clients’ businesses and many, many others in the SME market. People have acted with certainty, after 2 years of turmoil – people wanted stability, to make decisions, to invest, to grow and to prosper – and that is exactly what people and businesses have done – we ourselves have doubled in revenue, increased our headcount by over double and invested heavily in systems and processes to sustain this growth – many of our clients have achieved similar figures, and others even better!

Don’t be afraid to increase your pricing

One thing we had to do this year, as have 99% of business (including ALL of our suppliers) is increase our charges to our clients, we saw our own overheads go up by nearly 30% – so we needed to act, our margins are relatively slim anyway so absorbing this cost was not an option. The point being – if you have a product, or a service – that you are confident in, and that you can achieve results for your clients with – don’t be afraid to ask for more money – as long as clients are receiving a return on their investment, and you hold a strong relationship with them – then why would they go elsewhere? We are probably at the top end of the market in terms of costs for lead generation – but we also believe, and can evidence that we are better at it, than most, if not all businesses in our market – which I also understand is a very bold claim!

Don’t grow for the sake of growing – focus!

Being a generalist in your market has its benefits, wider range of clients, more avenues of revenue and frankly – more headaches… be focused in your approach, the market you want to do business in – run your business on the data that you’ve collected – identify what you are good at, where you are most efficient and where your clients see most value. We have 5 sectors we operate in, all – bar one, have some level of crossover – this way we have case studies and references, to help attract other clients in those areas, past experience in those markets – to get us on the front foot when we start working with other similar clients, data – to help us identify the best and most efficient ways of approaching these businesses, and finally – expertise – staff who know how to articulate exactly what our clients do, to their potential prospects, how to overcome objections how to elicit need from a prospect and how to explain exactly how our client products and services can help them!! So focus, focus focus!!!

Recruit based on values

One thing we learnt in 2022, quite quickly, is that rather than recruiting based purely on ability – take a values-based approach to your recruitment – make sure any potential new recruits share your values, question them based on your company values and make sure they are the right fit – culture is a huge part to any success of a business and ensuring that any new employees share and add value to that culture is essential.

Communicate your vision

Does everyone in your company know the company vision? And most importantly – do they know the part that they play in achieving where the company wants to be? When everyone is brought into the company vision and they have a clearly defined role in achieving it, people feel valued and perform better – what opportunities lie ahead for people when you get closer to achieving each one of your milestones? Are there targets for them to individually hit? What happens when they do and what promotions are they working towards? All of the above helps provide accountability at every level, leading to greater client delivery and business success.

Meet – regularly

Not every day, but as a leadership team, with clearly defined roles within the company – you should be meeting with the other leaders in the business, at least once weekly to understand how each area is going, any issues and any areas of concern – make sure that rather than just talking about these – come up with actions to ensure that they are dealt with and dealt with for good. Along from this, it’s very easy to focus on the negatives – but also – what has gone well? What needs celebrating and what do you need to be doing more of to help your business grow?

These are just a few of the things we have learnt this year, the reality is, each and every business is different, but speaking to friends, and peers within the small business world – the above few points have led to what has been a fantastic year within businesses turning over £1 – £5million.

So how has your year been? What have your learnt this year, and how is your 2023 shaping up?

Let us know in the comments below!

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