For most businesses (at least, those not in the retail or food-service industries!), the two weeks from just before Christmas to just after New Year’s Day is a slow period. Many companies close up shop for at least part of that time—partly because of most things shut down on public holidays, and partly because during that period a fair number of employees use up some vacation days and are out of the office. With not a lot of “business” going on, this quiet period is a good time for companies to take stock.
Mamu Media is no exception, and during the brief lull between hitting the last deadlines of the old year and gearing up to meet the first deadlines of the new year, I usually take some time to reflect on the state of my professional life. As I review the lessons learned over the past year and consider what changes to make in 2016, I see that Mamu Media’s rapid (and continuing) growth has come with some growing pains, too. Four lessons in particular stand out.
First, toward the end of 2015 we realized that not everyone fits into our “box” for the branded magazines and newsletters we produce for the HR and light industry communities. It became clear to us that we needed to adapt our standard approach to meet the needs of our clients.
For example, when we started working with companies that targeted specific niches or wanted their publications to have a more local focus, we began creating semi-custom publications by varying the cover article to focus on each client’s particular niche (health care, construction, etc) or to modify the publication’s name to highlight a client’s geographic market (e.g., Colorado Manufacturing Insights).
Our clients’ feedback led us to make these changes (and others). I’ve pointed out before that client feedback is a gift whose value should not be underestimated. Thanks to the feedback we get from our clients, we’ve been able to improve our services.
Second, we became acutely aware of how rapid growth can strain a company’s resources—and possibly cause a company to lose its forward momentum. We found our heads spinning a bit as we worked hard to maintain our growth while managing new-client onboarding. One of our goals for 2016 is to strike a healthy balance between continuing the amazing growth that Mamu Media has experienced over the last several years and maintaining our reputation for exceptional customer experience.
Third, we learned that diversification is good not only for investment portfolios but for businesses, too! From the moment we founded Mamu Media, our focus has been on building the business within the staffing industry. That’s worked very well for us, but as I’ve explained before, putting all your eggs in one basket can be a risky proposition. So in 2016 we certainly plan to keep working with staffing-oriented clients, but at the same time we’ll also continue to expand our publications offerings to industries other than staffing.
Lastly, we realized that we shouldn’t wait until Thanksgiving to count our blessings. Mamu Media had a terrific 2015, and we’re grateful for all of our clients. Every single customer provides a tremendous amount of value to us, and when something doesn’t work out and a client decides to part ways with us, we want to understand why—and figure out how to prevent that in the future. Although we were fortunate enough to lose only one client last year, that’s still one more loss than we wanted. So in 2016, if we see that a strategy isn’t working for a client, we’re going to be proactive and offer our help well before the client brings it up with us.
As you can see, the most important lessons we learned in 2015 all arose from our relationships with our clients. No surprise there, because we firmly believe that our clients’ success leads directly to our own success. Since our founding, Mamu Media’s primary goal has been to provide extraordinary service to our customers. In 2016 we plan to continue in that track and to improve our ability to anticipate and adapt to our clients’ needs and preferences.