In a month from now, I’ll be cheering with my friend, beer in hand; on a nice terrace in the historic section of Quebec City… well this is what most people think I’ll be doing anyway ;-). Actually, the last weekend of April, I’ll be attending our annual shareholder meeting – the real one! Some people think that this is a weekend of pure pleasure; 2 guys on a weekend in a beautiful city 3 hours away from home… Well… huh… when you say it that way, it may sound like a party ;-). However, the truth is different. We are actually going to work really hard during those 2 days.
Why the shareholders meeting is so important
If you think of starting any kind of business, the best investment you can ever make is to take a weekend off business as usual to think solely about what you are doing and what you will do in the months ahead. As I have said in the past, we run our business exactly like a big firm (mission, values, objectives, earnings reports, meetings, etc.) but we do it without the BS. The annual meeting in 2010 gave us the opportunity to try different things throughout the year and defined what our primary goals were. Now that we have seen the benefits, we think that it’s a must that we have to follow through annually each spring. Here are a few things that we look at (and you should be looking if you are thinking of starting a business):
Revenues and Expenses
The biggest problem I can see this year is our temptation for expansion. We have committed to several expenses we didn’t have last year. Spending is not really the issue. In fact, spending is usually a good thing as long as:
#1 Spending is controlled and justified.
#2 Spending is manner to produce more income over the long run.
So while we will take a few minutes to tell each other how great it is to make money (this is the “looking at the revenues” part, we will take a good hour to analyze our spending. We must make sure our money is well invested in our VAs and writers. Look at the individual cost of each website to make sure all sites are profitable (or show some potential!).
The next step, once we know that we are not going to be bankrupt in the upcoming months is to look at our previous goals. We need to take a look at what really worked out and what did not. I know that we have been pretty aggressive with our 2010 and 2011 goals. We will not only determine where we are but also how we will achieve what is left to be done this year.
I bet the Ebook writing will be at the center of our conversations as this is the project that is the slowest right now. While we are far from making $100/month per niche website, we have already 4 websites under construction and have 3 sites in “draft”. With all the resources and experience we earned over the past 3 months, building a niche website will now take less than 2 months when we look at content creation and web design. The challenge will lie with getting traffic through different promotional techniques.
Setting priorities with a schedule
Last year, we had put together a list of priorities that was going to be completed within the next 12 months. For each task, we described it, determined who will be in charge and when was the due date. Out of 24 points, 20 of them were achieved. The others were postponed for some reason (one of them being that we have too many things on the roll 😉 ). A big point this year will be the security of our network and backup plans.
Before we leave on April 29th, we exchange several emails and we use Google Docs to add all our ideas. The point is to discuss everything that comes to mind so we can brainstorm before the real meeting. This is going to be a fun ride!
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