The end of every year is the opportunity reflect on a 365 day journey. 2017 was a bad year for some and for some it was a great year. Many businesses were launched and others were closed. Pivots were made and goals were shattered. In the last few days of 2017, we took some time to ask a few entrepreneurs and business what their biggest business accomplishments were.
#1- Top rankings
This year has been momentous for my company. Not only was I rated as a top CEO next to greats such as Marc Benioff of SalesForce, Tim Cook of Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, according to employee reviews on Comparably—a compensation, culture, and career-monitoring website—but my company was ranked number 20 out of 50 on USA Today’s list of Best Places to Work, number 21 out of 50 on their list of Best Managers at Large Companies, and number 24 out of 50 on Forbes’ list of Best Companies for Women. With all of the sexual harassment claims and turbulence of 2017, we couldn't be more proud to be a great work place for women and for everyone. I’m so proud of the whole Jive team and how far we’ve come. As we continue to grow as a company, we will strive to remain a great place where our employees love to work.
Thanks to John Pope, Jive Communications!
#2- Automating bookings and higher ratings
This year have been fantastic for both me and the company. We managed to automate 25% of our bookings and achieved higher ratings than before. Considering how much time and efforts we have put into it and how long it has been my dream to have a fully automated booking system, it is only normal that I get so excited about it. In addition, we were lucky enough to finally find reliable partners, thus adding a few more services to our portfolio – like Locksmith and Childcare. The second I am mostly excited about as I’ve wanted the company to provide this service along with the cleaning, gardening and etc for quite some time. We finally found a reliable partner and I am very confident that this service will be as successful as the others we deliver.
Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!
#3- Quitting my day job
I've been helping clients with digital marketing (mostly Facebook ads) since early 2016, but this year was able to quit my job to do that full-time. It took a lot of hard work – including waking up at 3:30am to get in 3 hours of work before leaving for my full-time job, coming home and working until 9pm and go to bed and do it all over again. This schedule made it a lot easier to save every extra penny and build a runway of 8 months expenses just in case everything failed. I had my 8 months expenses saved by May of 2017 and put it my two weeks notice at that time. June 1st was my first day of full-time entrepreneurship and it's never felt better.
Thanks to Chenell Tull, Hustle to Startup!
#4- Hiring amazing team
At Cave, our biggest accomplishment this year was hiring impressive new people. Our team is growing fast, and we're excited about the results of our extensive interview process. We pride ourselves on offering our clients the best marketing services possible, and our most recent hires are a perfect fit for our mission. The future looks bright if you surround yourself with great people.
Thanks to Justin Kerby, Cave Social!
#5- Revising poetry books
In July 2017, I finished revising a book of nature poetry. The collection includes poetry that I have written since the late 1960s. I spent a lot of 2017 deciding which of my many poems about nature were the best, deciding on major structural divisions for the book, and arranging the poems in a logical order. I have been sending the manuscript to publishers since July. So far, I do not have any offers to publish my book; however, I will keep submiting the collection to editors and presses.
Thanks to Janet Ruth Heller
#6- Launching the deluxe version
We're a small business, founded by two sisters. We offer goal-setting oriented planners that help you align your daily schedule with your life goals and priorities, while promoting life balance. It's only our second year on the market and our biggest accomplishment of the year is launching the deluxe version of our LUCKY Life Planner 2018. This has to be the hardest job we've ever done. We're very new to the industry, and while we're passionate about the product, there have been obstacles every step of the way – production, shipping, distribution, etc. But it's rewarding to see our customers so excited about the product, and the huge growth in sales from last year has been encouraging. So we're excited to keep developing our little company and evolving our product line in 2018.
Thanks to Ilina Simeonova, LUCKY Life Tools!
#7- Major appointment
One of my major accomplishments of 2017 is being named Chair of the Public Relations and Communications Committee for The Los Angeles South Chamber of Commerce. With this appointment, I will join a distinguished group of business owners and executives who are leading the way in creating economic growth in South L.A. communities through business development, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy education.
Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLLC!
#8- Creating LUX Rave
One of our biggest accomplishments for our ecommerce brands in 2017 was creating LUX Rave, which is a 10,000 square foot pop up store we opened at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. One of the biggest electronic music festivals, Electric Daisy Carnival, is hosted in Las Vegas every year and brings in hundreds of thousands of attendees. By partnering with Luxor, we created a destination for customers so they could shop before the festival. We were selling over $25,000 of products per hour at this pop up store. During the three day event, we had tons of activities planned including our EDM Trivia Launch Party, music, light shows, an EDC Week Nightclub Pre-game, a Kandi Party, and a meet and greet session. All of this was broadcast across our social media networks to increase reach and attract more visitors.
Thanks to Brian Lim, iHeartRaves!
#9- Opportunity to speak to Vistage Worldwide
Actually, one of my biggest accomplishment in 2017 came just this December. As a Customer Service & Communication speaker and trainer, I have been looking forward for many years to speak to a premier group called Vistage Worldwide. It is a peer-to-peer membership organization for CEOs, business owners and executives of small- to mid-size business. People who need to up their customer service skills. On Dec. 11th, I finally had the opportunity to speak to the group. It was an exciting opportunity and a great way to kick off a New Year!
Thanks to Nancy Friedman
#10- Taking on a brand new business venture
My biggest accomplishment in 2017 was taking on a brand new business venture, my yoga and lifestyle brand Apeiron. I'm no stranger to startups, having launched my digital marketing agency Creative Click Media from the ground up in 2011, but tackling an ecommerce yoga business was a completely new entrepreneurial adventure for me. This past year was not without its challenges, between product development, production and gaining publicity, but receiving national coverage and hearing just how much our customers believe in our message has made the journey all the more worthwhile. While 2017 was about starting the business, 2018 will be about continuing the movement. The name Apeiron comes from the Greek word for limitless, and next year we're going to take a cue from our namesake and prove there are no limits on what we can accomplish. We're coming into 2018 with a significant momentum and a fiery determination. Combine that with a talented team, constant inspiration and supportive yoga community, and the sky's the limit.
Thanks to Adam Binder, Apeiron Yoga!
#11- New products
I’m proud of the awesome new products we were able to offer customers in 2017. We’ve been adding to our line of products year after year, but in 2017, we made a major breakthrough in the field of green technology and greatly upped the quality and quantity of our offering. Our 100% recycled mailers and world's first algae-based ink have set a new precedent in the packaging industry and allowed us to offer the best possible products to our customers.
Thanks to Saloni Doshi, EcoEnclose!
#12- Cloud Innovation Challenge Award
In 2017, our biggest accomplishment is absolutely the Amazon Web Services City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge win. This award recognizes and celebrates the most innovative digital projects built on the AWS infrastructure for organizations in the public sector. Out of thousands of competitors, we were proud to win in the Best Practice – Large category, an area typically reserved for large cities. The fact that AWS has recognized us among other well-respected organizations – including the London Transit Authority and the New York Public Library – is an honor. But the real winners here are the students of Seminole County, FL, who will benefit from a more connected, well-informed community through their new public school websites. I guess I would say building the K-12 website of the future is the real story; we're changing the way schools manage their web presence, and helping them save money while taking more control of their information.
Thanks to Shawn Moore, Solodev!
#13- Unilever x Sundial Brands Deal
For us, negotiating a first-of-its-kind deal in the beauty and personal care industry is a continuum of almost the decades of demonstrating how business can be done differently and showing that legacy can be created in ways beyond traditional thinking and that extend beyond us as individuals. We have accomplished something that has never been done before – doing the largest natural personal care deal ever in the U.S. and also the largest consumer products deal by a majority African American-owned company and most importantly, leveraging Sundial as a way to ensure unprecedented investment in our community. I've seen accusations online of us selling out – we didn't sell out, we're investing in. When is the last time we witnessed someone from our community building a business with community that was then used as a means to reinvest in community at this scale? Throughout this year, we've been on a multi-city tour around the U.S. having a series of what we call Real Talk community conversations with hundreds of Black women not just about how they felt about us, but what they were experiencing in their lives.
Thanks to Richelieu Dennis, Sundial Brands!
#14- New line of Parody rubber ducks
In 2017 we came up with this whole new line of Parody rubber ducks of what we called our Costume Quackers…it has become one of the biggest successes in the history of the company and almost totaled our company revenues overnight. The number of ducks we put out at one time with the kind of detail that only we are able to do, was pretty much unheard of. I only wish we had thought of this ten years ago!!
Thanks to Craig Wolfe, CelebriDucks!
#15- Feature and interview by SCOOP Founder Phil Stoten
Our company has had an exciting year. Recently we were featured and interviewed during Productronica 2017 by SCOOP Founder Phil Stoten. Jason Spera, CEO of Aegis Software and Oren Manor, Director at Mentor spoke about exactly what Digital Twin does and how manufacturers are leveraging this concept to drive efficiency in an Industry 4.0 environment.
Thanks to Alexis Zanger, Aegis Software Corp!
#16- Three accomplishments
I wrote the first and only sales/customer service book for the truck, and really the auto, dealership industry. I started my own company, GPA Training, Inc., to serve the truck dealership and auto dealership communities, which have been greatly under represented by the training and learning & development communities. Began pioneering the use of eLearning outside an LMS as part of the interview process to hire the right candidates, particularly from the Millennial and Gen Z generations. As we go into 2018, I'm very excited about the number of dealers who show interest in building development programs for employees, overlooked previously, and delivering those programs via eLearning.
Thanks to Ian Coburn, GPA Training, Inc!
#17- Extending our brand
I'm so excited that we launched the VanityGirlPopUp shop on November 22, 2017. The large Vanity Girl Hollywood home vanities we create have been a beauty must-have for many years now and it's exciting to extend the brand to our Vanity-Girl-on-the-go line. From a marketing standpoint, we created a lot of buzz around the launch. We collaborated with the inaugural American Influencer Awards to do a series of giveaways and a charity effort; on November 22nd (our launch date) this Huffington Post feature came out on how I've built my Hollywood brand working with the world's greatest influencers and on November 25th, we were part of the American Express Small Business Saturday marketing initiative focused on my hometown of West Hollywood. It has been a VERY exciting November and my whole team is really fired up for 2018.
Thanks to Maxine Tatlonghari, Vanity Girl Pop Up!
#18- 500% growth and new branch
2017 has been a great year for Linkilaw. We have continued to grow at a steady pace and attended Web summit for the 3rd year running. We have also newly opened a branch in Lisbon. We’ve also experienced a growth of 500% this year, which is an achievement in itself. Bring on 2018!
Thanks to Alexandra Isenegger, Linkilaw!
#19- Two accomplishments
I would say growing my business quicker than anticipated and beating projected goals by 25% was a major accomplishment in 2017. Running a medical device company that makes and sells a pelvic pain product can be challenging and difficult due to limited marketing strategies that are available. You must think outside the box, be creative and be determined to spread the word to help women in pain. In addition to our sales, helping women decrease their pain, improve relationships, expand their families is probably the most rewarding accomplishment of all.
Thanks to Tara Langdale-Schmidt, VuVatech!
#20- Publishing an ebook
I work for Actualize Consulting, we are headquartered in Northern VA. My major accomplishment of 2017, was publishing the book *Culture Infusion – 9 Principles to Create and Maintain a Thriving Organizational Culture*. We also launched a service offering and now aid our clients in improving corporate culture. The book is a case study of tried-and-true cultural enhancements or “infusions” we have used at Actualize over the last 7 years. One of the most impactful changes was related to how we aligned our goal setting and performance reviews around our business and added in personal components. This allowed our teams to focus on their aspirations that aligned with ours. We are excited to share our experiences so other teams will be motivated to perform at their highest capacity.
Thanks to Kerry Wekelo, Actualize Consulting!
#21- Writing my book and securing a publisher
After years of client requests, I finally made writing my book a priority in 2017 and have now secured a publisher with a March launch date for *Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave & How to Keep Them Longer*. It required putting other projects on hold, but the book will offer me an additional revenue stream, add value for my clients, and boost my recognition and credibility as a professional speaker.
Thanks to Cara Silletto, Crescendo Strategies!
#22- Closing a Series A fundraising round
The most important accomplishment in 2017 was closing a Series A fundraising round for Shapr, the free app for professional networking. We raised $9.5 million in funding all through private investors who believe in our mission to make networking an everyday habit for professionals around the globe. Thanks to this round, which brings our total funding to $16.5 million, we've been able to double the size of our team, improve our customer experience through new products and features, and grow our user base to 800,000 professionals. I am incredibly thankful for a fantastic year and for the people who have joined this adventure!
Thanks to Ludovic Huraux, Shapr!
#23- Several accomplishments
I have accomplished many things over the past year; published my first book on student loan debt, accepted a full-time role as an assistant professor and have grown my small business significantly in two years. I will also be finishing an MBA from Syracuse University in two weeks.
Thanks to Matthew W. Burr, Burr Consulting, LLC!
#24- Double-digit revenue and national partnership
The accomplishment I’m most proud of achieving in 2017 has been continued double digit revenue growth and working with great national partners. As a small business owner, it is always exciting to see the hard work of our team pay off and to meet all of our goals so we can keep setting bigger ones and reaching them too!
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!
#25- Better customer service
I'm proud of the level of customer service our team was able to provide in 2017. We always strive to provide better service than our competitors, and better service year after year, but in 2017, we responded to a record amount of queries in a timely fashion and incorporated their feedback to better our customer feedback protocols. We were able to do this because of our commitment to our customers, and I believe in 2018 we have the means to double our efforts and really put customer service at the forefront.
Thanks to Harrison Doan, Saatva!
#26- Dealing with negative SEO attack
My biggest accomplishment in 2017 was dealing with a negative SEO attack on our website that caused our site's traffic to completely plummet. As a consequence of the negative SEO attack, we were issued a manual penalty by Google, and it took a lot of man hours to deal with all the aspects that caused the penalty. That has to be my proudest accomplishment in 2017.
Thanks to Thomas Jepsen, Contractor Quotes!