It has been an amazing year.  Every day I walk through our front door I have feelings of pride and accomplishment.  It has been extremely rewarding yet challenging at the same time.  It has been a constant struggle to achieve certain things, yet others seem to fall into place.  I am talking about our business: Elite Strategies.

We officially opened our first official office, our headquarters last year with our first employee.  With a very simple business plan, mission statement, and vision, we have been able to help hundreds of companies and provide jobs to quite a few members of the community.  It has been a complete joy to receive  phone call after phone call, email after email from clients who have gotten more business from our services.  Some have touching testimonials, such as the painting company from Orlando who when we started was looking for work, and now can barely answer our calls, has an 800 number, and jobs lined up for MONTHS!  Or the flower shop that has gone from a stable business to a multi-city entity with an eCommerce site and having thoughts of expansion throughout their county.  We have so many of these stories it is such a good feeling.

bilities.  I would like to thank everyone who has been employed with us over the past year, but specifically:  Chip, Kathryn, Harvey, and James, with your help we have turned this from a one man operation to a corporation that is approaching enterprise status.

There have certainly been some lessons learned. In the second quarter of last year, we really started to institute this principle, and when that happened we really started to notice a difference.  A few of my business colleagues do not agree with this, but I have found that I sleep very well at night living by this business principle.  This is a business that I want to have for years to come, and to be able to brand across the globe.

Our business, and our industry in general are really trailblazers in the US economic system.  I relate our business model to that of the yellow pages or the phone book companies when they first started.   Our model is that of necessity:  businesses NEED our service.  It is not an addon, it is not an afterthought, and it is not an option.  If a local or national company wants to be successful in this decade, they must have a web presence.  Consumers and organizations use search engines to find other businesses, and that is the service we provide.

Will our business model be dead when [insert search engine here] becomes obsolete?  We are always being asked this question. We pride ourselves on always being ahead of the curve.  I have been involved in this industry for over a decade and doing this professionally for several years.  Part of what has kept this business going is being able to adapt to technological trends, such as social media and other systems.  As long as people are using technology to locate businesses and services, we will have a thriving company.  As a matter of fact, I encourage change.  I have seen 3 businesses in my industry completely shut down and go out of business because they based their product and services on 1 idea.  2 in California and Toronto who did Google Maps and 1 in South Florida who did social media.  Both companies relied on a static system to deliver results, and when that system changed they were not able to adapt, and ultimately closed their doors.  We have had MANY challenges this past years mostly as a result of change, where we have succeeded is by adapting to these changes victoriously.

SEO has changed.  Then it changed again and changed some more.  There is another saying: “This is a process, not an event,” and this also applies to SEO.  A lot of people study manuals, ebooks, whitepapers, forums etc and try to come up with the right formula for ranking a site.  What I have learned this year is that there is no perfect formula for ranking a site, especially when talking about Google.  If you develop a site with the user experience at the forefront of your campaign, your site will float to the top like magic.

Spamming automated links to your website does not work anymore.  Linkbuilding is becoming less and less of an automated framework, and more and more of a creative process.  Search engines want to see relevant and authoritative sites linked to yours that is surrounded by text.  The previous sentence would sum up my advice to anyone who wants to start building links for their site.

Business Goals for 2012

  • Continue to live by our 75/25 manta.
  • Reward our staff on a multi-tier level
  • Move towards a referral / warm leads based system
  • Invest profits in branding and exposure
  • Donate to a cause
  • Set more goals:  Our most successful periods have been when we have met in teams and developed goals and written them down.  Even when we completed 80% of our list, we walked away feeling good, and remaining profitable.
  • Develop a feedback system: Develop a system for not only current clients, but clients who have chosen to not use our service and how we can improve.
  • Increase e-communication with clients: I feel that we do a great job of communication with our current clients but would like to do better at emailing reports and site metrics.
  • Hire additional in house creative team/junior SEO position
  • Treat the first quarter like it is the last quarter
  • Push more of our social media services.  85% of our clients are SEO clients.  I strongly believe in social media for not only conversion but exposure and branding.
  • Hold more training’s

In conclusion I wanted to thank our staff again for all of the long hours they put in, all of the 3am emails, and all of the time they missed with family and friends while working on our campaigns.  Thank you all for believing in our vision.  I know that the people working with us are ahead of the curve and realize that this is an opportunity of a lifetime.  We have made some mistakes, and learned from them but when we look around and see the growth happening all around us, the referral calls coming in, the email inquiries, and people walking through our door we all know that we are in the middle of something big.  Elite Strategies!