A new year always sparks conversations about what we’ve done, who we are, and who we’d like to become. In the day-to-day messiness, it’s often easy to forget all the things you’ve accomplished, so Christmas seems like a natural time to step back and reflect.
In this blog post, we’ve rounded up the top 9 things we achieved during our incredible 2019, and some of what we’re planning to help us start the new decade off right.
- TRIPLED OUR CUSTOMERS
When Bea and I started Share PLM 2 years ago, we both wanted to “feel” the results of our work.
In 2019, we were lucky to work with a bunch of new and amazing customers! We’ve had so much fun working with companies like Aqseptance, Eurostep, Konecranes, Methode Electronics, Technia and Quick Release.
This year, we finally felt we were taking off. And we’re looking forward to what’s ahead – and excited to continue growing and learning with new customers.
- DOUBLED OUR TEAM
Our team includes more than 8 people right now, which means we’ve more than doubled our team’s size this year.
Myriam and Nathalie have joined us as PLM Consultants, and we’ve lately welcomed Heather as our copywriter. This year, we also welcomed the very first man at Share PLM: Mario, our web and media designer. He’s done a great job at becoming a part of our “woman-centric” company.
Doubling our team has been super exciting, but it’s also been challenging. In a knowledge-intensive business like ours, it takes time, care, and money to build the capabilities your people need. Especially when you don’t have good enough processes.
- DEFINED AND DOCUMENTED OUR PROCESSES
This year, we set out on a mission to define and document who we are and how we do things with processes and a clarified company structure. Processes are all-important as your team grows. They are the groundwork that allow the team to grow, and they bring in transparency.
To visualize our way of working, we put together an intranet that lays out our core processes: Product, Sales, Delivery, Operations and Human Resources.
We’ve gone the extra mile to keep our processes lean and document key tasks in a simple way. We (still) don’t have swim lanes and complex process management software, as our customers do. But it feels like we’ve become more organized, disciplined, and focused.
- STREAMLINED OUR WAY OF WORKING WITH NEW TOOLS
When it comes to running a small business, having the right toolset can make a huge difference. This year we’ve been shaping our toolset to communicate better, organize ourselves, and increase transparency.
We’ve expanded the use of Asana, the powerful project management software we use to keep our projects on track. It helps us visualize what tasks are on our plate, what we’re currently working on, and what’s been completed.
We’ve connected Asana to Toggl, a time-tracking tool, to monitor where our time goes. The integration is powerful, and now we can extract insightful reports and calculate how much time we spend on our projects.
To collaborate in real time, we continue to use Google Suite, a package of cloud-based productivity services. Google Suite allows us to email, chat, meet online and store and share files. We also use some of their apps, including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites.
- MET IN PERSON AT OUR TEAM EVENTS
Technology has made it easier to interact with people across great distances and time zones, and there are a lot of benefits that accrue to us as a distributed team.
At the same time, it means that if we don’t arrange live face-to-face workshops, we might never meet each other in person. For example, Myriam and the team worked together for several months without meeting in person.
There’s no substitute for meeting someone face-to-face. Working remotely actually makes in-person interactions even more valuable.
This year, we hosted 3 team retreats in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Madrid.
We try to organize workshops frequently to improve our way of working, share ideas, and discuss feedback. Over dinner, we learn what makes each other tick, or share our true passions with a good red wine.
- ATTENDED AND SPONSORED PLM CONFERENCES
Industry conferences are great for learning and sharpening your skills, networking with peers and potential customers, and taking a break from the day-to-day work routine.
I always return from conferences with a lot of new ideas, contacts, and inspiration.
While people can read about our products on our website, I love to chat in person with potential customers, ask questions specific to their businesses, and show hands-on examples of our eLearning courses at our sponsor stands.
- STRENGTHENED OUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Creating interesting and valuable content is an effective way to attract potential customers. It allows you to share your expertise, knowledge, identity and experience with your followers.
Content marketing works for us at #SharePLM, and some of our best customers have reached out to us after reading our articles or following us on social media.
However, creating content regularly is hard. It’s easy to get side-tracked by the client work, and we often don’t find time in our days to write. There’s always so much else you could be doing when it comes to content!
- LEARN ONLINE MARKETING AND SEO
When I started Share PLM a little more than 2 years ago, I knew nothing about online marketing and SEO. While we’ve seen results from our online presence, SEO is still an important missing piece of the puzzle. SEO is powerful because you can get heaps of free, good-quality organic traffic.
In 2019, we learned a lot more about online marketing and SEO. We’ve enrolled a program at #latransformateka, a Spanish online business accelerator, to better understand SEO and content marketing. We’re excited to start implementing some of these learnings and key SEO principles in 2020!
- STARTED TO DEFINE A SALES SYSTEM
This year we’ve been experimenting with several sales methods to define our sales system. A sales system is a predictable, repeatable, reliable, and sustainable way to generate and manage sales. We’ve tried both online and offline methods. We’ve tried paid advertising. We’ve even stepped outside of our comfort zone and tried cold-calling and cold emailing. We still don’t have a perfectly crafted sales system, but we’re on our way. In 2020 we want to focus on what works for us and document our selling process in a CRM system.
SAY HELLO TO 2020
This year, instead of listing a vague mishmash of broad ambitions and aspirational targets, we’d like to choose one word for 2020. One word that we can focus on this year, one word that embodies all our intentions and goals for 2020. One word that steers us and keeps us focused, like the North Star.
For 2020, our One Word is…
In 2020, we want to do less, but do it better.
The Pareto Law holds true for us at Share PLM in many areas. For example, if we look at our projects, 80% of our income comes from 20% of our clients. And if we take sales, 80% of our new leads came from 20% of our sales initiatives.
We want to free up time and energy for the few things that matter most to us, instead of spreading ourselves too thin by taking on too many projects.
We want to focus on the 20% of the work that leads to 80% of the results.
FOCUS ON OUR CORE BUSINESS
More specifically, we’re looking forward to focusing on online PLM education and training. In 2020, we want to be more intentional about the projects we accept and prioritize eLearning and training.
FOCUS ON CONTENT
Besides that, we want to further strengthen our online presence with a focus on content. We want to create great content on a regular basis. Content that our customers not only use every day to manage their work, but also love.
We’re planning to tidy up our website, improve its design, and simplify our product portfolio.
FOCUS ON SPAIN AND LATIN AMERICA
One of our targets for 2020 is to land our first client in Spain or Latin America. Although we’re based in Spain, we still haven’t worked with any customers in our territory. To achieve that, we’re planning to launch a Spanish-language version of our website and blog, and organize a series of small events in our country.
FOCUS ON INTERNAL TRAINING
Finally, in 2020 we want to invest more in internal training. We’ve realized how difficult it is for someone who hasn’t had previous experience with PLM to understand exactly what PLM is.
That’s why we plan to prepare a toolbox for “To-Be” PLM Consultants, so it will be easier to onboard new talent and show them the steps to success. Going from being a “doer” to a “teacher” and coming out of the zone won’t be easy. We’ll need to reverse-engineer our flow, turn it into step-by-step instructions, and make it understandable.
Part of the toolbox will be an online PLM course. We want to keep the course practical and let people play with cloud CAD and PLM tools and work on real case studies, so they can get a taste of what it’s like to be a PLM Consultant!
We’d also like to sell this course and experiment with our first business-to-consumer course.
GRATEFUL FOR YOUR SUPPORT
As 2019 comes to a close, we want to express how grateful we are for the support you’ve shown us. We’re just starting our journey, and most of you have helped us a lot to improve and continue growing by sharing our content and referring people to us.
Here’s to an amazing 2019, and an even better 2020!