It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the mid-point of the season, especially with the weather challenges we’ve had in the Pennsylvania area with rain, and lots of it. In fact, our team has had more rain outs on our schedule than races.
Weather – be it rain or the heat waves that my Southern clients are facing – doesn’t stop me from doing business, although it does make it more challenging to help tracks and racers make money when they can’t race. In fact, this year has been the busiest one yet for me and DirtyMouth, despite the challenges.
When 2015 rolled in, I had high hopes. I put together a strategy and a set of goals to shoot for, and I made that into a giant post-it that hangs in my office. It’s been extremely helpful to have a visual reminder of where I want to go.
The theme I picked for the year was ‘Growth’. I wanted to grow my audience as big as possible so that I a) knew what the industry needed and b) could grow the business.
But lately, every time I glance at it, it hasn’t seemed to resonate. The problem? The business grew faster, and in different ways, than I expected it to.
So, last Friday I took 2 hours ‘off’ for the Fourth of July to sit down and do a mid-season review. Here are three things I learned:
There’s a big difference between a vision and a plan.
I know where I want to go with DirtyMouth. I haven’t fully shared that vision because, frankly, it’s scary and vulnerable to talk about how big I want this thing to get. And when I say ‘big’, I’m not referring to income. I’m talking about reach and impact. I want to help this sport grow and evolve by helping the tracks, teams and businesses that depend on it grow the fan base and operate at a higher level.
At the beginning of the year, I chose a few tactics that I thought would help me fulfill my ‘Growth’ theme. But by the time March rolled around, I had stopped pursuing them. Why? The business grew to the point that I didn’t have time to grow the audience anymore – I had to focus on serving my clients.
I’m lucky that things worked out in this way – adjustments don’t always happen for positive reasons – but my mid-season review tells me this:
The plan, and the goals you set within it, is there to help you achieve your bigger vision. The plan needs to adjust for all of the unexpected that happens in between them.
My weather-affected clients have found this. My non-weather-affected clients experience this. We’ve even seen it with our race team, being unexpectedly down an engine. We’ve had to adjust our schedule to account for the age and size of the motor we have now.
But changing strategy doesn’t mean we’re not working towards a bigger vision. We just have to take a step back and adjust.
Don’t underestimate the busiest time of the year.
As much as I do a good job of this for my clients – the bulk of the work for The Dirt Classic, for example, was strategically laid out in January and February – I am crap at it for myself.
Of course, I know that racing season is when my clients will need me most. I also know that I have less ‘extra’ time – evenings and weekends – to give them because of racing and traveling to racing events.
But what I forget is that summer time is also when a lot of my favorite parts of life happen. It’s when the shock dyno and car-building business is best for Carl (which borrows him from my business), it’s when we can do outdoor renovations, it’s when we can do appearances with the race car, it’s when I can have friends over for barbecues and attend family picnics, it’s when I have the best access to data – at least, that data that I can process and apply to tracks and teams within the season, when it’s useful…etc.
Summer isn’t just racing and business. It’s life.
I don’t always know the best way to adjust for this: the time when I most want to be relaxed is the time when life is craziest. My mid-season review told me that I have to apply what I do for my clients in terms of advanced planning and advanced executing (if that’s a thing) to my business and life.
Do you run into that, too?
Your target customer (or fan) might change.
When I started the year, my goal was to reach more promoters and track owners. Why? I don’t have a product to sell, so my ideal customer is working with me on consulting and social media services. Those who treat their business like, well, a business are more likely to be interested in paying for services. So, while I do coach, that’s not my primary income.
At this point in the year, I’ve hit my goal on reaching and serving track promoters. That’s not to say that I won’t take any more on, but I did hit my target about six months ahead of time.
Which means, now I can focus more on growing and serving the driver and team audience. How? I’m working on a few projects, one of which I hope to announce in the coming weeks. I’m reinvesting back into the business to build something that doesn’t require so much me time, which will make my services much more affordable for drivers and help reach a much wider audience.
Whew. Those are three things I learned from a mid-season review. As you can probably tell, we’re doing this for our race team, too. Hopefully what we learn will help us keep our momentum going both on the track and off.
Do you do a mid-season review or do you wait until it’s time to set goals for the next year? Here’s a link to another post that might help you do your own mid-season or end-of-year check in.