How often do you find yourself in what I call the “Instagram-haze?”  You start scrolling.  You keep scrolling.  You refresh back to the top to see what you missed.  You watch an Insta-story…and then another…and then another.  Forty-five minutes later, it dawns on you that you have just spent way too much time feeding your mind off of(with) #blessed, #goals, or maybe even #dreambigbrandbig postings. 


Social media is both amazing and frustrating for these very reasons.  It is very much the way people get their information today.  Someone got engaged over the holiday?  Found out on Facebook.  Someone got a promotion and has an awesome new job?  Saw that on LinkedIn.  City Paper does awesome custom corrugated boxes?  Saw that in Instagram!  News updates…you guessed it…Twitter.  The reality is this is where so many people are spending their time.  As a company, I think there are some takeaways we can learn from social media as we think about the goals we are setting for ourselves in 2019. 


Goal #1: Honesty and Transparency

City Paper will be 122 years young this July.  That’s no easy feat.  We are officially a 4th generation family business and one of Birmingham’s (and the state of Alabama’s) oldest companies.  With this comes a great responsibility to maintain integrity and transparency with our customers, our vendors and most importantly, our employees.  I think this year is the year we show you what makes our customers stay working(want to work) with us and also continue sharing with you the creativity that exudes out of our organization on a daily basis.  It is not simply a goal to be honest and transparent with you.  It is our mission, our motto and our way of life. 


Goal #2: Spread the Love, Gratitude and Kindness

Whatever we as an organization can do to make this world a better place, it is our responsibility to do so.  When we see our customers and vendors doing great things, it is our goal to support them and share it!  When our clients’ or employees need our help, it is our goal to step in and find a way to do so.  If promo items can share a message of positivity, express thanks and appreciation, or even just simply promote a new small business working to thrive in our crazy Amazon-dominated world, we want to help!  Let 2019 be the year we spread the (promo) love.


Goal #3: Laser-Focused, yet Flexible

When we set our sights high, it can often times be challenging to redirect when things are not going our way.  As a team, it can sometimes feel as though we are caught in the rut of “nothing going right.”  The goal for 2019 is do a better job of anticipating our customers’ needs before they come to us and to do an even better job of rebounding when we have let them down.  There is no level of mistake for which we will not hold ourselves accountable and it is so important to ensure that our partners know we will autocorrect as quickly as possible.  This may mean that we have to refocus and bend to the challenges that arise along the way.  If we do not allow ourselves to get overly distracted and caught up in the white noise of everything going on around us, we are much more likely to conquer our objectives.


Goal #4: Intention

Every post I put out on social media must have thought behind it.  I try to be mindful of where I am, what I am doing, and what is the point of my post?  Much like this, we must ask ourselves in the workplace, “Is the email we are sending, the proposal we are presenting, or the solution we are suggesting coming from a place of purpose and meaning?  Does it support our customers’ goals and objectives?  Does it educate our audience?  Are we showing ourselves in our best light and exhibiting the knowledge and expertise that we continue to foster daily?”  What we do as a company and the messages we put out there should convey our intent and support our company’s goals and missions.  If not, they are serving little to no purpose and are contributing to the white noise we so greatly want to avoid.  Remove the clutter and that which is unnecessary and simply focus on being the best darn employee, sales rep, customer support rep, designer, Accounting rep, etc., you can possibly be.  Set and reset your intentions every day.


Goal #5:  Growth

How often does the “Timehop” box show up on your Facebook feed?  We see our memories from where we were a year ago, 5 years ago, or maybe even our first Facebook profile pic.  There is even a #10yearchallenge post that has been circulating supporting this very thought.  City Paper’s #10yearchallenge would look insanely different.  The left side of 10 years prior was focused on retail packaging primarily in our old building with a pipedream of being the kind of company we are today.  The right side is grown up.  We have aged, but we have also redefined ourselves.  Our focus is now made up equally of packaging, promo, print, and e-Commerce services.  Our warehouse space is made up of our e-Commerce clients’ promo, print and packaging products.  Our new office is a drastic change from the 70 year old halls we walked this time last year.  And what are the forces that enabled these changes?  Growth – we gave ourselves permission to look backwards in order to move forward.  We learned from our lessons, our mistakes and our mishaps.  We utilized our network to expand our foundation through new employees, new vendors, new markets, continued education and training, and develop new customer relationships.


These may not be the specific SMART goals that will detail by detail enable us to reach our financial goals in 2019. That being said, I do believe that setting each of these as a baseline for the kind of company we want to be will enable us to continue to keep doors open(opening doors) and grant us access to new opportunities along the way. As we are well into 2019, please let me take a moment to say thank you for your support of our ever-evolving and learning company. We are so grateful for our customers, vendors, competitors, friends, family, and most especially, our amazing employees who bring it each and every day! We wish you great fortune, love, luck, success & growth in the new year! Bona Fortuna to all!