If you’ve come to our site this year looking for advice, tips, and experiences from some of the amazing eCommerce initiatives we’ve been working on lately – you’ve been greeted with the sound of crickets chirping. We’ve surpassed the longest period of time ever without a single blog post, and some have even asked “are you guys still in business”? We’ve all heard the tale of the shoemaker, but I’ll be honest – I’m sick of that story. At the end of the day, every person, company, or group prioritizes what they do and what they don’t do. Shame on the shoemaker for not making his son his #1 priority – he should have had the best shoes in town! In that same vein, we too have priorities and there’s a point at which you need to make tough decisions about what may not make the cut when looking at the supply vs. demand curve.
Unlike the shoemaker, we hold the highest priority with the ones closest to us – our clients. Let’s face it, this website, the blog, social media – they’re all marketing tools that are used to build engagement with our audience, and to drive potential new clients. Over the past year we’ve had the opportunity to build some incredible relationships which have demanded a great deal of our time and attention, to the point that we were no longer able to properly maintain content on the blog. We love talking eCommerce and can write for days about all of the interesting things we’re doing and the results we’re seeing. But instead of talking, we’re doing. We’re busy, very busy, helping our clients grow revenue, and every minute we’d spending talking about it we wouldn’t be doing it. I’m borrowing/adapting a quote from Blake Nordstrom from the Magento Imagine conference earlier this year when he said, “If you’re talking about Customer Service, you’re not doing it.” It’s a very relevant observation. When faced with the choice of spending a few hours writing a post or a few hours helping a client, there’s one that’s going to win out every single time: our clients. We’ve sacrificed our own website, content, and marketing to focus on our clients – and in the end, by doing a great job at what we do, it has become a better marketing tool than our website could ever be.
Don’t get me wrong – we are going to get back in the blogging game – and better than ever. In fact, we’re recruiting for a Marketing Manager to do just that (tell your friends!). It’s an important part of our business and something we enjoy doing. So in the absence of anything truly groundbreaking in terms of helping you grow revenue (queue browser tab close), I wanted to take the opportunity to at least share some of the accomplishments of Blue Acorn so far in 2011. There’s been a lot of growth and transition in the company across the board which has kept us on our toes. We’ve grown from a team of 9 to 22 (with more to come), brought on some great new clients, and most importantly, continued strengthening our relationship with many of our existing clients. In June we moved into our new office in downtown Charleston (see it evolve from “shell”), benefiting from a central location, regular food trucks, neighboring other technology startups, and being in an environment that reflects and enables the culture of our practice. This has allowed many to adopt alternative forms of transportation like busing, walking or biking to the office – someday you can thank us for saving the environment (we’re green! no… we’re blue) and further our goal of making this one of the best places to work in Charleston.
We’ve had the opportunity to work on several exciting projects, partner with some innovative teams, and really found the work that we’re engaged with very rewarding. For a period of time, we stopped taking on new projects altogether, as managing our internal pipeline is a delicate balancing act. In the midst of all this, both myself and Ben Marks (our Director of Development Services) got heavily involved with the folks at Magento for their MagentoU training program. So if you want to learn how to develop (or theme) on Magento, join Ben at an upcoming training session in a city near you (in the US and Europe). Or, if you’re a marketer looking to leverage the Magento platform to grow sales, you may draw the lucky straw with one of the web-based classes I instruct. Working closely with the Magento Education & Training team, we’ve had the opportunity to become an active participant in growing the Magento ecosystem through educating and training the community.
In Q3 of this year (next week actually), we’re embarking on transitioning our project management system from Basecamp to AtTask – an enterprise grade platform that is going to allow us to build strong processes and methodologies around. This transition doesn’t come easily, as our entire business runs on this system and is in many regards our backbone. Why we’ve decided to switch platforms is a long story, but ultimately we needed a more robust tool to support a stronger business and allows us to improve communication with our clients. All of these changes – personnel, office, system, clients, partners – have positioned us to scale effectively and further improve the quality of our service offering to our clients. We’ve come out of this transition period stronger, smarter, and better equipped to handle the evolving needs that the world of eCommerce presents to us and our clients.
We’re excited about what’s to come for Blue Acorn, and we’ve come out of a whirlwind of change alive and better than ever. Expect to hear more “from the trenches” stories in our daily dealings with eCommerce – until then!