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20 Lessons in 20 Years

Intuitive Websites (IW) reached the 20-year milestone in 2024. Few companies stay in business for 20 years and reach this level of success. Here are 20 business and marketing lessons I have learned over the past 20 years of leading the team at IW.

The IW 4 Step Process for Successful Marketing
Intuitive Websites’ 4-step process functions like a perpetually turning wheel, driving growth for your business through ongoing collaboration to strengthen your online presence and deliver increasingly impactful results

1. Keep Focused on Your Mission

Your mission is what drives you and the reason you come to work each day. It is defined by the key benefits you provide customers. At Intuitive Websites, we help our clients grow through excellence in digital marketing. This mission has been our fuel for 20 years. A mission is profitable when it is both fulfilling and fun and matched by a need in the marketplace. Love what you do and use your talents to meet customer needs.

Intuitive Websites’ 4-step process functions like a perpetually turning wheel, driving growth for your business through ongoing collaboration to strengthen your online presence and deliver increasingly impactful results.

2. Build Services into a Process

Plan and organize well to keep your mission alive. Translate your mission into a series of services and processes you can repeat effectively for your customers. At IW, we have our Four-Step Process and Growth-Driven Design to guide our work. We built a team around these processes, and it works.

3. Get a Rainmaker and Build a Network

Without customers, you have no business, and there should be high value for the team member who can bring in new business. Every company needs a visionary rainmaker to grow sales. One of the ways rainmakers grow a company is by building referral networks. We have built several strong referral networks over the years, including Vistage, Chief Outsiders, client referrals, and more.

IW team brainstorming at marketing meeting
With over 25 years of unparalleled expertise in marketing and sales, Tom not only shines as an award-winning speaker but also excels in crafting robust referral networks.

4. Live Inside Your Customer’s Head

Marketing genius comes from the ability to get inside your client’s head and see the world from their perspective. At IW, we take this one step further by also getting inside the head of our client’s prospective customers to understand what they want and the pain they are looking to alleviate from their lives.

Live by the platinum rule: treat people the way they want to be treated. You do this best when you understand what people want.

5. Celebrate Wins and Move Past Losses

Celebrate wins, those are great when they happen. However, the real value is in your ability to learn from mistakes and losses and move past them quickly. It’s easy to get hung up on the negative. Let the negative go and build on the positive side of things.

IW marketing team working together
At IW, we make a habit of cheering our wins and learning from losses—it’s how we roll!

6. Always Be Learning

There is no end to learning and personal development, especially in the digital marketing space! Keep learning and growing, or your competitors will gain advantages.

7. Know Your Thought Leadership and Share It

There are certain things you do very well to live your mission. This is your thought leadership. Share those things generously with no expectation of return, and good things will happen. Share your thought leadership by writing blog posts, sending valuable emails, posting great content and photos to social media, producing engaging videos, running webinars and live events, writing books, and more. Use AI tools like ChatGPT to help get this work done.

 8. Use a Professional Design

Leverage excellent design for anything seen by prospective customers. At IW, we combine creative design with great content with a winning strategy to get results for clients. You communicate your brand promise in many ways with your design aesthetics.

9. Leverage Strengths and Fill in the Gaps

Know your strengths and fill the gaps in your weaknesses with support from your team.

10. Recognize Talent and Build a Team

Grab talent when you see it and cut your losses quickly when things don’t work out. Get the advice of experts in recruiting talent and develop a process for hiring. A key part of the team is understanding who is the visionary and who is the integrator on your leadership team.

IW leadership team
Leading and inspiring the IW team to new heights of innovation, excellence, and creativity: Tom Young, IW visionary and CEO; Kerianne Leffew, COO and Ops integrator; and Adrian Collins, our creative powerhouse and Creative Director.

 11. Do Your Best

The key to doing your best is how you feel after the job is done. Be proactive and make things happen, be the fastest to respond to an email, put the time in when needed, accept what you know and don’t know, and keep learning to grow and better understand your clients. Do these things and feel confident you have done your best each and every day.

12. What You Measure Gets Done

We have used data and analytics to track the effectiveness of our client’s marketing for over 20 years. We also found using data to track the effectiveness of the company was critical to our success.

You can read about business metrics and SMART goals in the book “Traction.” We follow the Traction business operating system called EOS at IW, and it has been a big part of our success. A key part of Traction is making sure the company measures success using key performance indicators (KPIs) and holds people accountable for those results.

13. Keep Balance in Life and Work

Make sure you have hobbies and passions outside of work. One of these hobbies must include exercise, and a second important hobby should be something that challenges your mind.

14. Work in the Present and Predict Future Trends

You may not always get the future right, but you are better off planning for changes to come than letting the future surprise you. Don’t let the future happen to you and react; be ready with strategies and planning to help you get ahead of what is coming.

15. Don’t Make Assumptions

The mind has a bad habit of constantly guessing what a client is thinking or why people do what they do. This habit of making assumptions about people is a problem. It’s best to ask questions and get clarity than to second guess people, situations, or things. Don’t assume anything; go and find out by researching and asking questions.

16. Make Checklists and To-Do Lists

Checklists are the formula for getting things right, and your daily to-do list is what makes you successful as you do the things each day that get you to your goals. Many people do neither of these things and end up missing opportunities, making mistakes, and not reaching their goals.

17. Leverage AI

AI can take what you do well and supercharge it. It can make the checklists and do-to lists that will get you to your goals. Any writing, research, planning or related task can be improved upon using AI tools like ChatGPT 4 and Google’s Bard.

Using AI during the content writing process
AI is a great tool to accelerate the writing process and organize first-draft content.

18. Perfection is Right in Front of You

The search for perfection is a trap that can lead to indecisions, delays, and a lack of action that hurts your business. It is better to make a decision and learn from it than do nothing. Maybe perfection is already there, and we are assuming we need more.

19. Strategy Drives Results

Strategy is the path you take to reach your goals. It’s like a road map, and selecting the right path is the key to getting to your destination. Identify your strategy, set a plan to get there, and use your daily list of action items to make it happen.

20. Never Give Up

If your mission is clear and you know it can work, then never give up. As long as you love what you do and there is a market for your product or services, then you can make it work and be successful.

Thomas Young

Thomas Young is the CEO and Founder of Intuitive Websites. He is a consultant, award winning Vistage speaker and author of “Winning the Website War” and “Sales and Marketing Alignment.” Tom has helped thousands of companies succeed online and has over 25 years digital marketing experience.