Gini Dietrich

Five Tips for Preparing for 2012

By: Gini Dietrich | December 14, 2011 | 

I’m not going to lie. 2011 has been a terrible year. I’m thankful it’s nearly over.

But 2012? It’s shaping up to be a good year. A really good year.

Sure, we’ve hit the double dip recession and the economy doesn’t look like it’ll rebound until 2013. But it’s still going to be a good year.

Why? Because we’ve gotten lean and mean, we’ve figured out what our vision is and what we want to accomplish, and we spent this year setting the foundation for growth.

Following are five tips on doing the same so your 2012 shapes up to be excellent.

  1. What is your vision? When I started Arment Dietrich, I didn’t really know what I wanted to achieve. I knew I wanted to grow a public relations firm focused on real business results, but that’s not really a vision. Through Spin Sucks (our blog) and the forthcoming Spin Sucks Pro, I realized what I really want to do is change the perception of the PR and marketing industries. It’s a big, big vision and it may never be accomplished in my lifetime, but everything we do leads us to that vision.
  2. What do you want to accomplish? This is different than your vision because it’s more immediate. Where do you see yourself at the end of 2012? Do you see it as a successful year? What has to happen for you to feel like it was successful? Write those things down. For instance, I knew I wanted to write a book that had a publish date that coincides with the full, public launch of Spin Sucks Pro. Success is very measurable because either I’ll have a book or I won’t (I will – in May).
  3. Set the foundation. A lot of the things you’ll need to do to move toward the vision and to accomplish what you’ve written down will require a foundation. Perhaps it’s developing a content strategy or creating a community on one of the social networks or writing a book proposal or developing a new product or service that will be sold later in the year. Whatever you decide, the foundation needs to be built. And, if you’re like me, it may take one crummy year to get it where you need it so you have many years of success. This is a marathon so keep that in mind as you’re building.
  4. Get lean and mean. This was a really interesting exercise we went through this year. We cut everything we could think to cut. And then we cut some more. Just because you have an office lease or contracts on equipment or bank loans does not mean you can’t renegotiate terms or get out early. We spent a good portion of the year getting as lean as we could by doing some of these things in order to make cash king in 2012.
  5. Maintain your optimism. It’s easy to get down, especially when we keep hearing about how terrible the economy is. But if you maintain your optimism, it’s amazing how things tend to work out. The power of positive thinking definitely applies. Keep your vision posted on the wall in front of you so you can see it all the time. And, when you get down, look at that vision and think about how great things will be when you achieve those lifelong goals.

It’s not going to be easy, but I guarantee if you do these five things, you’ll beat the economy and flourish while your competitors flounder.

This first appeared on Al Smith’s blog, The Care Movement

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • I was thinking, 2011 couldn’t be that bad. Then I realized that you met me and bdorman264 this year, so in retrospect, I feel very sorry for you. 🙂

    I’m really looking forward to 2012, and I agree that setting the foundation is truly important. Working on that now (as you know!).

    • ginidietrich

      @adamtoporekbdorman264 LOL! THAT is a very good point. Definitely the low point of my year.

      • @ginidietrich@adamtoporek I know you were thinking things can’t get much worse and then Adam and I show up. See, there was only way to go from there and that was up, right? So yes, I will personally take credit for things looking up from that point forward. I told you I was good for something……..:)

        • ginidietrich

          @bdorman264@adamtoporek Thankfully, once you hit rock bottom, there is only one way to go.

  • 2011 sure was a mixed bag for me, but not the ball of happiness and do-re-mi I expected. So I’m saying that will all happen in 2012. Right?

    • ginidietrich

      @KenMueller This year sucked. It was the worst of the three years. Which is totally weird because I was completely blindsided in 2008. I was ready this year. But 2012 will be better. We’ll both be singing do-re-mi!

      • @ginidietrich the trick is to get you to sing it on video…

        • ginidietrich

          @KenMueller Hmmm…I don’t sing that well. But sure. If we both have really good years next year, I will sing it on video one year from now.

        • @ginidietrich you have to sing better than I do!

        • ginidietrich

          @KenMueller I definitely sing better than you play accordion.

    • @KenMueller Oh yeah… and I beat Ken this morning. Doesn’t happen often, so I like to remind him when it does! 🙂

      • @adamtoporek I’ve slowed down a bit in my old age, Adam. I think being a part of the Spin Sucks community has aged me…

        • @KenMueller I hear ya… We should figure out the formula for Spin Sucks years — sort of like dog years.

        • @adamtoporek Yeah, and they aren’t measured in years, they are measured in a unit known as Ginis. “Man, I aged 12 Ginis this past month!”

        • ginidietrich

          @KenMueller@adamtoporek Oh you guys are really funny. Ha.

  • I’m not sure what to say about 2011. In some ways it has been the best year ever and in others it has been the worst year of my life. This week I’ve been building out the rest of our 2012 plan and “Lean and Mean” is one of my goals… SO, I know I’m on the right track if you are thinking it too Gini D.

    Here’s to 2012 being the year of new beginnings and great things.

    • ginidietrich

      @justinthesouth I loved having an office where we brought in breakfast for everyone every day and we had Fridays wine:thirty (sponsored by the company) and we did quarterly outings. But the fact of the matter is that stuff costs a ton and, even without it, we all like one another a whole bunch and don’t really miss it. There are other ways to build culture without spending money.

      • @ginidietrich That is true, it is amazing how fast all those things add up, without anything really showing for it. There is something to be said for a team who wants to hangout on their own, even without the company sponsored events.

        • ginidietrich

          @justinthesouth Exactly! It’s funny…that used to hurt my feelings because I was never invited along. Then I realized I was no longer in a peer position. It’s a weird thing to overcome.

        • @ginidietrich For me as a leader, that is something I still struggle with. I want to be everyones friend and I want to have a great relationship with them, but sometimes that is just not possible. I’ve learned, as I’m sure you have, it does not make them a bad employee or me a bad leader.

        • ginidietrich

          @justinthesouth You get to a point in your career where you have to let go of the happy hours and being friends with everyone. You can still be well liked and well respected, but that doesn’t mean they want to go out drinking with you. And that’s OK.

  • mjkoehler

    @ginidietrich Wow, my 5 tips are completly different. One involves stocking up on booze.

    • ginidietrich

      @mjkoehler I didn’t think booze was appropriate for a business blog

  • MatthewBreddan

    @JustInTheSouth Always great thoughts from @ginidietrich!

  • I like to live in the “possibilities” around the corner. If anything, this last hear just reinforced my philosophy that every challenge carries seeds of opportunity. Even tho there have been plenty of challenges in the last year, we’ve also discovered new opportunities that we didn’t know about. It’s all about perspective. I’m excited about what 2012 will bring!

    Great points here, Gini. We’ve done much the same all year. Carving out the time to “think” about vision, goals, foundation, etc is the challenge. I decided earlier this year that my fiscal year ends Dec 16. I’ve reserved the last two weeks of the year to explore, brainstorm, learn new things and re-focus on goals and objectives.

    • ginidietrich You know, it’s REALLY smart to end your fiscal a couple of weeks early. I wish I’d thought of that because now we have to do invoices on New Year’s Day. Totally doing it next year!

  • ’08 kind of bit the big one for me because I lost my biggest account and the economy tanked. Whereas, ’07 might have been my best year ever, ’08 could have been my worst.

    Thinking I had weathered the storm and was actually climbing out of the hole, ’11 kind of bit the wienie too. However, the way I’m paid (or not paid) usually has a year lag time so ’11 was really as a result of things that happened in ’10.

    ’11 was an ok year but I expected a little more; the good news is some of what I expected in ’11 is happening now and will get my ’12 off to a very good start. I also have some very nice opportunities in ’12 that could make it rival my ’07. I’ve got it set for rock and roll, full speed ahead.

    My vision is to continue to grow my book of business and be a leader in our corporation. The foundation has been set and now I just have to make it happen. We are about as lean and mean as you can get and I’m always the glass half full guy, even when my legs were cut out from under me.

    Fortunately, with my business I can control my destiny (pay) to a certain degree. I know there are many out there who don’t have that control.

    I do know our area just led the nation in new job outlook and it’s not going to stop for awhile so that has to be a good thing, right?

    That is all I have.

    • ginidietrich

      @bdorman264 That’s pretty darn good for being all you have!

  • LauraDunkleyWatson

    Thanks Gini. This will help me focus while making my 2012 plans.

    • ginidietrich

      @LauraDunkleyWatson Glad to hear it!

  • Great tips, Gini. 2011 was a challenging year for us, as well. And by challenging, I mean it sucked. (Except for the whole getting married thing. :)) Ever the optimist, though, I truly believe that *everything* we go through is a learning opportunity. While, at times, I felt like crawling into the fetal position, that wasn’t an option (fortunately and unfortunately :)).

    One of my favorite songs has a line, that runs through my head often: “In the middle of my big ‘ole mess, I forget how big I’m blessed.” I think putting it all into perspective, and as you said, maintaining optimism, plays a huge role in our success.

    Here’s to an amazeballs 2012 :).

    • ginidietrich

      @Katie Gutwein I don’t think getting married counts when you talk about business sucking! And, let’s be real, someone had a great year with you guys. She gets to sit on desks and in people’s chairs like she owns the joint.

  • BobReed

    Yep, 2011 bit. But we’ll be hitting it hard in 2012. And, hopefully, that pounding starts tomorrow.

    • ginidietrich

      @BobReed Why tomorrow?

      • BobReed

        @ginidietrich The new website is 99.9999 almost there.

        • ginidietrich

          @BobReed LOL!!! We think we’re going to beta launch Spin Sucks Pro tomorrow. So it may be a really great day for both of us!

        • BobReed

          @ginidietrich Awesome!

  • Such prudent and timely advice. I do feel and see a lot more optimism out there. Another thing is people are getting used to how things are and getting back to business as usual. You can only go so lean. That and the desperate price cutters of 2009/2010 imploded in 2011 (thank goodness) so that frees up the people who care about quality.

    • ginidietrich

      @hackmanj Yeah…at some point we have to just accept this as the new normal and get back to work.

  • rustyspeidel

    I love #5. So key.

    • ginidietrich

      @rustyspeidel It’s hard (as you well know). This past summer I didn’t think I was going to make it. It was hard to maintain the optimism.

  • skooloflife

    Thanks for sharing this Gini. It’s funny you’re the first person who has said what I’ve wanted to. This year has kind of sucked. HEHE. It’s been tougher than I expected and tons of peaks and valleys. But I love the 5 things you mentioned here. Now the key is to actually go out and do them.

    • ginidietrich

      @skooloflife If anyone will go out and to them, it’s YOU!

  • Perspective and attitude are important. Hindsight makes it easy to see what you could or should have done, but only to a point. I can look back at September of 2008 and see how a couple of decisions created issues that were exacerbated by an economy no one could have predicted.

    It led to in many was a disastrous time that I am just beginning to climb out of.

    I do my best to look it at as a time of learning and to say that dedication, tenacity and willingness to adapt is why things will get better. Rusty is right about #5, so important.

    • ginidietrich

      @TheJackB Hindsight is, in fact, 20/20. The past couple of weeks I’ve reflected on what I could have, and should have, done better this year. The past three years have been long and expensive learning experiences for me, but I’m with you…maintain dedication, tenacity, and willingness to adapt and we’ll both be fine!

  • Can you believe it was one year ago today, Dec 14, 2010, that I sat in your office talking about moving to Chicago and joining the Arment Dietrich team? That was fast! 2011 has been the most challenging year of my life and the most rewarding. It certainly did not go as planned, but what does? I am super happy to see it go bye bye. (But I’ve been saying that every year since 2008)

    One of the things I LOVE about the last two weeks of December is it’s a great time to step back and do a personal retreat with professional and personal goal setting.

    I second @Katie Gutwein ! Amazeballs 2012!!! LOL.

    • ginidietrich

      @Lisa Gerber Was it really one year ago today? Was that the same day as the big Spin Sucks Pro brainstorm?

      • @ginidietrich Yep, same day. I know.

        • ginidietrich

          @Lisa Gerber Wow.

  • Aww Gini! 2012 is going to be awesome! I have the most optimistic view about how the next year is going to play out. It just feels like good things are on the way. That’s the best way to start a new year.

    • ginidietrich

      @Maranda I definitely feel like good things are on the way. I haven’t felt that way since going in a long time. We’re all going to kill next year!

  • John_Trader1

    Since this is my first year as part of the Spin Sucks community, I have learned a lot and plan to take the knowledge from here into 2012 and beyond. I owe Gini and the rest of the community a lot of gratitude for sharing their knowledge and experiences. It’s like being a kid in a candy store grabbing fireballs by the handful in this community.

    You know GD, based on your writing style, demeanor, attitude and grace I would have never known that 2011 was a bad year for you. One of the keys to a successful PR pro is despite negativity and misfortune going on in your life, you put on a smile and fasten on your positive attitude PR hat each and every day. Not an easy thing to do.

    • ginidietrich

      @John_Trader1 I’m not a complainer by nature so I didn’t really talk about it in person, either. I am big on reflecting and learning and then sharing what I learned. No one really wants to go through the journey of pain with you. Plus, it’s important to me to keep my team motivated and energized so I put on a happy face, even when I’m not.

      Speaking of being a kid in a candy store. I just checked into a hotel and they have bowls of salt water taffy at registration. I was sneaking them into my pockets while the woman was looking down at the computer. I wanted to take the entire bowl!

      • John_Trader1

        @ginidietrich I have a sneaking suspicion that your community would be a lot smaller if you were a complainer.

        Salt water taffy. Mmmmmm….

        • ginidietrich

          @John_Trader1 Crap! Now I want to go steal more taffy. Thanks a lot.

  • rhonda hurwitz

    This is the post I needed to see as am thinking about 2012. Printed out and taped to my wall. BTW, maybe off topic but I saw this quote in Topydeys blog today:

    “My hope for you this holiday is that you don’t have what you want but, rather, that you want, and cherish, what you have” (from )

    … somehow combining your thoughts and hers is working for me today!

    • @rhonda hurwitz Great quote. Rhonda. Thanks for sharing!

    • ginidietrich

      @rhonda hurwitz Love that Tobey! What a great quote.

  • I love your honesty Gini. And yes, I think you hung the moon. I have watched people complain and belly ache all year to the point that I started unfollowing them. I know, I’m mean. My year has not sucked per se, but there has been quite a bit of shifting, which got old after awhile. It was people like you who encouraged me, most often without knowing. Here is to an AWESOME 2012.

    • ginidietrich

      @delwilliams There is nothing worse than following people who complain and moan all the time. I unfollow them too. But you know what helped me get through the year? Friends like you who know EXACTLY what to send when I’m down.

  • Your transparency and honesty is refreshing and awesome Gini. Thanks for setting the bar in the PR industry and the blogosphere as well…and some great tips here too.

    Can’t wait to watch you succeed in 2012 and meet up again soon. 🙂

    Cheering you on daily,


    • ginidietrich

      @Marcus_Sheridan When we see each other in May (if not sooner), we are going to have a “who has better teeth” contest. We’ll each choose three judges.

      • @ginidietrich Might not be a good idea. When people stare at me that get mesmerized…. :p

        • ginidietrich

          @Marcus_Sheridan LOL! You’re such a dork.

        • @ginidietrich@Marcus_Sheridan I’m not clear how that nice compliment turned into a contest on best teeth.

        • @Lisa Gerber@ginidietrich That’s the thing Lisa. Gini does that with people she really likes. When Mr. D asked Gini to marry her, she replied, “Gosh I hate the Packers. Stupid yellow and green uniforms….”

          That’s just how she rolls… 😉

        • ginidietrich

          @Marcus_Sheridan@Lisa Gerber Marcus, she knows this. She practically lives with me.

        • @ginidietrich@Marcus_Sheridan This is true, We are in fact, going to win the Newlywed Game. However, I’d like to add, that as much as we do know each other, I was unaware of your lip gloss inventory. I know you love it, obviously, which is why I bought you a box of it for Christmas. But I’m devastated to discover over on FB, that you have a moving truck full of it. SIGH.

        • ginidietrich

          @Lisa Gerber You don’t think that was a slight exaggeration on Mr. D’s part?

  • I am not one to look back on a year and judge it, because self examination is often painful. That being said, I accomplished something I never imagined this year. So I’m happy. In 2012, I hope to do a bit more.

    I love this community. It is fun to hang out, comment, and even occasionally write a post (I had 5 for Gini this year and the nice comments they received were greatly appreciated.)

    I too, didn’t realize it was a rough year. I’m a fan and if there is anything I can do to help make 2012 a monster success, I’ll be happy to lend a hand.

    • ginidietrich

      @ExtremelyAvg I thought your comment about having more comments than Danny was freaking hilarious. It made my day yesterday!

      • @ginidietrich @ExtremelyAvg actually, me too! And I got it in my email and thought Gini had made that comment. right after she challenged Marcus to a Best Teeth Contest and I was pretty sure we had a problem on our hands so I was happy to see my mistake.

  • daveegauthier

    @ginidietrich enjoyed this blog – a tangible way to sift through long term goals, and short term objectives. i look forward to your book!

  • We wish you all the best for 2012. When we cut lean, we tend to understand what is ‘luxury’ and what is ‘necessity’. So, its good in a way, because tough times enable us to distinguish between the two and concentrate more on the necessities.

    • ginidietrich

      @Raj-PB Yeah…I guess breakfast delivered every day is fun, but not necessary. 🙂

  • mamiof3kids

    5 Tips for Preparing for 2012 – | via @ginidietrich RT @rjfrasca rt @arkarthick

  • Thanks for the motivating advice Gini! Now I have some home work to do…hmm I don’t know if I am exactly thankful for this part.. 😉

    • ginidietrich

      @rachaelseda Do your homework!

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  • I thought this looked familiar. You will be hearing from my attorney. Oh, I guess I better get one first. Ha. Wow. This is so cool. Thanks for posting this again at your place. I am honored. Seriously. And I get a mention as well as The CARE Movement ? I am reaching for a tissue now. Unbelievable. See, I knew you cared ! Lol. Thanks again so much. Really do appreciate you.

    Uh, one thing. Next time (and there will be a next time) please capitalize CARE. Very important.

    Lol. Luv ya.

    Already looking forward to next summer for our helmet cam adventure / video. Woo Hoo !

    Buddies for life ? For sure.


    • ginidietrich

      @Al Smith You’re such a dork.

      • Sticks and stones …….. but dork ? Come on. It’s time for a new word. Luv ya.

  • razoo

    @jasculcaterman thanks for sharing! cc @spinsucks

  • ElissaFreeman

    Just catching up on my ‘Gini-reading’…and had to comment on this post. I always love your candour – even when it hits a nerve. But the most important take-away for me here? Ask yourself, your colleagues, your agencies: where do you see yourself and your department at the end of 2012? I’m doing a strategy session soon with our agency partners…and this is going to be a great question to kick things off. Thank you!

  • Just stumbled on your blog. Excellent post! In several of the comments, it mentioned not looking back to the previous year. I always recommend people keep the past in sight and yet in perspective. It gives you a good yardstick to see where your going. It is really the foundation the article mentions. At the same time I wouldn’t get too wrapped in it . The future is what is important. Full steam ahead.

  • FarrukhSiddiqui

    Five Tips for Preparing for 2012 #in #smallbiz /via @ginidietrich @TheTop10Blog @2morrowknight

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