As I'm closing out the CaseySoftware books at the end of each year, I take the opportunity to review, compare, and track the details against the previous year. Overall, it's been a good year for CaseySoftware in terms of finances, growth, activity, etc. Here's a quick summary:
Yes, as a geek, I have hard metrics to go with each of these, not all are for public consumption. 😉
- Blogging – My goal for the year was to average 15 posts/month for a total of 180 for the year. As of this writing, I averaged about 11.5 posts/month on CaseySoftware alone.. with a handful of posts other places. The missed goal can be tracked to a lack of blogging in February/March and a short vacation in September where I dropped to single digits. My goal this coming year is 20 posts/month across the various sites. This pales in compared to some profilic types like Aaron Brazell, but blogging is a tool for me, not my business.
- Conferences – My goal was to speak at a pair of conferences this year and attend two others. I managed to speak at ZendCon, DCPHP, and BarCampDC, so that goal was exceeded. I also attended CPAC, MySQL Conf (ran the dotProject booth), and PodCampBoston. My new goal is a 3/3 split but replacing one of the developers conference with a more strategy/direction conference. I'm leaning towards SXSW.
- Revenue – Ah… one of the key metrics for any business… revenue was up this year. Unfortunately, my goal was another increase of 50% (same as the year before), but it ended up being closer to 15%. This one can be traced almost entirely to three things:
- First, a trio of projects ran over their estimates… ridiculously over their estimates to the point where they collided with other projects and tied up resources that could be used more productively elsewere. Two of those were due to constant requirements changes which cascaded into the other projects. To combat this one, there are new penalty clauses built into the contracts if the number/scope of changes surpass a certain level.
- Second, I joined the WhyGoSolo team to manage development and operations. While this has caused a hit on current revenue, I know it will turn into something bigger than I can imagine. So I consider it an investment… 😉
- Third and finally, some customers just haven't paid. In previous years, I would have messed around and only half-heartedly pursued it. This year is different. All three accounts – let's call them Dan, Ed, and Andy – have been sent to collections. A long time friend and tech genius is the CTO at the collection company and has assured me that the three accounts will get her personal attention. For 2008, my policy is simple… once payment is late, it will be filled for collections. I have more important things to do.
My goal for this year is to continue the stable growth (20%) in terms of revenue but to diversify the mix from mostly contracted project work to selling some of the products already developed and focus on efforts complementary to WhyGoSolo… mobile web, here we come. 😉
- Customer Retention – Approximately 85% of customers that did a project with CaseySoftware in 2006 did a project with us in 2007. Even better, about 75% of customers did 2+ projects with CaseySoftware this year. And 60% of those customers came as direct referrals from others. (That 75% will increase as some customers don't have another project until months later.) Finding customers can be an expensive proposition. I think I've struck a good balance between blogging, presentations, existing network, and various other channels. I plan to continue on this route with the tweaking noted above…
I apologize for some of the navel-gazing on this post. Without specific numbers, most of this isn't very useful for the general public, but it's to put some things, ideas, and goals on the record. We'll see what happens…