After having been a Manatee Small Business of the Year Finalist in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, we tempered our hopes and maintained a quiet resolve that we would not win again this year. We would simply continue to work hard, improve, and go after it again next year. Since we were seated in the very back of the room we whispered to one another that it was confirmation of being passed over yet another year… but to our astonishment when the time came our name was announced.
The walk to the podium was one of the longest walks I’ve ever made, with the stream of emotions that flooded through my being. The sense of pride, accomplishment, and excitement were so overwhelming. I have presented to much larger audiences without any problems but this was different. This one was unexpected and emotional.
Yet here I am a week later, and I still feel that stream of emotions. Since we were selected as one of the Small Business of the Year award winners last week we have been inundated with warm congratulatory emails and phone calls. The spring in my step, the extreme pride I have when I receive yet another congratulatory phone call; it still hasn’t worn off. I had heard about this feeling from past winners, but “Oh what a feeling” to experience it yourself.
But over the past week time has also found a way to allow the realization to set in the huge responsibility this award carries. The past winners of this award are synonymous with Manatee County, and while I’m not sure how easy it will be to think about Webtivity in that light, I do know our work has only begun. So with resolve we must continue doing all the things we have tried to do well over the years and continually improve:
- Providing a strong customer service model
- Never making promises we can’t keep
- Always trying to exceed expectations
- Maintaining unconditional honesty and ethics
- Faithfully contributing to the success of our community
Beyond those tenets we have also increased our efforts over the past few years to better educate the public about technology and online marketing through teaching workshops, blogging and social media. Our industry can be embarrassingly self-destructive and unfortunately many consumers have had tremendously negative experiences with web designers, self-proclaimed SEO experts, and outsourcing calamities.
We often have a high hill to climb when new clients approach us, so we feel education is critical to developing a long-term relationship with our clients and improving the overall climate of our industry. It sounds like a pretty simple paradigm, but these are apparently foreign concepts to some in our industry.
So our commitment as winners of this prestigious award is to continue to do what brought us to this proud and humbling moment in the history of our 12 year old company, and continually seek ways to improve our company, community and industry. We appreciate the trust that has been placed in us with this award, eagerly accept the challenges ahead and emphatically congratulate the other 2011 award winners: Environmental Biotech, LaPensee Plumbing & Pools and United Systems Computer Group.
In closing, I would like to thank our customers for nominating us year after year and for having confidence in us to take that initial plunge. Most of all I would like to thank my team. They are Webtivity. They are the Small Business of the Year. Each one has enormous talent in their area of expertise but what makes them different is their passion for customer satisfaction. They know this passion is what differentiates us in an industry often criticized for lack of customer service. This is not a job to them. This is their company. Their talent, passion, and commitment is what makes me most proud! [still choking me up]