In the Trenches: Reviewing 2013, Planning for 2014

BrettSnyder by Brett Snyder on January 15, 2014

The year 2013 is in the books and, as always, I’ve looked back to see how we did. Was it a good year? Indeed it was! But the results have set a challenge for us in 2014: This is the year we focus on revenue growth while keeping costs under control.

It took me a couple of days to reconcile our financials and make sure the reports were correct. I printed out an income statement and then began analyzing the results.

On the surface, our 2013 financials looked great. Our annual revenue was up 34 percent over 2012, and that’s all organic growth. (I still haven’t done any paid marketing.) But it was a different story on the cost side: Our expenses were up 104 percent.

That would probably set off alarm bells for many businesses, but I had anticipated it: At the beginning of 2012, I had no employees. By the end of 2013, I had one full-time staffer (who stepped into a bigger role mid-year) and two part-timers. Their salaries and related taxes made up the bulk of our cost increases. I couldn’t handle the growing workload myself — and didn’t want to. I’d planned to have less of me and more of others involved in day-to-day operations, even if that meant cutting into profits.

As a result, of course, income was down. And no one ever likes to see that. So, our challenge in 2014 is to grow revenues without creating any major cost increases. We now have the capacity to do more work — and that’s great. I’m also interested in pursuing higher-margin business to complement our existing customer base. There are a lot of opportunities in that area, and I think our 2014 year-end review will be a good one.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ll talk about those possibilities in a future post.


Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.