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2021 at Far Reach: Continuity with Change

2021 Wrapup Far Reach

2021. It was...a year. As I pause to reflect on the past 12 months, I do so thinking about Far Reach, our team, our families, our communities, and our world. It’s a lot to think about, I know. 

We all said 2020 was a bizarre year. And boy was it. But now, I find myself and others saying the same thing about 2021. Maybe all years will just be weird years from now on. We used to talk about the “new normal” and “after COVID.” But as of now, I’m not sure we’ve reached anything that would be considered normal, nor are we past the days of thinking and talking about COVID. 

2020 bled right into 2021, as years do. I didn’t feel a remarkable shift on January 1, 2021, and I don’t expect to on January 1, 2022. But I do like to take time to think about the past year and look ahead to the next. 

In many ways, 2021 was status quo. We created kickass software, helped clients with really unique problems, and continued to define what we want Far Reach to be. 

And yet in just as many ways, 2021 felt like a series of seismic shifts. New clients, new team members, new lessons learned. 

I guess every year feels like this, in part, right? A lot stayed the same, but a lot also changed. So in looking back at the year, here’s my best shot at distilling what seemed to stand out in 365 days that seemed like it started just a moment ago.

Continued Remote Success

Remote work is the new global reality. As we talked about in last year’s review, we were remote-ready in 2015. Now that the world has adapted video conferencing and virtual collaboration, we’re still right in our sweet spot. We still have our office on Main Street in Cedar Falls for those who want a physical workspace and for team gatherings. But for the most part, our team is completely distributed. 

While our home is and always will be Iowa, the shift to remote work has benefited us in many ways. We can find the right team members—no matter where in the US they reside—and integrate them into our virtual processes. Our team and our clients have already benefited from the arrival of team members from as far away as Colorado and Texas. It’s been a treat to get to know and learn from our peers in other parts of the country.

We can also work with clients anywhere in the world. While we were already working with long-distance clients long before the pandemic, businesses are now much more open (and equipped) to work with geographically distant partners. Businesses can find the right-fit development partner, and we can take on ideal projects no matter where in the world they’re thought up.

Long-term Client Relationships

We value long-term relationships with our clients. We don’t want to step in for a 6-week project and then say our goodbyes. We like to build custom software systems and enhance them over time to help businesses meet their goals. 

In 2021, we had a great mix between new and existing clients. We continue to build out and maintain systems we’ve been working on for years (like iEmergent’s Mortgage MarketSmart platform, the Leading Edge Fundraising Portal, and STRATAFOLIO’s real estate management software). And we also got to dive into new projects with new clients that are meeting really unique needs—the main value proposition of custom software. Look for details on those projects in 2022...we can’t quite talk about them yet. 

We love having a mix of new and existing clients and projects. We’re thankful for the clients who stay with us for the long run and for the new clients who dive into a project even though just the thought of building custom software can be overwhelming. 

New Faces

We’re at the point in our business—April will be 15 years, believe it or not—where we have stability and continuity and yet things are changing all the time. We’re in the technology business, so this is our theme. 

We have team members who have been with us for 5+ years (some much longer) and team members just joining us. We had team members leave in 2021 to start their new adventures, and we’re thankful for the time they were here. Such are the ebbs and flows of running of a business. 

I’m as passionate as ever about building a great place to work and fostering a culture that makes every team member feel fulfilled. And as we turn the page to 2022, we’re on the lookout for new team members—currently, senior .NET developers and project managers–to help us fulfill our promises to our clients. (If you know anyone looking, send them our way.) 

Leading With Freedom

leading with freedom

The Far Reach leadership team is getting vulnerable and diving into the WorldBlu Freedom at Work leadership model. I’ve heard about this framework many times over the years, and we’re in a good spot to make shifts that align with our vision. It’s scary, emotional work, but we can already see how a freedom-centered culture will support where we want to be as a company.

Watch this space for more information on our journey through the training and how we apply it at Far Reach.

Cheers to 2022

That’s a look back at 2021, all in an 800-word blog post—which feels apt because this year seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. 

As usual, we’re excited to see where 2022 takes Far Reach and our clients. We’ll celebrate our 15th anniversary, continue to live our purpose of empowering others to make a positive difference, and adapt to whatever else comes our way.

See you next year.