Consultants And The Keys

March 31, 2009

Businesses of all sizes use IT consultants.

IT Consultants can recommend strategic IT priorities.

And they can help you do more with less for the nitty gritty installation and configuration of big software or servers that you don’t have the staff or time to do.

As a SMB manager, You still have to make sure that you are holding the keys to your kingdom.

There will be, and must be, an end of the relationship at some point.

They cannot hold the keys forever, and you cannot be a hostage to missing information.

The onus is on you to make sure that the knowledge or work they have done is accurately and effectively left with you.

Photo Credit bohman via flickr

I was reading an industry rag and read an article about research how consumers now want instant information via the web. The article was primarily oriented around luxury products. But I doubt it is limited to that.

I was surprised.

That still, in this day and age, some businesses still can’t see it!

They still don’t get it; the Web is your new face! Let me quote one businessman;

..good sales people trump a good web site

Guess what – your sales people will never be found without a good web site.

Using terms by John A. Quelch & Katherine E. Jocz and their article How To Market In A Downturn at the Harvard  Business Review  (Subscription required) when your product or service is either postponable, or expendable because of the economy. Then you better be working hard.

And in this case, this product is both.

I am your sales peoples worst customer,

And, I am your sales peoples best customer

I am their worst, because they won’t see me. I won’t be asking for information, I won’t be asking for details.

And I am their best, because when I have decided that your product or service is what I want – all they need to do is tell me where to sign. The entire transaction is over in minutes.

Consumers now dictate the rules of engagement – not you!

The number of people who research their purchases over the Internet first grows every year (you probably do!)

In fact if you are in the B2B market, The Marketing Sherpa did a marketing  study  that identified;

an astounding 80% of B2B sellers and buyers stated that when planning a purchase, that their decision makers and contributors identified that “We found the vendor.” 

Note, your sales people did not find them – they found you!

So your good sales people are helpless if the the customer found someone else first.

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Andy Nulman gave away  copies of his book, Pow! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting from the Power of Surprise and I was lucky enough to be included.

If you are a marketer, read this book.

Pow! Right Between The Eyes

Pow! Right Between The Eyes

If you are an entrepreneur, read this book

If you are a business manager, read this book.

The presentation is engaging, fresh, and worth reading for entertainment value alone.

But don’t get me wrong, the subject of this book is serious. It is about generating the buzz, the word of mouth, that drives people to your brand through the art of surprise.

Andy uses his own experience and research to demonstrate that when skilled marketing uses the element of surprise, it hits you, the consumer; Pow!Right Between the Eyes!

I do have one bone to pick with Andy, right from the beginning of the book, he expresses his fondness for hockey. Then talking about Web 2.o and YouTube;

..In a Web 2.0 devoid of surprise, YouTube would be as interesting as your parents’ Super-8 home movies (which are probably also there, but mercifully ignored).

Well Andy – SURPRISE! – My parents Super-8 video includes some of these guys;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS: I need bigger balls, I failed Andy’s Wallet test.

I gotta work on that!

Tim Horton Photo Credit

Frank Mahovlich Photo Credit

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I Really Doubt It

March 29, 2009

I wanted to point out a quote by Alan Weiss on this post titled; Random Consulting Thoughts

…which is that doubt is common and necessary. We should all be willing to doubt what the client tells us, doubt what we hear, and doubt that an off-the-shelf or generic response will work. 

As a SMB Business Technology Manager, that can be a tough one.

Too often tech  people come to drink their own Kool-Aid and belive that they already have the answer, and can make the sun come up pink tomorrow.

I am guessing that it is a defensive thing. Trying not to seem unsure about the service we provide.

But I think that there should always be doubt. And I believe that I should be communicating those doubts to the best of my ability.

Case in point

We are looking at an extensive upgrade of our Internet connection. The old one is too slow and has outlived its usefullness.

I am asked constantly if it will make all of our speed issues go away.

I have to say I doubt it.

In the business we are in – we could probably fill 10 times the upgraded Internet connection that we are looking at.

The SMB Takeaway

As business managers in the SMB space, when it comes to your technology infrastructure, there is rarely a silver bullet.

You can determine your cost vs. benefit for the increments that make the most sense to you.

But don’t let your IT staff or supplier claim that it will be a magic fix.

Always keep a little doubt. I do.

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I am sure you have heard that statement before. (at least in North America!)

But there is a flip side.

Someone has to sweat those little things!

It may not be today. Maybe not even next year.

But some time, some when.

And by that time it will probably be sweating a bigger thing.

Have you seen one?

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Just Say No

March 27, 2009

Too Many Projects Chasing Too Few People-It’s Time to Learn to Say No!, By Art Petty at Management Excellence.

Just Say No!

Just Say No!

It’s OK and even healthy to challenge yesterday’s priorities as they bury people in today’s work.

What was a good decision last year, may not be now. What could be a good idea now, in one year may not be.

A decision is not cast in stone.

It must be pulled out and dusted off once in a while

Is it still adding value? Or has the environment changed?

The SMB Takeaway

The above article is geared towards ‘C’ level IT executives, in the SMB space, usually IT cannot do it alone.

So you need to be communicating.

You need IT to be part of the conversation.

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Photo Credit manthropologist via flickr

About a year ago a local vendor called me and asked to send me a catalogue of their services.

Foolishly – I said sure.

Since that day they have sent me at least 3 (sometimes more) SPAM E-Mails a day.

After Day 1 I just started sending them to the SPAM bin – so I only see them every month or so when I go to empty it.

Now I get a voice mail today asking me to call them back.

Sorry – 

Not gonna happen.

I do not do business with vendors that SPAM me, or anyone else.

 

SPAM

SPAM

 

 

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