Business consultant and thought leader Stuart Crawford says we live in a tunnel and stepping out of our comfort zone can spur new ideas and new strategies.

Stuart Crawford, Consultant

December 18, 2015

3 Min Read
Are You Primed for Growth In 2016?

What is your growth strategy in 2016? Entrepreneur.com held their annual Growthcon conference this week in Long Beach, Calif., and the team at Ulistic was very fortunate to attend. 

I have always shared that, as part of any managed IT service company’s conference strategy, to step away from the abundance of IT events and zero in on business conferences like this recent event in Long Beach. Why? Simple: we live in a tunnel sometimes and stepping out of our comfort zone spurs new ideas and new strategies. 

To that end, Growthcon 2016 didn’t let us down.

Growthcon challenged our thinking and gave the management team at Ulistic an opportunity to look at our business from a complete different angles. Growthcon engaged some of the smartest minds in small business and even allowed us coaching time to pick the brains of industry experts, including Perry Marshall, Oliver Luckett, Bob LaPointe and others.

What did I pull out of this day investment? Well, the list is extensive, but here are my top three takeaways:

Stop Interviewing Potential Hires

Investments in top talent is essential. However, the way we are hiring for key roles is all wrong. Author and business consultant Marshall compared the hiring process to that of auditioning for a new bass player for a rock band. You wouldn’t bring in a new bass player without checking him out to see if he can actually play, he said. So why are we hiring people without checking them out? Audition prospects for key roles instead of interviewing them.

Understand the 80/20 Rule

Marshall also spoke in depth about his 80/20 concept—i.e. how 80 percent of our revenue comes from 20 percent of our top clients. He also “gave us permission” to fire clients. The 80/20 rule can be divided into itself numerous times, which for Ulistic, was eye opening.

Content Is Still King

OnCore Media founder Bob LaPointe shared concepts on how small businesses can use content marketing to win new business. This is something our team at Ulistic has been working hard at over the past few months. Since the inception of our LifeCycle Marketing strategy, we focus on education rather than hard-core sales. And clients are seeing amazing marketing and sales results with this slight shift.

So here is my challenge to many of the managed IT services companies out here.  When planning your events for 2016, remove half of the IT conferences that you would normally attend and start looking at event like Entrepreneur’s Growthcon, not to mention Penton Technology’s Channel Directions Live. These are great ways to meet other business owners inside and outside of IT. By attending different events, you may even walk away with new business opportunities. We did.

Like all events, you need to have a plan. Ours was simple. Meet new people, learn from industry experts, and walk away with three new things that we can do to better our business. We didn’t travel across the country just to sit in a seat and occupy space.

And we benefitted greatly as a result.

Stuart Crawford is Creative Director and MSP Marketing Coach with Williamsville, NY and Burlington, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. Ulistic provides a complete outsourced marketing department for IT service organizations. For more information, send email to [email protected]

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Stuart Crawford

Consultant, Ulistic

Stuart Crawford is Creative Director and MSP Marketing Coach with Williamsville, NY and Burlington, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.

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