In a World Full of Waldos, How Do You Stand Out?
I was recently at a birthday celebration for a friend who received a vintage Where’s Waldo? book as a gift. Remember Waldo? He had the round glasses well before Harry Potter made them famous, as well as the candy-cane striped sweater.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Where’s Waldo concept, you comb through insanely busy illustrations in search of a very thin fictional character named Waldo. When I looked at my friend’s birthday gift, I realized I couldn’t find Waldo, sadly, without my reading glasses.
Today, being a channel partner can be a bit like Waldo: It’s getting harder to see you. If you are not paying attention, you can easily blend in with everyone and everything else.
So how can you stand out in a crowd (without having to wear a candy-cane striped sweater)?
When I meet with channel partners, we often get into discussions about the best ways to increase their company’s visibility. Some partners ask because they are looking to improve their performance, redefine their products or enter a new market. Others are looking to spur their growth for an exit strategy that includes selling their company or merging with another.
While I’m no mergers and acquisitions expert, obviously, my years in the channel and my many conversations have given me some insight into what works and what doesn’t. The smart channel partners expand their offerings and develop a well-balanced customer mix–and are always ready to pivot when an opportunity presents itself.
Seth Collins, a mergers and acquisition expert at Martinwolf M&A Advisors, which focuses on mid-market IT VARs and software companies, suggests that companies consider how the buyer perceives them.
“In the channel, you always have to be re-inventing yourself,” Collins said.
That, by all accounts, is easier said than done. So, no matter if you are trying to improve the performance of your existing business, attract customers, enter a new market or even looking to cash-out with an exit strategy, what does it actually mean to re-invent your company?