Your Survival Depends On One Key Person’s Focus
Many business owners attempt to be “everything to everyone.” This is not a winning formula. In fact, the ‘right’ things you need to do include narrowing your solution offerings and becoming focused on core competencies. These will be the real winning strategies for today’s IT service firms.
Over my decade or so of serving business with their technology needs, I have had the luxury of watching many solution providers blossom like a tall tree in a Niagara park, while others have crashed like a pileup at the Daytona Speedway.
So why do some firms blossom and others crash?
There are several reasons for success. One common denominator that shows up time after time, especially in bad economic times, is the successful businesses understand the power having extremely tight solution offerings for their clients. Companies who recognize this trend are now attempting to get back to the basics, which made them successful to avoid falling flat on their face.
In tight economic conditions, many small businesses are looking to simplify and ‘cut the fat.’ Complicated products and services, replaced with solutions that are simple to use combined with minimal training and investment, plus maintains or even improves productivity. Small business owners who can make these smart investments, and at the same time find ways to keep the cost of support down are the ones who will survive and even thrive through the downturn – and they are looking for business partners to help them.
Words of Wisdom
Business owners who still baffle their prospects or clients with technical jargon and convoluted solutions will struggle to win new clients and keep existing business over those who truly put themselves in front of as trusted business advisors. A business advisor who invests the time to learn about their prospect/clients’ businesses and design a solutions that meet and even exceed their business needs.
How is business going to succeed in today’s world?
The path to success is clear – Small Business today have many advisors influencing on many aspects of their business. Your business should not be any different. Many small business owners wear many hats in their business. They are experts in the products they sell or the service they offer. They look to outside advisors to assist them in making decisions, which will have an impact on their business, and your services should be no different. All business owners and staff today must be advisors with specific solution offerings. They must pick the clients that fit their model and become experts in those areas. It is the harsh reality that you cannot help every business and not every business can use you.
Keeps costs low and provide competitive offerings – One of my favorite reasons why small business owners need to have specific focus areas is the ability to keep costs low and offer competitive alternatives. With a narrow solution offering, becoming an expert in specific solutions becomes easier and allows lower overall business costs. Training staff becomes less of an expense, often done in-house. Marketing efforts focused and sales processes nailed down, all resulting in a lower cost of doing business and again, allow them to have a competitive offering.
Constantly improve your strengths; outsource your weaknesses – A necessity and required read for any business owner is Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0. StrengthsFinder allows an owner to understand their strengths and the strengths of their team. It is a well-known benefit in business to hire employees who compliment your strengths or brings particular strengths to a team that has been missing. The same said about the solutions that small business professionals offer to clients. Focusing on your strengths and outsourcing or collaborating with others will compliment and improve solution offerings.
Focus – Perhaps one of the hardest areas for many professionals is the idea of focus. With all the distractions in the world today, from email, the telephone, multimedia & social networking, focus is really the ‘holy grail.’ When your business can focus on its goals, the chances of succeeding increase dramatically. Having a focused solution stack and offerings will provide you with immediate competitive advantage.
People still matter – Make the right hiring choice, especially today. Now is the time to trim the fat and to ensure the right people are ‘on the bus’ who understand where you are going. Alignment of strengths and focus points will quickly weed out those who do not belong.
Be real – Employees, partners and clients can spot phonies. It is actually built-in to us as human beings, and people will know if you are not being sincere. You cannot be everything to everyone, and the best thing to do is admit to your weaknesses, and play to your strengths. Never try to be something you are not and ‘keep it real’ at the expense of everything else.
It is a dog-eat-dog world, so focus on relationships and keeps them strong. Strong relationships will ensure that no one cuts your grass, especially with those clients and prospects you work hard to keep. Do what you do well, and surround yourself with those who bring new strengths to the table. In addition, remember you cannot be a fit for everyone. Align with the best and keep it simple. This is the formula to winning in the world today.
Contributing blogger Stuart Crawford is VP of business development with Bulletproof InfoTech, a solutions provider in Alberta, Canada. The VAR Guy is updated multiple times daily. Don’t miss a single post. Subscribe to his newsletter, RSS feed, Twitter feed , Webcasts and Resource Center.