Why You Want to Join a Channel Community

Why join a channel community? Being part of such a community reaps many rewards, which we’ve outlined here.

Howard M. Cohen, Senior Resultant

November 3, 2020

4 Min Read
Social Network

Look ahead a few months, maybe a few years, and you’ll see why you want to join a channel community now and grow with it as your world changes.

Where Will You Be Tomorrow?

If you’re like most channel partners, you’ve probably already been through a few transformations. Perhaps you started as a VAR and watched sales fall away as the cloud grew in popularity. Like many others, you probably became a systems integrator (SI), managed service provider (MSP), an independent software vendor (ISV) or some other form of business.

Not long after, many of you climbed aboard the cumulonimbus bus and became cloud service providers (CSP).

You think those changes are all over? Guess again.

For instance, even now, MSPs are being reminded that “you can’t be all things to all people.” They are learning that lesson the hard way, damaging their businesses trying.

There’s an old adage that says “Winners focus. Losers spray.” It was originally meant to differentiate between those who used rifles and those who used shotguns, but it applies here just as well.

The most successful service providers “stick to their knitting.” They figure out what they do best, and what has brought them the most success and profit over the years. They focus on that. They promote that and they market that. They sell and deliver that. Then they become known for that one thing they do best.

But What Do They Do About Customers Who Need Other Stuff?

This has long been a very good question, but it has always had a very good answer.

Once you specialize on a given service or service category, you are invariably going to have customers who want that, and other things. At some point you’ve pretty much shut down your capacity to do anything beyond your specialty. That’s made you very successful, but what do you do about this customer in need?

The answer has always been that you partner.

You find a colleague or colleagues whose practice specializes in the other service or services your customer requires. You make an agreement to either subcontract them or otherwise partner with them to satisfy all your customer’s needs. In that agreement you include agreements not to “poach” each other’s customers, and not to interfere in each other’s business, or hire each other’s people. You set rates and profit sharing.

Now your customer gets everything they need, you didn’t have to ever say “no” to a customer, and you didn’t fall into the trap of trying to do something you’re no longer equipped to do well.

Where Do You Find These Partners?

This brings us full circle back to where we started. Why join a channel community?

That’s where you’ll find those partners.

Not only that, you’ll also find others who have already partnered with them and can tell you what to expect, reducing the time you’ll need to spend fully vetting and evaluating potential partners. In a world where customers want everything quickly, and competition is just waiting to beat you to it, being able to move fast is a huge advantage.

More Ways Communities Save You Time

How much sheer tonnage of information is thrown at you every day? Product information. Technical information. Marketing information. Sales information. Utterly useless information.

A great community helps filter that for you, bringing you pre-digested information you can consume quickly and put right to use.

Who can you talk to when you’re challenged by a decision? In a community full of people who do work similar to your own, it’s more than likely you’ll find a few you can feel confident and comfortable talking with. Need a resource? The network created by your community surely knows where to find it. That’s really what communities are, networks of like-minded people with similar interests who are willing to share and co-operate.

You Get Out What You Put In

As you might expect, those other people in the network may just as easily turn to you for advice, help, assistance, or opportunities to partner on.

The most successful members of the channel invest time and care into the channel community. What they get in return are great friends, acceleration of their ability to solve problems, and increased income and success.

The Channel Futures 501er Community does everything we’ve described here and more. It costs nothing to join. You don’t need to have won anything. You simply need to be a forward-looking member of the channel who wants to expand their network, their resources and their success.

Here’s how to join:

We look forward to seeing you there!

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About the Author(s)

Howard M.  Cohen

Senior Resultant

Senior Resultant Howard M. Cohen is a 30+ year executive veteran of the Information Technology industry, an authorized CompTIA instructor, and a regular contributor to IT industry publications. He serves on many vendor advisory panels including the Apple, Compaq, HP, IBM, and NEC Service Advisory Councils. He also serves on the Ingram Micro Service Network board and as a U.S. Board member of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners. He is a frequent speaker at IT industry events that include Microsoft’s WorldWide Partner Conference, Citrix Synergy/Summit, ConnectWise IT Nation, ChannelPro Forums, Cloud Partners Summit, MicroCorp One-On-One, and CompTIA ChannelCon. He refers to himself as a “Senior Resultant” because he has always understood that we are all measured only by our results.  Connect with Howard at [email protected] and review his portfolio at www.hmcwritenow.com.

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