Posts Tagged 'business management'

Stuck in a Direction

I started this IT service business in 2006.  The vision is to provide a packaged IT solution that is more about strategic management, maintenance, and planning than it is about day-to-day IT support.  Somewhere along the road, though, my vision lost ground to the reality of business.  We need to pay the bills, so we need to accept clients that don’t really get the value of the all-encompassing solution. 

We then get stuck with those clients in a reactive mode.  They don’t want to move forward with our strategic recommendations because they don’t want to spend the money.  Then we get so tied up in support, that we don’t have time to do the proactive, strategic planning for our clients.  Now we are judged only on our ability to fix support issues, rather than on our experience in business technology planning.

I am trying desperately to get us out of this rut, but sometime business needs (money needs) come before my vision for the company.  I know my vision is necessary and valuable to companies, but we need a shift in business thinking regarding technology before my vision of an IT service provider is accepted as the more valuable solution. 

I don’t know when this shift will come.  When will business technology move past being a necessary evil for most companies and be viewed as a driver of business value?  When will companies see their IT investment as a potential competitive advantage, and understand that experts can make that advantage happen?

I’m still preaching, but who is listening?

Eavesdropping or good business

I was at a Starbucks yesterday (I don’t think the training helped them), and I couldn’t help but overhear the people at the table next to me.  They were a man and a woman, and they seemed to be acquaintances who were catching up on their respective business lives.  The man was a much louder talker, and I could hear him talking about the funds he has put together to invest in real estate.  Specifically, he was investing in medical buildings. 

Now..I am attempting to get my services into the medical industry, and having someone with access to the tenants of a medical building is like gold.   At what point am I allowed to bust into the conversation and talk about my services?  I know that makes my eavesdropping obvious, and may be a huge turn-off for this gentleman.  On the other hand, they are talking at a very crowded Starbucks so they have to have some expectation that someone will hear their conversation. 

Since we’ve adopted this relatively new culture of coffee shop meetings, Starbucks-communting, and very open network conversations, is this type of business acceptible?  Is every conversation that takes place at a Starbucks just like a conversation that takes place over a blog…you have to assume EVERYONE is listening. 

In the past I have actually stopped at a table on my way out, apologized for overhearing their conversation, and dropped my card.  Sometimes it has led to a talk.  Sometimes it has led to a LinkedIn connection.  On this day I did nothing.  I had to run to a meeting, and didn’t have time to talk, in the event that the couple wanted to engage further.  However, it did cause me to consider the idea that Starbucks is essentially a real-life blog…or, rather, blogs are an online Starbucks.