Posts Tagged 'economy'

Making a Career Change

The career change starts today.  I’m going from the IT industry to the financial services industry.  Many people are asking why I would make the change, and, especially, why go into financial services now.

First, why leave IT.  To be honest, I was never a true “techie.”  I went to work for a startup application development company in 2000 when it was cool to do so.  From there I started a software company because I thought that software application would be a good one.  We migrated that company from IT management software to IT services because the business model was better.  I never learned programming, I didn’t learn how to configure a router or install a server.  I was the running attempting to run the business.  I was determining strategy, marketing, business development, partners, service offerings, employees, benefits, etc.

I decided to get out of the business partly because it was not my calling – I liked the business model, but I was never crazy about running a business where I knew I would never fully understand the services we offered.

I took quite a while to find a new profession, job, career, place to work.  I first thought I would be a small business consultant.  However, between the falling economy and the hurricane in Texas, spending on small business consulting seems to have fallen.

I decided to take a look at what I liked and did not like about running my business.  I loved the business development aspect more than anything.  I enjoyed getting to network, meet new people, identify issues they might have with their business that I can help.  I enjoyed the opportunity to build trust by finding someone in my network that might be able to provide some assistance also.

In the midst of all this soul searching, the economy was hurting and the market falling.  I had just purchased a house, and was going threw some financial budgeting issues while attempting to reconcile the credit cards, insurance, bank accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts, etc. that my wife and I both maintained.

I realized I could really use someone to help me make sense of my financial future.  I wanted to know how much to save, invest, and spend.  How much life and disability insurance I should have?  How do certain accounts affect my taxes?

Admittedly, I always a skeptical view of the industry.  There were life insurance salesmen, whom I would avoid at all costs.  Then there were stock brokers who were trying to get me to make more trades.

However, the more I talked to people I TRUSTED in the business, the more I realized they were doing the same things that I ENJOYED about my business.  They were meeting new people, and providing much needed solutions, advice, and guidance that impact people’s lives immensely.  I even have a financial background – it was my major in college, and I spent my first 4 years in financial roles.  Why wasn’t I pursuing this career?

So I started trying to find my way in, even during a downturn in the market.  I interviewed with several companies.  Some I liked, some liked me.  I decided on a place to call home based on the people on my team, the management, the perception of the organization, and the mix of products and services available. I will probably steer more toward investments than insurance, but I know insurance is a HUGE part of managing and protecting one’s family and wealth.

I am excited to start, not only a new job, but a new career.  I am looking forward to helping without being pushy.  I want to make certain my clients know I am always being mindful of their best interests.  I can’t wait to learn the ins and outs of the products and services.  Any advice will be welcome.

I’ll be attempting to document my growth, as regulations allow.  If you’d like to talk, email, meet, chat, etc., please feel free to contact me.

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Technology in a Down Market

I won’t dare to utter the dreaded “R-word,” but we are all aware of the current economic situations.  Gas prices are up.  Credit markets are hurting.  The almighty dollar is not so mighty.  Companies are starting to scale back their capital and operational expenditures.  This is a great time to look at processes and determine how to become more efficient and more cost conscious.  

 

This might seem like a poor time to look at spending money on technology, or on technology services.  However, that technology may make your company more efficient, and able to stave off the downturn.

 

One of the first things companies can do is to increase the mobility of their workers.  This means there is less gas spent driving to the office and back, which is good for the economy, good for the employees wallets, and good for company efficiency.  If an employee can be working each day right from the get-go, or from a client’s office, that means what was once driving time is now work time.  In addition, I can tell you we have closed deals mainly because we had the ability to make changes to a proposal or service contract while sitting with the client.  If you don’t have to leave their office, you don’t give them extra time to think about it. 

 

Another option is to choose to outsource technology service rather than have a full-time IT employee.  A company can usually get a more diverse level of technology talent for less money than a salary plus benefits. 

 

Companies can also find ways to make their processes more efficient through the use of technology.  Forms can be standardized and saved to central servers to be accessed by everyone.  In this way, more repetitive, data-entry type work can be performed by lower-salaried employees, while professionals are able to bring in more clients and perform the analytical work.

 

The key in a down economy is to view technology spending as an investment for which there will be a return.