I talk to IT Solution Providers all day every day and there has definitely been a shift in attitude when it comes to social stuff over the past year as our use of social media picks up and the days out of the office become more and more expensive.
Let me just say it out loud: You should go to conferences. Period.
But as someone who sponsors a bunch of them, I am always asking you which ones you go to. And why. Because there is a right answer (to make connections, to find out about product X) and a wrong answer (to get out of the office, to catch up with my buddies, etc).
Time out of the office, for successful IT solution providers, has gotten really expensive because it’s harder than ever to make significant profits with the compressed margins.
The Best Conference This Year
Most conferences last about a day or two.
Add another day on each side for travel and you’re looking at about 3 days out of the office for a conference.
Allow me to indulge you: Our most successful partners aren’t just selling ExchangeDefender. They are selling multiple tiers of ExchangeDefender, from the $0.50 / mbox replacement for Postini all the way up to double digit per mailbox revenue with encryption, compliance archiving and LocalCloud. They are selling hosted Exchange, SharePoint, etc.. all from us. I’d be willing to bet that half of you reading this blog post don’t know that we do all this – and I bet you don’t know half of what all your key suppliers can do for you.
Make a virtual conference where you flip the tables.
Make the vendors come to you instead of you going around to talk to us.
Get as much attention as you want and wait for the complete answer, not the “let’s catch up when I get back to the office” answer.
Here is how
First, put it on the calendar. Schedule a day or two where you’re only going to be dealing with the vendor stuff that’s going to move your business forward.
Second, if you really have to burn cash and you don’t think you can focus in the office or at home, pack a suitcase and go to the free Wifi hotel at a hotel an hour away from home.. It will give you the combo of burning money and time away so you can focus and think clearly.
Finally, break out your schedule. Book some time to watch webinars or sales or tech training. Book the rest to actually interact with the person on the phone.
Ultimately, book some time to sketch the implementation of what you’ve learned. Time to beta test something new, cost compare with what you already may have, etc.
Everyone Is Busy
We’re always busy.
Yet I see everyone on Facebook nearly all the time. Maybe you’re like me and you Facebook in the meetings when you should be faking interest in a proposal that you know is doomed to a certain failure.
The rest of the time we just don’t manage the clock as well as we should because we’re dealing with fires and distractions.
The real obstacle to success, unfortunately, is that we do not make the time to make things any better. Instead of organizing and consolidating, we just patch stuff with yet another miracle solution which in the end sucks up even more time and produces further inefficiencies.
Aim for simplicity. Slow down to speed up.