Sunday, November 27, 2011

On a Personal Note

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know this is not a blog where I write about myself. Instead I have always written about lessons I have learned in business or life in a short easy to understand way (I hope). Today’s blog is different.

Today I want to tell you about my decision to accept a position with Bradford Networks.

Bradford Networks is a Network Access Control (NAC) provider that is transforming the market by developing and delivering a cloud based NAC solution for the MSP and SMB space. (

I was fortunate enough to have a real icon in our industry, Amy Luby, ask me to join her in developing this offering for our channel, and I was honored to accept.

I see this as a huge opportunity to provide our partners a service that has been missing from their managed services offerings. It has been missing from their offerings primarily because this service has not been available in a format or price point for this market. Now it is.

I am so excited about this opportunity and I am looking forward to sharing more information about it with all of you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Power of Deciding

If the decisions weren’t hard, no one would pay you to make them. Make no mistake, you are paid to make decisions, not to pass the buck, form a committee, make a spreadsheet, hold a meeting, or be paralyzed by too much data.

No matter what your position is in your company, you must make decisions everyday that will determine the success or failure of yourself and the company. In fact, your entire life is a series of decisions. What is the only thing worse than a bad decision? Not making a decision at all.

I tell this to my kids all the time. Some decisions are easy. Should you steal something or not? Easy decision. But sometimes you have 2 or more crappy choices. Now you still have to choose, but there is no perfect choice. Sometimes there isn’t even a good choice, but that is all you have.

So after you make a choice, now what? You live with it and make it the best you can. So what is more important than the decision itself? How you deal with the decisions you have made. Don’t be afraid to make a decision because it might be the wrong one. Understand that any decision you make with any thought at all will be better than a random decision given to you.

Embrace the power of deciding.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Run It Out

How you ever heard this phrase? It is generally yelled by a coach near the end of a play when it looks like you are too far away from the action to make a difference. What the coach knows is sometimes you are close enough to make a difference.

In sales you may often find yourself running after a deal and falling further behind. This may be a time when you need to run it out. Keep pursuing the deal, don’t quit. It is not unusual for the deal you are chasing to slow down or double back and when that happens you will be right there.

This doesn’t mean you should run blindly after every lost deal. You need to be protective of your most precious resource, your time. You do need to run out every deal till you are sure it is totally out of reach.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Let’s Do It a Little My Way.

These words were spoken by Carson Palmer to the members of his new team the Oakland Raiders. As a new quarterback joining the team mid-season, they were in a tough spot. They need to jell and play as a team right away. They didn’t have the luxury of weeks of intense practice before their first game. They needed to go from 0 to professional right away.

How do you build a team? Consensus? Team building exercises? Or do you have a my way or the highway style? What Carson was saying was not my way is right, or your way is wrong, or even do it my way. He was saying the fastest way for us to get to the highest level is to do it, a little my way.

Who on your team could take you to a higher level if you did it just a little their way? Maybe it is time to put your superstars in charge and let them take you to the next level.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who Do You Look Up To?

We all have heroes. From Superman to Mother Teressa, we have people we look up to, people we want to be like. So what do you do when you find out one of your heroes is less than you thought? Reject everything about them? Deny them? Act like you never liked them? Ignore the bad stuff? Well here is my take.

I try not to idolize anyone. Instead I admire and try to emulate traits and behaviors of people. I can then speak about what I admire about an individual as opposed to speaking about how I admire the person themselves. This fine distinction allows me to pick traits that will help me grow to be the person I want to be, not try and become someone else.

I am also able to continue to admire the traits of someone who may be tainted of flawed. Attila the Hun was not a nice man, hardly someone you would idolize. Yet there are many traits he possessed that could be channeled into positive, productive business practices.

I use the term Role model. To me a role model is not necessarily all or nothing. I highlighted the word role for a reason. Admire things about how a person performs in a specific role. I have had people that I admire their personal behavior, but abhor their business practices. They are still role models to me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Leverage Sales or Service?

Are you a sales company that fixes stuff, or a service company that sells stuff? Whatever your answer, you need the other one too. The question isn’t if you need to do the other, but how much and how well you need to do it.

Most salespeople who become business owners always believe they can sell their way out of any service issue. And service techs who start a business believe they can fix other peoples stuff forever. Both of them are wrong.

You should always leverage services to drive more sales, and leverage sales, to drive more services. In either case, you have done the hard part, getting the client to trust you. If the buy from you or call you for service, they trust you, at least a little.

If they trust your service, they should trust your opinion about buying. If they don’t, take a look at your style, you may need to step up the professionally. If they are buying from you, you should be able to grab those services dollars too. If you are not getting the services, take a look at your resources. you may be hiring cheap ahead of good.

balanced service and support, balanced clients, balanced checkbook.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Clean Spaces

I’m a piler. I make piles of stuff. It may shock you to know that this doesn’t go over well with my wife. She’s a shover. Anything she finds out of place, she shoves out of sight. My systems works because I know where I place everything. Her system works because she can see everything she wants to see. Our systems do not work so well together.

When she sees something out of place that I have piled, she shoves it. Now I don’t know where it is, I know where I left it, no idea where it is. This has turned out to be a good thing. It makes me not leave stuff in piles. Organization is hard to learn and a little shove discipline always helps.

If you had to describe your sales process, is it a pile or a silverware drawer? Both processes can work, but you have to know how your partners processes are as well. Shovers and pilers in one sales process will cause a wreak. This is never a good thing, unless your partner is as loving as my wife is to me as she is shoving my cables and connectors into another black hole.

Whatever style you have, own it. But don’t forget you are a team and everybody has got to give. a little to get a lot.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sleeping Sound

Decision Time. We all have those. So after you make your decision, how do you sleep? I wish I could say I always sleep like a baby after these decisions, but I don’t. Typically when I don’t, it is because my head and my heart are torn. So how do we stop this?

First, calm the buck fever. That initial rush of adrenalin and excitement about a decision. In this first blush, everything looks better than it is. Either time or logic can help you here, give it a rest or apply some common sense.

Second, list the five things you are loving about it and list the five things you hate about it. It is always easier to overlook that there is always the other side. Nothing is ever all bad or all good. Understand the trade offs.

Balance is the key to sleeping well. if you do not think about all the options while you are awake, you will think about them when you go to sleep. Right, wrong, or indifferent, a decision based on sound though will result in sound sleep.