It’s been a busy month down at the CowShed which may explain why I haven’t been online as much as usual.
However, I’ve managed to find some time to keep you abreast of what’s been going on… and it’s all good news!
Business Development Days
After months of testing and adjusting, I’m really pleased to offer clients (existing and new) a Business Development Session that has done wonders for those who have already experienced it. I’ve got it down to a day’s worth of discussion and planning and what we create by the end of it is as follows:
- A refined and energised ‘elevator’ pitch
- A better understanding of your business’ client mix
- A clear plan of action on how to maximise the value of your clients
- A plan that outlines the initial steps needed to get new business (this subject is a day in itself… at least!)
- And a review of how you promote, manage, and improve your existing managed services offering.
This has worked particularly well for IT resellers (most tend to be Microsoft Small Business Specialists) and gives so much food for thought that I’ve had clients email and ring me following on from our meetings as new ideas bubble up days after. Having said that outcome five (see above) could be anything as it all comes down to the client and understanding what it is they think they want versus what you know they need.
Now that’s not to say that it’s wise to assume that one day is all you need to enhance your strategy, but it does start the brain ticking at a new tempo and maybe even in a different direction. What many clients have done is then bolt Purple Cow Ideas Management onto their own businesses as an extension so that the ideas created from the initial day are actioned and managed – it keeps me busy and makes Anne the perfect and timely addition to the company!
In terms of my clients, well, they’ve been keeping me busy as we put together business strategies that ensure they stay on track with their vision whilst this economy tries and sorts itself out.
Through the power of Skype I’ve been able to have conference calls with Manchester and India at the same time without shelling out pennies on travel! It’s also been a good way to connect with all of my clients on a daily basis as the webcam makes communicating so much easier.
One of the trickiest things that I’ve had to manage is people’s relationships with money. It’s funny how in our minds, we initially think that success is achieved once we’ve made enough money to feel more secure and happy. Ironically though, when the chips are down, that same money is an over-bearing monkey that affects your mood, your mindset, and your motivation. Whilst money does play a part in our business operations (for positive or negative reasons), it’s the end-results that we should focus on so that we stick to a strategy that keep us going even when it gets tough.
My suggestion to everyone I work with is to focus on what it is you want out of life and build a business model to support it. There’s no point waiting to be rich (and more than likely older) to embrace all the things you’ve ever wanted to do; in fact, putting them off only means that you’re likely to accept it’s okay to put up with the strains that arise when you tow the line you think you’re meant to take.
Having this focus allows you to re-adjust when you are feeling lost and sharing it with friends, colleagues, and peers can really help when you can’t do it yourself. Just by being honest with yourself allows you to work out what it is you really want to do in life and it keeps you focused when you have to go through change.
I’m proud to say I am now an official STEM Ambassador and a mentor on the Backing Young Britain programme; it’s also pleasing to hear when others have followed suit so that they too can give a little back. If you are interested in finding out more about these then drop me a comment.
I’ve got myself lined up for a few speaking events in August (where I’ll be talking about outcome one in the list above) and October which I’m very much looking forward to as it gives me the chance to connect with people who I may have otherwise missed. I’ll also be at the Microsoft World Partner Conference in Washington DC and I’m looking forward to meeting up with a few clients and friends. I’ll be going over there to understand what the forthcoming developments from Microsoft will be and bring what I learn back to share with my clients to benefit them. I’ve been to a few WPC events before and enjoyed the socialising immensely, however, this time around, I’m more focused on the studying and learning from others as I connect with them.
Out and About
I’ll be up in London and Birmingham this week (not at the same time!), and Washington DC at the weekend. There’s always a fair bit of back and forth to London but as work develops it takes me further afield. I’ll be up in Birmingham and Cambridgeshire at the end of the month and I’m sure a few other places to boot! If you are in the area at the same time as me and fancy joining me for a coffee then let me know… it would be good to see you!
I hope there is plenty in store for you this July and it’d be great to hear about your experiences of 2010 so far.
Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.