Thursday, August 26, 2010

Negativity, Value, Future

This morning on TMC, I was explaining my Negative Outlook. That it isn't just that I'm negative about things. It's more like built up frustration by the number of opportunities that are missed and the amount of potential that goes unfulfilled by my clients and prospects.

The harping about DSL reselling. It is simply that the road is ending. Listening to ISP owners beg for a $1 rebate from AT&T is disheartening. Even with 300 DSL circuits (which would be on the high side), that's a lot of work for $300.

I'm not saying don't get it. I'm saying review how you spend your time. What is the most valuable use of your time? Usually it's with a customer or acquiring a customer. Sometimes it is with a vendor. It's all about Value.

My publisher at TMC, wrote, "[Peter] argues that ISPs who didn't evolve died and he is right:" [and then he quoted my blog post]

At one time, there were over 7000 independent ISP's in this country offering Internet Access to a majority of America. The Independent ISP's were the ones who introduced dial-up to every corner of the nation and then foisted DSL on to the marketplace. Once the ILEC's got in the game, it started changing. But no one was really paying attention. Business models didn't change. New skills weren't added. Strategic partnerships weren't made."

Yesterday, I sat down with a SCORE counselor, who reminded me of 3 things:

What value am I adding and to whom? Am I really spending my time talking to my potential customers? Am I putting together the necessary elements for the growth of my business?

Value. It's a throw away word. What it really means is why in the word would someone buy from me? I think I bring a lot to the table: world view, perspective, experience, industry knowledge, contacts, creativity, skills, training, and a little more. Most folks don't buy that from me becuase they don't see it or value it. It's my job to change that.

Which brings us to #2: Am I really talking to my prospective clients? By that I mean, is my audience a potential client? Do they have a problem that they are aware of that I can solve? And more importantly do they have the money to hire me to solve it? It's that second part that I am missing. Many owners of service providers (ISP, CLEC, VoIP, MSP, etc.) know they have some problem. But they don't want to face it. And they don't want to pay me to help them repair it. It's that last part that I have to be aware of. I need to spend my time in front of those who can and will buy from me. Surprisingly, the SCORE counselor pointedly remarked that this might not be my market.

Looking ahead. I do that well for my clients, but not so much for myself often enough. So the SCORE counselor said that I need to start putting together strategic partnerships with other consultants and some firms that will help me develop a team of people that can tackle bigger problems for bigger clients. I can't do it alone. I need a team.

Any of this sound familiar? Because it was like I was being read my own material. :)

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